BRUSSELS -- President Obama didn't directly call Wednesday for Europe to start fracking for shale gas, but he strongly suggested that countries there diversify their energy sources as the European Union hits Russia with sanctions over its annexation of Crimea.
Russia's aggression in Crimea has highlighted the E.U.'s dependence on gas that travels through pipelines in Ukraine. Isolating Russia economically would be less painful for Europe if it did not depend so heavily on that gas, Obama said at a press conference with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
"This entire event has pointed to, I think, for Europe, how it needs to diversify its energy sources," Obama said.
Declining to specifically endorse fracking, Obama said the U.S. has been "blessed by some incredible resources" recently.
Barroso, however, made clear his support for fracking, saying it was a "blessing" for countries that import gas from the U.S. rather than Russia.
"European countries will become less dependent on energy coming from, let's say, difficult spots," he said.
The statement also hinted at negotiations on the free-trade Transatlantic Trade and Investment Program. President Obama suggested that U.S. liquefied gas exports to the E.U. could increase depending on the contents of the deal, which could reduce tariffs and regulations in trade between the U.S. and E.U.