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NATO’s London Summit on 3-4 December will enable Alliance leaders to reassert the importance of the Alliance after recent attacks on its effectiveness by French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron’s assertion that NATO is “brain dead” was reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s election campaign statements that the Alliance was obsolete. Trump’s attacks led to a refocus on NATO defense spending and Macron’s dismissal can encourage the Alliance to strengthen its mission. It is important to remember that NATO was formed to prevent Europe’s domination by any expansionist power and is the cornerstone of the trans-Atlantic alliance. A secure Europe is vital for American security and its military presence enables the U.S. to project power to deter threats and respond decisively if common security interests are challenged from any adjacent
PM Borisov’s pet project – the Balkan Gas Hub has risen in prominence after his talks with President Trump. Not sure the US President got into the story behind Bulgaria’s pretense to become a regional gas hub, but good intentions and promises were in abundance. The adopted Strategic Partnership Framework document states that “our shared goal is for Bulgaria to become a true gas hub and a key source of regional energy security, free of monopolists, foreign or domestic, and operating on market principles.” Nothing specific or imminent insofar as LNG contracts boosting gas liquidity for the Balkan Gas Hub is concerned. The bottom line – Russian gas will continue its monopoly unabated. The Bulgarian State trader Bulgargas has no intention of replicating Polish, Greek, Ukrainian, Baltic,
Last week the Bulgarian PM inspected work progress at the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, noting that it is a landmark project for energy security in the region. Two days later, he flew to Thessaloniki to meet the Greek PM and the US ambassador to Greece, repeating praise for Greek-Bulgarian cooperation in the energy field and commitment to buy more LNG. DEPA, Kolmar, and the Bulgarian company Energiko have managed to import partial or fully LNG sourced gas into Bulgaria via the Greek terminal at Revithoussa. Due to outdated regulatory practice and lack of liberalization of the gas market, the margins between the “buy” and “sell” prices have been collected by the traders, including Bulgargas. Lower international prices of gas have failed to reflect into a proportionate decrease in gas prices
Putting citizenship up for sale is a controversial endeavor. Some natural-born citizens of a country might revolt against the idea of wealthy foreign investors purchasing what is essentially their birthright. Others may be opposed to the possibility of Chinese or nationals of another state pouring into their own country. There are also geopolitical risks to weigh when a country implements a citizenship by investment (CBI) program. Some existing CBI programs, for instance, have lured Russian oligarchs. Notably, aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, purchased Cypriot, and hence EU, citizenship through the CBI program in Cyprus. Reuters reported earlier this month that Iranian nationals are making use of Turkey’s recently revamped economic citizenship program to dodge U.S. sanctions. Additionally, there are
The effect of LNG and newly sourced gas in the Southern Gas Corridor will spread across the CEE and the SEE and put the heat on Russia’s gas monopoly. In other words, if hidden and overt preferential treatment for Gazexport is revoked, this will result in lower prices or market shares for the incumbent monopoly. Reverse supplies via the Trans-Balkan Pipeline could start as early as January 1st, 2020, bringing gas from Turkey, Greece, and the Southern Gas Corridor to clients in Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, and Slovakia even before Turk Stream gas crosses the Bulgarian border. Demand for Nord Stream-2 south and eastbound gas exports via Opal and Eugal gas pipelines should wane with lower price differentials amid rising competition from the Southern Gas Corridor and LNG.
Sanctions on their own won’t stop Nord Stream-2, the market, and the EU directives can obliterate the effect sought by the Kremlin and turn what President Putin perceives as an asset into a liability. Gas pipelines are not a threat – politicians like Putin certainly are. The national security line in addressing the issues starts from the basics – Is Russia a threat? Perceptions matter. For many politicians in old Europe, located in offices at a safe distance from Russia, the threat notion is vague, remote, and academic. They do not discern Putin’s Russia as a threat. Perception matter. For many politics in old Europe. For the Austrian business, born and bred in brokering deals between Russia and Eastern Europe, this is routine and legitimate “business”.
Democratic presidential hopefuls in the United States are finally beginning to get serious. By serious I mean they’re starting to drop out. The crowded field that featured over 20 candidates at the beginning of the year lost five in the past two months due to inadequate support and inability to reach necessary donor requirements to appear in the democratic primary debates. This is the only measure of the party getting serious however, the candidates who still believe they have a chance at running against Donald Trump continue to make normal people scratch our heads with bizarre stories about run ins with gang leaders like “Corn Pop”, praise for parents who use a nine year old transgender child to virtue signal, promises to “tell the public about aliens,” and claims
The presidents of the United States and Turkey are finding common ground where seemingly there is none. There could be many reasons why Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan are not meant to be friends. For one, the U.S. is protecting Erdogan’s archnemesis, Fethullah Gulen. Another is that Washington and Ankara have fractured relations over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defense system. Several other issues pit NATO allies Washington and Ankara against one another, though none larger at the moment than the matter of the Syrian Kurds. To Washington, the Syrian Kurds were the most trusted ally in the fight against the Islamic State. To Ankara, the Syrian Kurd military branch, the YPG, is one and the same with the PKK, which has long waged
The Interview by Vasil Vasilev first published in faktor.bg on 07/10/2019. The liberals were wrong to manipulate Greta Thunberg; anti-Christian ideals are being re-shaped into environmental philosophy Democrats in the US have shot themselves in their good foot The outcome of the political crisis in Israel will be important for the world, states the former Bulgarian MP Dimitar Ivanov – Mr. Ivanov, what will be the consequences of the impeachment against Donald Trump? – Six hours after Donald Trump delivered his speech before the UN, declaring that globalism was dead and the future belonged to nation states, Nancy Pelosi launched a procedure for the US president’s impeachment. The ground was ridiculous and Trump himself called the Democrats’ actions “witch hunt garbage”. I absolutely agree with him. In my