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The emerging ruling coalition in Germany might be experiencing hiccups when it comes to agreeing on complex issues, but the Nord Stream-2 project has proven a consensual ground. The German government has formally objected to the EC-proposed amendments to the EU Gas Directive citing trivial protectionist arguments atypical for a nation that pretends to lead the EU. The German government’s interpretation of its support for the Nord Stream-2 is that it is not defending Gazprom’s, but Germany’s own national interests, implying that German and Gazprom interests — Russia’s — are identical and run counter to the European Commission embodied shared interests. This is essentially Berlin’s bottom line – EU is dear to us, but when it comes to cash – our interests rate higher. There is nothing fundamentally
The article first published in americanthinker.com on 09/18/2017. Commenting on Jean-Claude Junker’s state of the European Union speech last week, the usually restrained German economic weekly, Wirtschafts Woche, said the following: “Today the chief of the European Commission gave a great speech… a speech full of great nonsense.” What prompted that staid publication to use such undiplomatic language, especially since the European Parliament gave the speech a standing ovation? Hopefully, it is the realization of more and more Europeans that the cheap EU triumphalism and prescriptions peddled by Juncker are, at best, inappropriate and, at worst, a recipe for disaster. Of triumphalism there was plenty in the speech. “The wind is back in Europe’s sails” Junker assured the audience and told it that the EU is “in the fifth year
Early in 2017, headlines speculating about the possible outbreak of renewed war in the Balkans have popped up in the international press. Tensions that have been simmering in the Western Balkans in recent years are now gaining increasing attention in the sphere of geopolitics, particularly as they relate to the battle between the West and Russia for influence in the region. The West is now becoming increasingly concerned that Russia will stoke nationalism in the Balkans in order to ignite conflict, cause destabilization and consequentially halt Euro-Atlantic expansion. While ethnic tensions are a core and explosive issue in the region, economic productivity, or lack thereof, may be as responsible if not more for the instability that exists in the Western Balkans. The region’s poor economic prospects have much to
The contours of the leaked decision of the EC following Commissioner Vestager’s meetings with top managers of Gazprom and Russia’s deputy minister of energy spells new peaks of national energy egotism in the European Union. At the end of October, news broke of another Gazprom-friendly EC decision to free up to 80 percent of the capacity of the Opal pipeline, which connects the Nord Stream pipeline from Germany to Czechia. More than 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas will be added to the current Opal volumes, which in turn will have to be deducted from the transit flows in the Yamal pipelines in Poland and the gas transit system of Ukraine. Benefits and income generated so far in Eastern Europe will be shifted westwards to Germany and Western Europe,
President Erdogan has managed to scare and tie up Europe in a poker play classic – lift visas or refugees will flood your countries. This is another common feature between presidents Erdogan and Putin – they are masters in poker politics and more modest in real time economic and foreign policy achievements. It is suffice to look at the friends they have made and sustained over the years. A quick review in retrospect of the zero problems policies of Erdogan would speak volumes for the Turkish president’s diplomatic and policy skills when measured in new friends. Davutoglu’s dismissal might have signaled a change in Erdogan’s mindset – rapprochements with Russia, Israel and Iran are already making news headlines. But underneath this façade of events – there is a double
Following its decision, the Polish regulator bluntly informed the European companies involved in the company Nord Stream 2: Shell, OMV, Engie, Uniper and Wintershall, that if their subsidiaries are involved in the construction of the pipeline, they can bid farewell to their business in Poland. The problem is not so much the importance of the Polish market to these companies’ portfolios, but that what has occurred, including the precedent of activating a regulator over such a sensitive topic, could put them in the sights of similar investigations in many other countries. Moreover, the issue could hypothetically be coming to the attention of the European Commission. The Polish regulator UOKiK has an iron-cast argument: if Nord Stream 2 is built, the dominant role of Gazprom on the European market