With the decision by Bulgaria to suspend construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline, there is more pressure on Serbia, which is balancing its longstanding ties with Russia against its desire to join the European Union.”The Serbian situation is the most difficult because it ‘paid ‘ the entrance to the pipeline by giving to Gazprom low prices for NIS (Naftna Industrija Serbia – Oil Company of Serbia) and Banatski Dvor (and underground gas storage in Vojvodina),” Jelena Milic, director of the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies for Belgrade, told SETimes.
“It is not regulated by the energy agreement with Russia what will happen if Russia gives up the project or if it will not be able to realise its obligations. Serbia counts on incomes of transit and to pay back its debts to Russia,” Milic said. Continue reading
Britain took another step towards the EU exit door as David Cameron warned that Jean-Claude Juncker’s appointment to the top job in Brussels would make it harder to persuade the public to remain in the 28-nation bloc.
Mr Cameron’s stark warning came after he suffered a humiliating defeat in his lonely battle to stop the veteran federalist becoming president of the European Commission. At a Brussels summit, EU leaders voted 26-2 to nominate Mr Juncker after Mr Cameron demanded an unprecedented formal vote on a post traditionally settled by consensus. Hungary’s Viktor Orban was the only leader to back the Prime Minister.
Asked if the crushing setback had taken the UK closer to an EU exit, Mr Cameron told a press conference: “The job has got harder of keeping Britain in a reformed Europe. The stakes are higher. Do I think it is an impossible job? No.” Continue reading
BRUSSELS – The European Commission on Tuesday (24 June) laid out plans on how to boost the EU’s military and defence industries.
It wants to create a single market on defence, make it more profitable, and intensify and merge research with the civil sector.
Antonio Tajani, the EU industry commissioner, said greater defence collaboration is needed between member states to enable the EU to “adequately face its security challenges”. Continue reading
The probable nomination of the President of the European Commission at the European Council in late June is only the first stage in a process that will renew the leadership of European institutions — a political and diplomatic game of musical chairs marked by rituals and secrets that is played out between the capitals of the continent. Excerpts.
How do you come out on top in the grand reshuffle in Brussels? There is no single strategy. This is one conclusion that we can draw from a series of interviews with European civil servants, ambassadors and former ambassadors to Brussels. The second conclusion is that strategy alone is insufficient: “Chance and the luck of the draw also play their role,” explains the former ambassador of one small member state. Continue reading
The European Commission has proposed using EU funds for research into new military technology as part of a plan to reform Europe’s defence sector. It already helps fund “dual-use” research on components for military items. It said the new scheme will help Europe remain a “world-leading centre” for defence manufacturing.
Article source: EU keen to fund military research (EUobserver)
BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the EU’s summit meeting, later this week, the “fracking” lobby and NATO are intensifying their pressure for the EU to initiate the highly controversial “hydraulic fracturing.” There are indications that the German Bundestag could speed up legislation allowing this dangerous gas production technique. The outgoing NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen is implying that fracking opponents are in fact working as agents for the Russian government. This incredible slander coincides with global transatlantic strategies aimed at using the current fracking boom in the USA and other western countries, to significantly weaken or even eliminate Russia’s influence as a producer of natural gas. If Moscow can no longer sell its gas to the EU, it could hardly avoid painful budget cuts. This would have serious consequences for Putin’s position of power at home and his influence in global politics. Regardless of such campaigns, German and US energy companies are pressing ahead with fracking in Europe – while continuing to do business with Russia. Continue reading
In addition to a push for a ‘United States of Europe’ lead by Germany via the EU and its control over the ‘Troika’, calls for a ‘European Army’ have already been made in the past by member nations such as Poland and Italy. What may seem like science fiction or a joke nobody will take serious today is tomorrow’s reality, and as the addage goes: the truth is stranger than fiction. Although a lot of EU nations don’t like each other at the moment, the further integration of iron and clay (Daniel 2:43) continues to be their only solution. With Italy’s high involvement, and even with the Vatican, it’s reminiscent of the WWII era connection between the church and the German leadership. Or better yet, the Holy Roman Empire of the past.
Look for calls of a European Army to grow, especially as resurgent Russia is on the doorstep and the United States is suicidally fading away from the world stage. As with all nation building, the political structure comes first, then the economy. After the economy comes the military. The Fourth Reich is coming.
Italy will use its presidency of the European Union to push for a “United States of Europe,” the prime minister has said
Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, has said that Italy will push for a “United States of Europe” during its six-month EU presidency, in a move likely to raise hackles in Britain.
Launching an appeal to convince European leaders to show “that a stronger and more cohesive Europe is the only solution to the solve the problems of our time“, Mr Renzi said: “For my children’s future I dream, think and work for the United States of Europe.“
He further called for “courageous leaders” to work towards achieving that goal – something that Britain has always objected to. In 1988 Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, dismissed the idea that the United States might be a model for the future of Europe and David Cameron is actively trying to prevent the election of a committed federalist, Jean-Claude Juncker, to the head of the European Commission.
Key policy ties in with the Maltese government’s prospective energy shift to gas, supplied by Azeri state corporation SOCAR
The European Union is looking southwards to develop a “southern gas corridor” for natural gas from Azerbaijan to fuel the European mainland.
The European Commission released an EU energy security strategy earlier this week, in response to the political crisis in Ukraine which is threatening gas supplies from Russia, after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia could cut off supplies to Ukraine unless the latter starts to pay off its gas debt, which Russia’s Gazprom says stands at €2.5 billion. Continue reading
The appointment of an arch-federalist as the European Commission president risks creating a ‘dramatic’ backlash that will hasten Britain’s exit from the EU, one of the country’s most senior diplomats has warned.
A leaked document said Ivan Rogers, the UK’s permanent representative to the EU, believes the ‘die is cast’ in favour of Jean-Claude Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg.
His proposed elevation to Europe’s top job has been fiercely opposed by David Cameron, who says Britain rejects the founding EU principle of ‘ever closer union’, which Mr Juncker supports. Continue reading
Despite all claims to the contrary made by American politicians, European media and Ukrainian officials, the problem is not the price of gas itself, it is the systemic crisis of Ukrainian economy. Gazprom CEO is sure that no matter the price, Kiev won’t pay, because it simply can’t do it: “Ukraine doesn’t pay at any price. With or without reductions. It must be understood that the situation is getting worse every month. The reason is the low solvency of Ukrainian consumers and what’s more concerning, the degrading payment discipline of consumers.” Continue reading
BRUSSELS – European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has said the signature, next month, of a trade treaty with Chisinau will “seal Moldova’s European path”.
He stopped short of promising it can one day join the EU.
But he added: “We see it not as the end of the road. I can say that the association agreement will not constitute the end goal in European Union-Moldova relations. I want to tell you that we believe in the European perspective of Moldova.” Continue reading
The EU would extend the route for supplies through the Southern Gas Corridor and its pipes will make their way further into Europe’s mainland, according to reports.
Russia’s Vedomosti, which cites sources from the European Commission, suggests that pipes could lead into France and Spain and this could increase the amount of Azerbaijani gas received from the Union.
According to the same EC representative, the prospects of importing from Turkmenistan and Iran are also on the agenda. Continue reading
U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday promised to increase Russia’s isolation, as the United States and the European Union agreed to work together to prepare possible tougher economic sanctions in response to Russia’s behavior in Ukraine.
Speaking after a summit with top EU officials and quoted by Reuters, Obama declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin had miscalculated if he thought he could divide the West or count on its indifference over his annexation of Crimea.
The European Union will push for diminished U.S. influence on Internet governance because of “loss of confidence” in the current U.S.-centric model, according to a news report.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the E.U., is set Wednesday to propose a series of steps to globalize Internet governance functions, reported The Wall Street Journal, citing an E.U. draft policy paper. The proposal is sparked by revelations of mass U.S. surveillance activities online, the newspaper said. Continue reading
A bill being debated in Brussels would force UK citizens to disclose ‘reams’ of private, financial information on a public register
New legislation planned in Brussels is set to heap fresh costs and paperwork on families’ financial planning, as well as leaving their affairs open to unwanted public scrutiny. Continue reading