BERLIN/MOSCOW/BEIJING (Own report) – The privileged German-European access to Russian natural gas could be lost, is the warning, as the battle over the “Nord Stream 2” pipeline persists. According to a recent analysis published by Oxford University, western sanctions, imposed on Russia in 2014, have encouraged Moscow to seek alternative markets for its resources. China, in particular, plans to purchase large amounts of Russian natural gas. The first pipeline is scheduled to go into operation this year. A second pipeline – tapping the fields currently supplying gas exclusively to Europe – is in planning. The same applies to new Russian liquefied gas projects. In the future, “European customers” will most likely have to compete in Russia with “Asian customers,” the Oxford University analysis predicts. Instead of forcing Moscow to its knees, the sanctions could put an end to Berlin’s privileged access to Russian natural gas and if the “Nord Stream 2” fails, it could further worsen the EU’s position.
BELGRADE/BERLIN (Own report) – The newly elected Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić, is offering Berlin an exclusive cooperation within the framework of German-Russian cooperation. Nikolić, a nationalist, with roots in the extreme right and good contacts to Moscow, declared that his country could serve as a manufacturing site for German companies to re-export their goods to Russia at reduced customs tariffs. Germany would “not need the EU” for this form of eastern cooperation. Serbia is one of German companies’ favorite sites in Eastern and Southeastern Europe. While the Serbian population is sinking into poverty – almost 25 percent are unemployed, hundreds of thousands of workers have to content themselves with a monthly minimum wage of 150 Euros – most German companies are registering an increasing profit. Observers are not expecting a change in the economic framework due to the change of government. The newly elected Serbian President’s party is collaborating with the extreme rightwing German nationalist Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ).
The European Leading Power
Particularly German companies can benefit from Belgrade’s change of government. Just a few days ago, the new president Nikolić, told a very influential German daily that he considers “Germany to be the European leading power.” His “first visit to a western capital (…) will take him to Berlin.” Germany bears “a great responsibility for Serbia” and therefore, should engage itself accordingly. Nikolić, who will speak this Friday at the congress of the ruling United Russia Party, and who maintains close contacts to Moscow, offers Serbia, as a manufacturing site, to Berlin within the framework of a German-Russian-Serbian cooperation. “Germany does not need the EU to cooperate with Russia,” declared Nikolić referring to German-Russian cooperation in the recent past. “Germany and Russia could also cooperate via Serbia. Germany can establish factories here and export to Russia,” even “at reduced customs tariffs,” thanks to Serbia’s ties to Russia. Nikolić’s offer is strategically conceived. Should the Euro crisis lead to a permanent weakening of the EU, an expansion of German-Russian cooperation could play a central role.
Full article: Axis Berlin-Belgrade-Moscow (German Foreign Policy)