EU says tit-for-tat tariffs against US ready in July

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The European Commission, which handles trade matters for the 28-country EU, “expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with member states before the end of June,” said European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

 

Brussels (AFP) – The EU on Wednesday said a raft of retaliatory tariffs, including on whiskey and motorcycles, against painful metals duties imposed by the US would be ready as early as July.

The European Commission, which handles trade matters for the 28-country bloc, “expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with member states before the end of June,” said European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic at a news briefing. Continue reading

Russia’s “Turk Stream” Pipeline Idea: A New Energy Move against Europe?

Russia continues to play hardball with natural gas for the European Union, trying to get Brussels to sacrifice Ukraine in return for the promise of better relations with Moscow.

The European Commission’s vice-president for energy union, Maros Sefcovic, visited Russia on January 14 to ask exactly what Moscow’s intentions were about the now-cancelled South Stream pipeline. Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced late last year a Russian plan to substitute for it a huge 63 billion cubic meter per year (bcm/y) pipeline project under the Black Sea to Turkey and then up to the Turkish-Greek border. Continue reading

The Scrapped Pipeline Project

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) – Moscow’s cancellation of the South Stream pipeline project is causing Berlin and Brussels headaches. EU bodies and government leaders of EU member states have expressed their wish to continue negotiations on the pipeline, which, in a few years, would annually have pumped 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Western Europe. They still see some possibilities for clarification. By delaying the project, Brussels had hoped to exert pressure on the Russian government. Moscow, however, got tired of banging on closed doors and announced South Stream’s cancellation on Monday. Germany is one of the losers, because it would have been able to expand its influence on the European gas supply through its BASF subsidiary Wintershall participating in the pipeline project. Turkey is the winner, because the planned Russian South Stream gas will now probably transit through its territory. Turkey, a loyal transit country, could become an influential gas distribution hub for the EU – at a time when tensions between Berlin/Brussels and Ankara are rising.

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