Russian South Stream 2.0 Comes Out of the Shadows

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Source: Kommersant

 

Russia and Turkey have announced that the two countries have reached significant progress in reviving the November 2014-shut down South Stream gas pipeline intended to land Russian gas across the Black Sea. The project is the part of the already secured open tender contracts for purchases of gas signed between Gazprom, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia and Austria.

The new Black Sea gas pipeline Turkish Stream will run under sea from Krasnodar to a landing hubv just west of Istanbul. On November 19, presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Istanbul to announce the completion of pipeline’s off-shore section. Continue reading

The EU’s ‘Internal Enemies’

BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the conflict between Brussels and Rome over Italy’s national budget, the German establishment is increasing its demands to resolutely fight the “internal enemies” of the EU. The Union must “now be vigorously defended,” wrote a leading German daily. The Italian government coalition is “not worth risking the country’s fate.” The Italian government is being put into question, because it refuses to continue to submit to German austerity dictates. Berlin’s dominance over the EU is also being met with mounting protests in other member countries. Poland and Hungary are not the only countries, where controversies are intensifying. Anger at Berlin is also growing in France. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the founder of “La France insoumise,” who, with almost 20 percent, barely missed making the run-offs in the 2017 presidential elections, has now called for “France to withdraw from all EU treaties.” The German elite’s reaction is becoming more hostile.

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Poland’s US Military Base Is More About China Than Russia

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Poland is proposing to host a permanent US military base on its territory.

Poland wants to replace Germany as the US’ preferred partner in Europe, taking advantage of American distrust with Berlin over Nord Stream II and trade disagreements while capitalizing on the Pentagon’s desire to “contain” Russia, thus satisfying multiple strategic objectives at once. The Polish leadership believes that the region-wide “Three Seas Initiative” of 11 other Central and Eastern European states that it wants to lead is ideologically compatible with the Trump Administration’s anti-liberal populism and represents another strategic convergence with the US. Paradoxically, however, while Poland is striving to advance its national sovereignty, it’s nevertheless sacrificing it by wanting to host an American military base, which is why a deeper explanation of this proposal is necessary. Continue reading

Russia Just Won Big In The European Gas War

LNG carrier

 

There’s been a lot of talk on both sides of the Atlantic about the U.S. pivot and efforts at locking in natural as market share in Europe. Much of this comes amid President Donald Trump’s so-called American energy independence push as well as both U.S. and several EU members thrust to wean Europe off of geopolitically charged Russian gas.

In fact, Trump has pushed for U.S.-sourced LNG to become so much of the EU’s energy security that several European states, particularly Germany, have accused the president of playing energy geopolitics, cloaking American concern for European energy security under the guise and to the benefit of U.S. LNG producers.

Now, however, Trump and U.S. LNG exporters will have an even harder time convincing key EU members to offset overreliance on Russian piped gas with U.S. LNG. Continue reading

Visegrad Group: EU Must Reform or Risk Breaking Up

 

The Visegrad Group (V4), made up of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia, has hit out at the European Union saying it must reform to reflect the wishes of all Member States, or risk breaking up completely. Continue reading

EU To Force Poland, Hungary And Czech Republic To Accept Refugees

One month after the EU’s executive Commission launched legal cases against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for “defaulting on their legal obligations” by refusing to comply with the EU’s refugee quotas (i.e., accept migrants), on Wednesday the three Central European nations suffered another blow after Brussels mounted a legal fightback to force them to comply with EU refugee quotas. The top European Union court’s adviser dismissed a challenge brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the obligatory relocation of refugees across the bloc, as it prepared to sign-off legal suits against the holdout countries.

The two states, backed by Poland, wanted the court to annul a 2015 EU scheme to have each member state host a number of refugees to help ease pressure on Greece and Italy, struggling with mass arrivals across the Mediterranean. Supported by Germany, Italy and Brussels, the EU’s “relocation” law has become one of the bloc’s most divisive recent policy initiatives, forced through over the objections of states from eastern and central Europe. Continue reading

Poland tells EU to BRING IT: Warsaw vows to fight penalty for refusing to accept refugees

Poland and the EU are lcoked in a battle over migrant quotas [Getty]

 

THE Polish ministry of foreign affairs is set to contest European Commission plans to penalise the country for refusing to accept any refugees as part of an EU relocation scheme.

The revelation comes after the Commission said it would prepare penalties over refugee inaction for Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Continue reading

EU Sues Poland, Hungary And Czech Republic For Refusing To Accept Refugees

 

The European Commission has launched a legal case against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, for refusing to take in asylum seekers, escalating a bitter feud within the 28-nation bloc about how to deal with the Pandora’s box opened up Angela Merkel’s 2015 “Open Door” policy (since shut).

The reason for Brussels’ ire is that the eurosceptic governments in Poland and Hungary refused to take in anyone under a plan agreed by a majority of EU leaders in 2015 to relocate migrants from frontline states Italy and Greece to help ease their burden. The Czech Republic initially accepted 12 people but has since said it would not welcome more. It is perhaps worth noting that the three countries are among the very few who have had virtually no terrorist attacks in the past two years. Continue reading

A Matter of National Interest

BERLIN (Own report) – In light of the drastic warnings of the EU’s possible disintegration, Berlin seeks to prevent the formation of contending forces. “The European Union is drifting apart to an extent hardly imaginable 15 years ago,” according to a recent analysis, written by a board member of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). The “dividing lines” between the north and the impoverishing south, as well as between western and eastern EU member countries are disquieting. To prevent the formation of a southern European bloc opposing the German austerity dictate, Berlin is particularly trying to integrate France into its EU policy. Yesterday, the German chancellor sought closer cooperation with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, to undermine an alliance of the Visegrád members against German predominance. At the same time, promotion of the EU has been intensified within Germany. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel explained how Germany ultimately profits from its net contributions to the EU budget: The success of German exports depends on “the people in the other EU countries” being able “to afford” German products – with the help of Brussels’ subsidies. Continue reading

Divide and Rule

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) – With today’s special summit of four heads of state, Berlin is preparing the EU’s transformation in response to the Brexit. The German chancellor will meet in Versailles this afternoon with France’s president and the prime ministers of Italy and Spain. Selected southern EU members have been included in alleged leadership meetings with the German chancellor to prevent a southern European bloc from emerging, which could possibly, in the future, put an end to German austerity dictates. With Great Britain’s exit, the neo-liberal oriented EU countries are loosing the necessary quorum for a veto in EU bodies. Berlin could also encounter problems with the Eastern European “Visegrád Group,” which does not want to support the emergence of a powerful integrated core around a German hub, because it would consolidate a two or even three-class EU. Reinforcement of the EU’s anti-refugee border-management and particularly its resolute militarization are emerging as the common denominators for the Union’s transformation. Continue reading

Germany to Be a Bigger Military Power Than Russia

Caption: Bundeswehr soldiers (CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Even a modest boost to German defense spending means radical changes to the world order.

Germany will boost the size of its military to nearly 200,000, hiring an additional 20,000 soldiers by 2024, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced on February 21.

Germany had already announced plans to increase its army to 193,000 by 2023, so this is merely an incremental increase compared to earlier plans. However, it does confirm the radical change in direction for Germany. Its army had shrunk to a low of 166,500 last June and has only just begun turning around. Now, each new announcement about the German military is an increase. Continue reading

Eastern Europe & World War III

Romania-Protest Feb 2017

 

Europe could become the site of a new global war in the East as tensions build there against refugees and the economic decline fosters old wounds. The EU is deeply divided over the refugee issue and thus it is fueling its own demise and has failed to be a stabilizing force. After five days of demonstrations, Romania’s month-old government backed down and withdrew a decree that had decriminalized some corruption offenses. They were still acting like typical politicians and looking to line their pockets. After one month, the people have rising up saying “We can’t trust this new government.”

On the eastern border of the EU, only a few hundred kilometers from Berlin as well as Vienna, there is a growing danger that the world will stumble into a global war primarily from through the incompetence of the politicians in the EU as well as in the East. The EU is more concerned about punishing Britain and trying to hold on to overpaid political jobs that to address the real issues facing Europe. Continue reading

EU reaches deal to grant visa-free travel to 50 million people

The former Soviet republics are seeking to move further away from their former master Moscow

The EU has reached an agreement to grant visa-free travel to 50 million Ukrainians and Georgians.

Officials said the deal had been struck on Thursday to end an internal EU dispute that had been holding up the promised measures.

Late-night talks involving EU member states and the European Parliament had reached a compromise on the terms of a mechanism which can be used to suspend the visa-free schemes in emergencies. Continue reading

EU MIGRANT FALLOUT: Slovakia passes law to BAN Islam from being registered as a religion

Robert Fico and Quaran

Slovakia has passed a law that could see Islam banned (GETTY)

 

SLOVAKIA has passed a law which will effectively ban Islam from gaining official status as a religion, in the latest signs of a growing anti-Muslim sentiment across Europe.

The legislation hints at a dramatic changing attitude towards the religion in the past year across the continent, which has struggled to stem the escalating migrant crisis.

The former communist state has fiercely resisted European Union (EU) efforts to cope with an influx of migrants travelling into Europe by turning its back on the bloc’s introduction of migrant quotas. Continue reading

Canada and EU break through globalisation gloom to sign trade deal

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, centre, signs the trade deal with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and European Council president Donald Tusk, right. Photo: AP

 

Brussels: The European Union and Canada signed a far-reaching trade agreement on Sunday that commits them to opening their markets to greater competition, after overcoming a last-minute political obstacle that reflected the growing scepticism toward globalisation in much of the developed world.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had been forced to call off an earlier trip to sign the deal after Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, used its veto to withhold Belgian approval of the deal. The pact required the support of all 28 signatory countries.

Mr Trudeau signed the pact on Sunday, joined by Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, which represents the leaders of the member states; Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia, which holds the rotating presidency of the body that runs the bloc’s ministerial meetings; and Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm. Continue reading