EU extends Russian sanctions: EU yesterday confirmed that it was rolling over the sanctions that it imposed over two years ago on the grounds that the 2015 Minsk peace deal aimed at ending the Ukraine conflict had “not [been] fully implemented.” EU ambassadors (more…)
The European Union is giving up on efforts to stop construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 project and is instead seeking a mandate from its member countries to negotiate with Russia over their concerns that Moscow’s plans to build a second pipeline to pump more gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea to Germany, will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas.
The Russian state-run enterprise Gazprom already supplies the EU with around one third of its gas requirement, but its plan to build a second pipeline has bitterly divided the EU, with Eastern European and Baltic Sea states worried that a new pipeline will increase their dependence on Russian gas and undermine Ukraine’s role as a transit country. Germany and other beneficiaries in northern Europe, in contrast back the plan.
In a March 28 letter addressed to Denmark and Sweden, the Commission said it was inviting all EU states to voice their concerns and would seek a mandate from EU energy ministers to negotiate an agreement with Moscow on behalf of the bloc.”It is our view that a specific legal regime would need to be established for the offshore section, and that such specific legal regime should include some fundamental principles stemming from EU energy law,” the Commission said. “It cannot be built or operated … in a legal void.”
Discussions would focus on how EU rules aimed at ensuring competitiveness and transparency in the gas market could be applied to the offshore pipeline, the Commission said.
China’s plans to build a 350km, $2.89m high-speed railway between Belgrade and Budapest are under investigation by the authorities in Brussels on the grounds that they may fall foul of EU laws which stipulate that transport projects of this magnitude should be put out to public tender.
An MoU (more…)
Russian sanctions: As widely anticipated, European Union leaders last week voted to extend economic sanctions against Russia over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine for a further six months. There were, however, signs of a rift beginning to emerge between some East European countries – led by Poland (more…)Read More»
Tillerson: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande yesterday put their collective weight behind a six-month extension of the package of economic sanctions imposed on Russia after its annexation of Crimea nearly three years ago; but the long-term future of the strategy is looking increasingly uncertain in the light of Donald Trump’s choice of Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State. Tillerson has long been known to have a good personal relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and to be sceptical about the efficacy of the sanction strategy and this week claims have also emerged in several US media outlets that he had visited the White House more than 20 times in an effort to ensure that his company was not put at a competitive disadvantage by the manner in which the sanctions were imposed. The oil chief was said to be concerned that European nations might not apply the restrictions as strictly as the US. (more…)Read More»
The international consortium put together to build the Nordstream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany are getting ready to defy the Polish authorities by coming up with a new financing model by the end of the year, according to Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller. His announcement took observers by surprise as it comes just days after (more…)tass Read More»
EU-China trade:The president of the European commission has warned China that it must stop dumping cheap steel in Europe or it could fail to gain market economy status with the World Trade Organisation, which Beijing is desperate to secure.
Jean-Claude Juncker said that Beijing and the EU had agreed to establish a working group to discuss the crisis in the steel industry and monitor steel shipments from China.
“The EU will defend its steel industry. We are not defenceless, and we will use all the means at our disposal,” Juncker said in Beijing after talks with the Chinese government.
An increase in cheap Chinese steel being imported into Europe has been blamed for the crisis facing the industry, which has put thousands of jobs at risk in the UK and across the continent. China makes more than half of the world’s steel but is suffering from slowing domestic demand. In the first quarter of the year Chinese steel exports to the EU rose 28%, driving prices down by more than 30%.
Speaking at the same forum Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that the two sides should “properly deal with” trade disputes, oppose trade barriers and speed up negotiations on a China-EU investment treaty.
In addition to accusations of dumping, trade relations between the two sides have also been put under pressure by long-standing complaints from European enterprises working in China about unfair restrictions that make it difficult for them to compete with local rivals. Foreign companies would soon enjoy the same treatment as their Chinese counterparts, Li promised, with the government continuing to reform its foreign investment management system, ease market access, enhance intellectual property protection and guarantee the legitimate rights of all types of enterprises, and remaining committed to creating a fair, transparent and expectable investment environment.
He called for European companies to invest more in China’s advanced manufacturing, service industry and the central and western parts of the country, “We want trade between China and Europe to grow on a stable platform,” he said.
China is now the EU’s second biggest trading partner behind the United States while China sells more goods and services to the EU than anywhere else in the world.
post-Brexit trade talks: UK Business Minister Said Javid was due to hold preliminary talks with government ministers in Delhi today, at the start of of world tour and probably years of negotiations as London seeks to establish new trade deals with individual countries to replace the 50-odd such agreements it enjoyed as part of the EU.
“Following the referendum result, my absolute priority is making sure the UK has the tools it needs to continue to compete on the global stage,” he said. “That is why I am in India today to launch these initial trade discussions. There is a strong bilateral trade relationship between our two countries and I am determined that we build on this.”
The discussions kick off a schedule of trips to the US, China, Japan and South Korea over the next few months, and come after George Osborne met a Chinese government delegation in London on Thursday and promised to foster “stronger trade ties” with the world’s second largest economy.The chancellor is undertaking a four-day trip to China later this month for the G20 finance ministers’ meeting and will visit several cities to promote UK-Chinese relations.
Javid will also meet Tata board members on Saturday to discuss the company’s efforts to find a buyer for its British steel business, which includes the blast furnaces at Port Talbot in South Wales. The sale process is understood to have been put on hold amid the economic uncertainty created by the vote to leave the EU.
Russian sanctions: The European Union yesterday resolved to extend the ban on its members conducting business with Russia for another 12 months until June 23. Brussels is also expected to use a meeting of EU ambassadorson Tuesday to also extend a wider ban until the end of the year.
The ban prohibits: (more…)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel this weekend put forward the idea of creating a common economic zone between the EU and Russia “from Lisbon to Vladivostok” and a gradual rapprochement between Moscow and Brussels. Speaking at the Christian Democratic Union’s Congress in Mecklenburg, she also repeated her readiness (more…)welt Read More»