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Friday, March 6, 2015

Europe vs. Russia round N

As the media war between Europe and Russia continues to grow, I was tempted to post some recent news which might make you reconsider what we're being told.

Ukraine says Daimler-Kamaz deal contradicts the spirit of EU sanctions

EXCLUSIVE: Ukraine has officially complained to the European Commission that a joint venture by Germany’s Daimler and Russia’s Kamaz, a producer of trucks, but also of a large variety of military vehicles, contradicts the spirit of EU sanctions against Russia, EurActiv has learned.
On 24 February, the Commission announced it has approved the creation of a joint venture by Daimler AG, of Germany, and Kamaz OJSC, of Russia. But in fact Kamaz is a firm primarily dealing with military equipment.
The Commission doesn’t find that the merger contradicts the the sanctions adopted by the EU vis-a-vis Russia, in the context of the annexation of Crimea and the Ukraine crisis.
These restrictive measures include an embargo on the import and export of arms and related material from/to Russia, covering all items on the EU common military list.
My comment: So basically, France had to give up its Mistral deal, risking billion of euro if the case go to arbitrage, but the European Commission has absolutely no problem in approving a merger with obviously military background if one of the companies happen to be Germany. Oh, well.

EU moves to improve Energy Union interconnections

The European Union yesterday (4 March) took a step to reduce its energy dependence, especially on Russia, seeking instead to improve connections between renewable energy giants Spain and Portugal, and the rest of Europe.
My comment: Because in principle, Spain and Portugal are extremely Russia-dependent. Or because the cost of transfer of electricity to Eastern and Central Europe, which depend mostly on Russia, will be less than the prices asked by Russia. Well, it won't be lower, if you don't get the sarcasm. But then, why not spending couple of billions on interconnecting Western Europe and Germany, so that next time the EU and Russia decide to break relations, only Eastern Europe will stay on the cold. Yay!

Russia can use Trans-Adriatic pipeline, Commission confirms

A Commission official confirmed yesterday (5 March) that Gazprom can use the Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) to move gas, if the Russian export monopoly builds the “Turkish Stream” pipeline and brings gas to Greece.
The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) refers to the three pipelines, including TAP, which will bring Azeri gas to the EU. The South Caucasus Pipeline Extension from Shah Deniz via Azerbaijan and Georgia, the TANAP pipeline via Turkey, the TAP pipeline starting from Greece and taking the gas further across Albania and an offshore section in the Adriatic to Italy. The first gas is expected to flow via SGC in 2019-2020. A branch is expected to take Azeri gas from Greece to Bulgaria and further north.
My comment:  This is particularly interesting news, confirming that the only looser of the South Stream fiasco will be...Bulgaria. But of course, dick measuring is more important than solidarity for the EC. In any case, Russia will get access to TAP and the Europeans will be happy to use the bad Russian gas. Btw, Bulgaria happens to be the poorest nation in the EU and the death of the South Stream mega project basically means getting even poorer. Just saying, in case you didn't get the solidarity comment.

Russia imposes ban on Polish cheese

Russia has introduced an embargo on all Polish cheeses, basing it on just one type of cheese, the ‘Happy Cow’ brand. Euractiv Poland reports.
Rospotrebnadzor, the Russian agency for protecting customers’ rights, published a communiqué on Monday (23 February) stating that the import of cheeses and “cheese-like” products from Poland has been banned since Friday, 20 February.
According to the agency, the cheese “Wesoła Krówka” has violated the rules of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in regards to cheese production and safety.

And the related:

Brussels plans help for pork sector hit by Russian ban

Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan pledged on Sunday to take steps to support pork prices in an effort to help the industry, as it reels from a Russian import ban The announcement was immediately welcomed by French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, who along with several European counterparts had been calling for such measures for a number of months to counter the impact of the Russian embargo. EU pork meat exports to Russia were worth about 1 billion euros in 2013.
French farmer groups estimated that the Russian ban on EU pork products cost producers in France around 500 million euros last year due to the cumulative effective of lost exports and the drag on prices within the EU.
My comment: So basically, the useless sanctions imposed by the EC on Russia only bring misery to recession-hit Europe, taking away valuable markets from the European farmers, with the goal of... well nobody knows what is the goal of the sancitons anyway. They say that it should secure peace in Ukraine, but then, the past week was marked by peace, withdrawing of heavy weapons by both parts and generally normalization of the situation (at least compared to previous weeks and months). And yet, we read: David Cameron: Britain could take Russia sanctions to 'whole different level'. Really? Why? Because if it is peace we're after, we're not supposed to punish and threaten it, right?! But then, nobody believes that the goal is peace. From the kind of schizophrenic behavior of the EC with respect to Russia you can clearly see that nobody cares about the poor people of Ukraine and the misery and the death the war brought to them. The only thing they care is about money. And power.

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