Archive for Europe, EU

Fragile Europe Weakens U.S. Push for Russia Sanctions

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Sangwon Yoon – April 14, 2014) The U.S. readiness to impose new economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine is offset by the European Union’s reluctance to introduce stronger measures that could threaten its already fragile economic recovery. While the Obama administration said yesterday that it’s prepared to ramp up sanctions, possibly

Russia Beyond the Headlines: Why giving up Russian gas is not an option for the EU

Russian Gas Facility file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Tatyana Zykova, special to RBTH - April 10, 2014) Despite talk in Europe of reducing dependence on Russian fuel and promises of help from the U.S., for the foreseeable future Russia remains the only country that can supply the EU with an increasing supply of cheap gas. The European

Culture Ministry Affirms ‘Russia is not Europe’

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – D. Garrison Golubock – April 8, 2014) A state commission working on a much-discussed report titled “Foundations of State Cultural Politics” will release their findings in two weeks, presidential advisor Vladimir Tolstoi announced last week, adding that the basic formula of the report could be summarized as “Russia is not

New Sanctions May Freeze South Stream Pipeline

Gas Flame file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – April 9, 2014) As the EU presses on with sanctions against Russia for seizing Crimea, the $50 billion South Stream pipeline, meant to bring Russian gas through the Black Sea to Europe, may be frozen in favor of other projects. The European Union is close to freezing

Over half of Ukrainians aspire to sign EU-Ukraine Association Agreement – poll

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KYIV. April 8 (Interfax) – Most Ukrainian citizens would like the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including establishing a free trade zone, to be signed as quickly as possible but stances as to when this should be done differ. According to the poll held by the Rating sociological group, the results of which Interfax obtained on Tuesday,

Ukraine Says Russian Gas Transit to Europe Under Threat

Russian Gas Facility file photo

BRUSSELS, April 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s set price on gas for Ukraine is unfairly high and is creating a threat of transiting Russian gas to Europe, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said Tuesday. “In this situation, the threat of cutting gas deliveries to Ukraine arises, as well as the threat of cutting transit gas

Russia Ready for Ukraine Talks with US, EU – Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is prepared to consider multilateral negotiations on the situation in Ukraine involving the US and EU, but a date has not yet been agreed on for the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday. US Secretary of State John Kerry proposed holding talks on the crisis-hit country

RIA Novosti: EU Could Lose 1 Trillion Euros From Further Sanctions Against Moscow – Russian Official

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

MOSCOW, April 7 (RIA Novosti) – EU financial losses if broad economic sanctions are imposed against Russia could reach a trillion euros, according to Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “It’s an open question who would sustain greater losses from the sanctions,” Glazyev told the Russian RT TV channel in an interview

RIA Novosti: Europe Lacks Realistic Alternative to Russian Energy Supplies – Analyst

Gas Flame file photo

MOSCOW, April 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s natural gas supplies to the European Union have no practical alternative, a senior energy analyst at the Colorado-based IHS company said Thusday. “The EU’s reliance on Russia to meet approximately 30 percent of its total gas demand means that there is no realistic alternative to European dependence on

Interfax: Europe can’t easily turn back on Russian energy resources – minister

Russian Gas Facility file photo

MOSCOW. April 4 (Interfax) – It would be difficult for Europe to give up Russian energy resources, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with TV channel Rossiya 24. He recalled that statements have been made about reducing the dependence on Russia in future. “And such work is being done in the European Union,

RIA Novosti: EU Not Ready to Offer Membership for Ukraine – Russian Ambassador

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BRUSSELS, April 2 (RIA Novosti) – The EU is not ready for border enlargement, and is unlikely to offer membership for Ukraine, the Russian ambassador to the EU said Wednesday. “As far as I can see, the EU is determined not to admit Ukraine to the union. The association agreement doesn’t guarantee membership in the

RIA Novosti: EU Should Avoid Economic Sanctions Against Russia – Senior EU Official

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BRUSSELS, April 1 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union should refrain from introducing broad economic sanctions against Russia if the situation around Ukraine does not deteriorate, European Commission Vice President Olli Rehn said Tuesday. “No sensible European would want to see economic sanctions or any other escalation to the crisis. And in case Russia will

Ukraine-EU Pact Signals Step Towards NATO – Russian Ministry Source

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MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) – The signing of a political pact between Ukraine and the European Union is a hasty step which points to the prospect of closer military ties between Kiev and NATO, a Russian foreign ministry source said Monday. “The political provisions of the association deal pave the way for further entrenchment

Merkel Warns on Rush to Russia Sanctions, Reflecting EU Split

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – James G. Neuger, Ian Wishart and Jonathan Stearns – March 20, 2014) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union won’t rush to impose economic sanctions on Russia for the annexation of Crimea, reflecting concerns that trade curbs would damage Europe’s tentative recovery. Germany, which is Russia’s biggest EU trading partner,

Interfax: Sergei Lavrov says Western sanctions on Russia are not lawful

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. March 20 (Interfax) – The sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States do not have international legal grounds, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “Unilateral sanctions have never done any good. They are not legal. And they do not have international legal grounds,” Lavrov said at a State Duma

Obama Warns Putin Annexing Ukraine Will Be Costly for Russia

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Business News Europe – bne.eu – Tim Ash, Standard Bank – March 13, 2014) Pretty good summary herein of the main developments in Ukraine: [http://russialist.org/germanyeuukraine-fine-grained-response-likely-to-crimean-referendum/] A couple of things I would add: First the Kerry-Lavrov meeting today is important, as Kerry seemed to be playing hard to get earlier in the week, perhaps letting his

GERMANY/EU/UKRAINE: Fine-grained response likely to Crimean referendum

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Business News Europe – bne.eu – Teneo Intelligence – March 13, 2014) In response to the Crimean referendum, the EU will likely move to level two of its sanctions menu. Asset freezes and travel bans will be applied only gradually, amid German unwillingness to escalate to broader economic measures. No quick fix to the crisis

Russia Preparing Response to U.S. and EU Sanctions

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – March 6, 2014) The Federation Council is drawing up a bill that would allow the government to confiscate the property of U.S. and European companies in the event of Western sanctions, though political analysts dismiss both actions as intimidating rhetoric unlikely turn into action. Further decreasing the

EU sanctions against Russia unlikely absent significant escalation

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Teneo Intelligence – March 3, 2014) Despite the ratcheting-up of rhetoric by European countries regarding the events in Ukraine, it remains unlikely for now that the European Union (EU) will impose sanctions on Russia. Not only would a high degree of consensus among EU member states be required in

UKRAINE ONLINE POLL: What would be Ukraine’s best course to follow?

Maidan Square file photo

[poll originally posted in late 2013] We would like to hear your opinion about unfolding events in Ukraine and welcome your participation in the following poll. Visitors can vote for up to three choices, and generally can vote once each day.  There also as an option to “fill in the blank.” After you have made

Gazprom Captures Largest-Ever Share of European Gas Market

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 19, 2014) State-owned gas giant Gazprom captured its largest-ever share of the European and Turkish gas market last year, supplying 30 percent of the continent’s needs, as compared to 26 percent in 2012. The Russian export monopoly sent 162.7 billion cubic meters of gas westward in 2013, and beat

NEWSLINK: Japan-Russia Ties: An Opportunity for the U.S.

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["Japan-Russia Ties: An Opportunity for the U.S." - Moscow Times - themoscowtimes.com - Jeffrey Mankoff - February 18, 2014 - themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/japan-russia-ties-an-opportunity-for-the-us/494786.html] A Moscow Times commentary by Jeffrey Mankoff, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, suggests that Russian relations with the United States and the European Union are at an impasse, but that Russian

NEWSLINK: Russia accuses EU of seeking Ukraine “sphere of influence”

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["Russia accuses EU of seeking Ukraine 'sphere of influence'" - Reuters - Gabriela Baczynska, Alexandra Hudson - February 14, 2014 - http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/14/us-ukraine-russia-eu-idUSBREA1D0PT20140214] Reuters covers tensions between Russia and the EU over Ukraine, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov bemoaning the prospect of an EU sphere of influence on Russia’s borders: Russia accused the European Union

Merkel to Host Ukraine Opposition as New Rally Planned

Angela Merkel file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Daryna Krasnolutska – February 14, 2014) German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host Ukrainian opposition leaders next week as protesters try to raise pressure on the government to step down and Russia accuses the U.S. and European Union of meddling in its backyard. Merkel will meet opposition leaders Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali

European Commissioner Fule names EU priorities in resolving crisis in Ukraine

Ukraine Map and Flag

KYIV. Feb 13 (Interfax) – The European Union considers holding a constitutional reform and forming a new government to be a priority task, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule said at a news conference in Kyiv. First of all, it is necessary to implement important steps regarding the constitutional reform, forming

RIA Novosti: Russia Expects Ukraine to Integrate with Eurasian Union

Maidan Square file photo

MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia expects Ukraine to return to a process of integration with a Moscow-driven economics union stretching from Europe to the Pacific Ocean, a senior Kremlin official said Thursday. “We are counting on Ukraine’s return to the integration process,” presidential advisor Sergei Glazyev told an economic conference in Moscow. The

Russian senator slams EU over “double standards” on Ukraine

Mikhail Margelov file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, February 11, 2014) The head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, Mikhail Margelov, has accused the European Union of employing double standards. Margelov told Interfax that during his work in PACE he and his colleagues from the Russian delegation acquired strong immunity to double standards in assessments of the same

New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

Maidan Square file photo

(Stratfor.com – George Friedman – February 11, 2014) The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the

Endgame Nears In EU’s Antitrust Showdown With Gazprom

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Charles Recknagel – February 11, 2014) The Russian natural-gas giant Gazprom has long had its way in Europe, dominating the continent’s energy market and, according to critics, flaunting its rules with impunity. But that all might be about to change. A long-standing showdown between Gazprom and the European Union over alleged

Interfax: Russian NGOs have many issues with transparency – Transparency International

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(Interfax – February 11, 2014) The Russian branch of Transparency International has started studying the transparency of Russian non-governmental organizations (NGO) receiving EU grants, head of Transparency International office in Russia, Yelena Panfilova, said. “Due to the fact that Russia has many organizations receiving not just Russian budget funds but also EU budget funds, which

What integration with the EU means for Putin

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Stanislav Tkachenko, special to RBTH – February 4, 2014) The Russian president’s proposal to establish a free trade zone between the EU, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus – made at the recent EU-Russia summit – signals a major shift in Russian foreign policy. Stanislav Tkachenko is the head of

Interfax: Moscow concerned by EU demand to bring South Stream agreements in line with Third Energy Package – Lavrov

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

(Interfax – February 3, 2014) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed concern over statements by European Union representatives that inter-governmental agreements between Russia and South Stream project participants should be brought in line with the requirements of the Third Energy Package. “We are bewildered and concerned by Brussels’ statements about the need to review

RIA Novosti: EU Lawmakers Pass Ukraine Resolution, Prompting Russian Ire

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MOSCOW/STRASBOURG, January 30 (RIA Novosti) – An outspoken Russian lawmaker has labeled a resolution by Council of Europe lawmakers on unrest in Ukraine as an attempt to damage Russia. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, a forum that brings together parliamentarians from 47 members states across the continent, passed a resolution Thursday during

No decisions, but progress at EU-Russia summit

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Nikolay Surkov, RBTH – January 29, 2014) Two sides move towards new partnership agreement despite low expectations for recent meeting. Despite pessimistic forecasts going into the latest EU-Russia summit, the two sides were able to discuss their differences, and demonstrated their willingness to pursue further dialogue on key

Moscow Times: Putin Rebukes EU Actions in Ukraine

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – January 29, 2014) At the EU-Russia summit in Brussels on Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin promised that Russia would not interfere in the political conflict raging in Ukraine and rebuked European Union officials for visiting the opposition protests. Putin argued that too many mediators getting involved in the

TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Russia-EU Summit

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(Kremlin.ru – January 28, 2014) Vladimir Putin took part in the Russia-EU summit meeting. The Russian President had a private meeting with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. The meeting was at the EU’s initiative. The meeting continued in a working lunch format with participation by the delegations’

PACE Threatens European Magnitsky Act

Memorial Flowers and Photo of Sergei Magnitsky

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – January 29, 2014) The Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe, or PACE, voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a resolution critical of Russia for its handling of the investigation into the death of Sergei Magnitsky, over the fierce objections of Russian lawmakers present for the vote.

EU, Russia need frank discussion of European, Eurasian integration – Ushakov

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MOSCOW. Jan 24 (Interfax) – There has been no progress in the forming of the four common spaces of cooperation between Russia and the European and the two sides should discuss how to match the European and Eurasian integration processes, officials in Moscow said. “We believe there is a great need for a frank, substantial

EU Links Easing of Visas to Russia’s Rights Record

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – January 20, 2014) An official from the European Union spoke out about several concerns over Russia during a visit to Moscow on Friday, warning that plans for a visa-free regime would be put on hold until issues of corruption and human rights are addressed. The meeting came

Interfax: Moscow expects explanations from Brussels regarding talks on South Stream – Chizhov

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

BRUSSELS. Jan 14 (Interfax) – It is necessary to carry out eliminations and exceptions in the European Union law for the South Stream transborder pipeline, Russia’s envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said. Moscow expects EU Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger to elaborate on the way in which Brussels will hold talks on the South

Interfax: Russia-EU summit may become a “suitable moment” for progress on visas – Russian envoy

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BRUSSELS. Jan 14 (Interfax) – A Russia-European Union summit, due to open in Brussels on January 28, could be a “suitable moment” to sign an agreement to further simplify visa rules, while the launch of talks on visa-free travel could send a favorable signal for further promoting the sides’ strategic partnership, Russia’s envoy to the

The future’s bright – the future’s Lidl

Kaliningrad Map, adapted and cropped from army.mil image with credit to Jim Kistler, USAWC

(opendemocracy.net – Ola Cichowlas – January 7, 2014) Ola Cichowlas is a British-Polish freelance journalist. She covers Russian regional politics and the arts in provincial Russia. As Russia and the EU fight it out for Ukraine, Ola Cichowlas reports on a more positive initiative on another border, where Russians from Kaliningrad can travel to Gdansk

ECHR Issued 120 Rulings Against Russia in 2013

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 8, 2014) The European Court for Human Rights last year made 120 rulings against human rights violations by Russian authorities, the Justice Ministry’s press service said Tuesday. “As of Dec. 20, 2013 the European Court for Human Rights had made 120 rulings, in which Russian authorities were found guilty

Belarusians Want to Join EU Rather than Russia, Poll Shows

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 3, 2013) Ukrainians and Moldovans are not the only nations between Moscow and the European Union who would prefer to be part of the EU than any Moscow-dominated entity and certainly don’t want their country to be absorbed by the Russian Federation.  A new poll shows

Interfax: Ukraine’s association with EU doesn’t contradict observer status in Customs Union – Kremlin

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

MOSCOW. Dec 23 (Interfax) – Ukraine’s association with the European Union does not contradict their observer status in the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov said. “No, there is no contradiction,” Ushakov told a briefing on Monday, responding to a question from Interfax as to whether Ukraine can simultaneously

Interfax: Ukraine to resume association agreement talks with EU in early 2014 – foreign minister

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KYIV. Dec 25 (Interfax) – Ukraine will resume negotiations with the European Union on signing an association agreement after the New Year’s holidays, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara said. “Two rounds of the negotiations have already taken place in Brussels. As you know, the Christmas and New Year’s political holidays begin in Europe today, and

Interfax: Kyiv-Moscow understandings won’t hinder Association Agreement Brussels is ready to sign – Ashton

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BRUSSELS. Dec 19 (Interfax) – High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton believes that the understandings between Ukraine and Russia reached in Moscow won’t hinder Kyiv’s further advancement along the road of European integration. At an extraordinary session of the European Parliament committee on foreign

RIA Novosti: Russia Condemns Pressure on Ukraine to Turn Towards Europe

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MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia is surprised by blatant attempts to pressure Ukraine into signing an association agreement with the European Union, Russia’s foreign minister said Wednesday. Sergei Lavrov said that pressure was continuing despite Kiev’s clear choice to develop closer ties with Moscow. He spoke a day after President Vladimir Putin agreed

Interfax: Moscow to respond proportionally in case Washington expands Magnitsky List – official [Matviyenko]

Valentina Matviyenko file photo

(Interfax – December 18, 2013) The so-called Magnitsky List is an utterly unfriendly step regarding Russia and Moscow will take proportionate measures if it is expanded, Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said. “I think that this law is an unfriendly step regarding us and does not contribute to improving the climate in our bilateral

A divided Ukraine: Between Russia and the EU

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gevorg Mirzayan, special to RBTH – December 16, 2013) The crisis over the country’s future intensifies as protesters backing closer ties with Europe bring the barricades back to Kiev’s Maidan Square. Opinion in Ukraine has split in two over whether the country should sign an Association Agreement offering

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