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August 06 2013

Energy and Politics : Behind the Scenes of the Nabucco-TAP Competition

Energy and Politics: Behind the Scenes of the Nabucco-TAP Competition

The European Union launched the Southern Gas Corridor initiative with the twofold aim of strengthening the diversification of Europe’s gas sources and transportation routes, and reducing the role of upstreamers in the European gas market. The clear preference expressed by the European Commission - the corridor’s mastermind - for Nabucco was expected to weigh in heavily, allowing the EU-backed project to easily win the competition. However, other factors, beyond political support, ended up tilting the balance decisively in favour of Nabucco West’s final rival, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). These do not include only the technical and commercial criteria set out by the Shah Deniz II consortium, but also more mundane considerations. Nabucco West’s complex organizational and decision-making procedures, the attractiveness of the exemption from Third Party Access (TPA) granted by the EU to TAP, and SOCAR’s specific interest in the Greek market also influenced the consortium’s final decision. An analysis of the Southern Gas Corridor competition suggests that when it comes to energy, political support and institutional involvement do not always represent the decisive element, and may be counterproductive at times.

#russie #europe #énergie #gaz #nabucco #tap

The Winner is TAP : The EU's Failed Policy in the South Caucasus

The Winner is TAP: The EU’s Failed Policy in the South Caucasus

Between the two competitors for the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Europe ­ Nabucco West and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) ­ the winner is the latter, a project designed to transport Caspian gas via Greece and Albania and across the Adriatic Sea to southern Italy. The EU welcomed the decision of the Shah Deniz consortium. Yet the political objective of the Southern Corridor was to diversify gas supply to Europe and reduce the energy dependence of some EU member states on Russia. With TAP as the winner, it is questionable whether the EU has truly met these goals. As for Azerbaijan, the selection of TAP can be viewed as a commercially sound decision and a political balancing act by Baku to gain access to European markets and to avoid angering the Kremlin. Yet this choice came only after President Alyev failed to convince the EU to take a clearer stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process in exchange for Nabucco West. For its part, the EU has failed to be a credible actor in the region, able to defend its interests by diversifying energy supplies, decreasing the energy dependence of some member states on Russia and contributing to regional security in the South Caucasus.

#énergie #caucase #pipelines #gaz #pétrole #tap

August 03 2013

Israeli envoy : EU formed guidelines 'under the radar', broke promise to show us draft by Barak…

Israeli envoy: EU formed guidelines ’under the radar’, broke promise to show us draft
by Barak Ravid
Haaretz, 3rd of August 2013

Israeli ambassador to the European Union in Brussels, David Walzer, admitted in a document sent to Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Ministry Director-General Rafael Barak that he was indeed surprised by the formulation and timing of the EU guidelines on settlements. In the document, which is part of an inquiry held on the guidelines, Walzer insists that he and his staff were not guilty of negligence.

A senior official in the ministry revealed that several days after Haaretz first published the new EU guidelines as to settlements, Elkin directed Barak to hold an investigation as to possible failings of the Israeli delegation to the EU and the Foreign Ministry in the matter.

July 24 2013

Punishing Hezbollah : Gulf States Follow in EU's Footsteps | Nasser Charara

Punishing Hezbollah: Gulf States Follow in EU’s Footsteps | Nasser Charara

Diplomatic sources who followed the deliberations suggest that the decision was made reluctantly after repeated interventions on the part of Washington, who wanted to punish Hezbollah for fighting alongside the Syrian armed forces in the decisive battle of Qusayr.

From the outset, the European ministers seemed unconvinced that there was enough evidence to suggest that Hezbollah committed an act of terror on their territories, which would have provided the legal basis for such a decision. Attempts to connect the Lebanese party to the 2012 Burgas bombing in Bulgaria resulted in failure, despite relentless American and Israeli pressures on the country’s authorities.

July 23 2013

Catherine Ashton : Israeli settlement products to be labeled in EU by end of 2013 By Barak Ravid…

Catherine Ashton: Israeli settlement products to be labeled in EU by end of 2013
By Barak Ravid
Haaretz, 23rd of July

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is seeking to draft comprehensive guidelines on labeling settlement products by the end of this year, she told several senior EU officials last week.

She made the comment in a letter - a copy of which has been obtained by Haaretz - sent on July 8 to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and the seven commissioners responsible for justice, industry, consumer protection, agriculture, taxation, trade and internal market. The commission is the EU’s executive arm.

July 18 2013

L'analyse décapatante de l'actualité européenne par la presse irlandaise : ❝Confirmation that the…

L’analyse décapatante de l’actualité européenne par la presse irlandaise :

Confirmation that the talks will be delayed until after the German federal elections will be seen as further evidence of the power Europe’s most populous nation now has over the rest of the EU, and moves Europe closer to the US political system which effectively shuts down ahead of presidential elections there.

Ireland’s strategy for exiting the bailout is not the only item that has been apparently held up by the German political calendar.

July 17 2013

Israel's moment of truth is approaching - settlements and Europe 17th of July 2013 Editorial…

Israel’s moment of truth is approaching - settlements and Europe
17th of July 2013
Editorial Haaretz

The European Union recently issued a directive stipulating that agreements between Israel and EU member countries will not apply beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

According to Barak Ravid’s report Tuesday, the EU guideline, binding on all of its 28 member states, bars any funding or cooperation with Israeli entities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The order also requires that any future agreements signed with Israel include a provision stating that the settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore are not subject to these agreements.

The sanctions imposed directly on the settlements and indirectly on the State of Israel have thus been ratcheted up a notch. A senior official in Jerusalem characterized the new EU directive as “an earthquake.” The guideline has reportedly generated tension and concern in both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry.

The report of this latest development comes just days after Yossi Verter reported that major European banks recently considered a recommendation to cease providing loans to any financial entity in Israel with direct or indirect links to the settlements. That recommendation has been put on hold for the time being, but it, too, has engendered concern.

And Justice Minister Tzipi Livni recently warned that Europe might not be satisfied with a boycott of the settlements; boycotts could be extended to include all of Israel proper. These developments reflect a new international reality that is rapidly taking shape. For now, for the most part, they are still merely warnings − but ones that Israel cannot ignore.

Until now, European governments have striven to maintain good relations with Israel despite the impasse in peace negotiations and construction in the settlements − sometimes to the chagrin of growing segments of the population in their own countries. The United States’ position and the legacy of European history have prevented harsher measures. Now, however, it appears that the patience of European governments is about to be exhausted.

In the immediate future, Israel will have to decide if it is prepared to sign agreements containing the new territorial limitations, which will have to be included in accords with all EU member states. If not, the European Union, which is the largest market for Israeli exports, is liable to halt its cooperation with Israel.

Israel can persist in its recalcitrance. The government can continue to impose more and more conditions on an agreement with the Palestinians. But the moment of truth is quickly approaching. Israel’s government needs to decide if it is ready to continue to endanger the country’s future for the sake of continuing the occupation.

How the EU caught Israel off guard with its new settlement guidelines by Barak Ravid Haaretz

How the EU caught Israel off guard with its new settlement guidelines
by Barak Ravid

A senior Israeli official Tuesday described new guidelines conditioning future EU agreements with Israel on the latter’s recognition of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as occupied territories as an “earthquake.”

The guidelines, which were drawn up by the European Commission, are expected to be officially released on Friday. Haaretz revealed Tuesday that the document was circulated among all the EU institutions, foundations, investment funds and aid organizations two weeks ago, as well as to all 28 EU member states. They go into effect on January 1.

In a scathing response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We will not accept any external edicts on our borders.” Most cabinet ministers were caught by surprise. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett called the decision an “economic terror attack.” Finance Minister Yair Lapid said it was “unfortunate and badly timed,” adding, “every day that Israel is not in talks harms its international status even further.” Meanwhile, opposition chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich called for an immediate resumption of talks.

C'était trop beau, le coup de la directive européenne. En fait, il s'agirait d'une _"soft law"_…

C’était trop beau, le coup de la directive européenne. En fait, il s’agirait d’une "soft law" (recommandation ?) et elle entrerait en application en janvier 2014. Ci-après, copie de la lettre adressée à Pierre Galland (coordination des comités Palestine en Europe) par Aneta Jerska :

Subject: [ECCP] EU guideliness - final confirmation
To: ECCP Google Groupe <>

Dear all,

As there was a lot of confusions today regarding the publication in Haaretz and Guardian I called several EU officials and this is what they confirmed:

1.The EU did not pass an EU directive, these are public EU guidelines “on the eligibility of Israeli entities and their activities in the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 for grants, prizes and financial instruments funded by the EU from 2014 onwards”.

These have been in the pipeline for a while now, are a follow up to the EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of 10 December 2012, and are meant to be officially published on 19 July in the official EU Journal. It is not a “directive” as such but is rather “soft law”. It does not introduce new EU legislation but rather provides guidance on how EU MS should implement existing legislation. The guidelines will however indicate a determination to ensure that the guidelines are adhered with. They relate to the execution of the Commission’s budget until 2020. They will apply in all situations in which the Commission is called upon to grant financial assistance to outside parties (e.g. under programmes such as Horizon 2020, Erasmus, Mundus, Marie Curie, twinning programmes...) They will not be binding on Member States’ programmes.

2. They will come into effect on 1st January 2014, not on 19 July 2013.

3. They will apply only to grants made to legal entities, not natural persons. Thus if a university within Israel proper has students from Maale Adumin, for example, that university will not be blocked from receiving EU funds. Nor will a business established in Israel proper but employing workers residing beyond the green line. But entities like Ahava and Ariel University would be excluded.

all the best

Aneta Jerska
Coordinator, Policy officer
European Coordination Committee for Palestine

July 16 2013

_EU to bar all member states from funding Israeli settlements_

EU to bar all member states from funding Israeli settlements

An EU directive will bar all 28 member states from dealings with Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including annexed Arab east Jerusalem, sparking attacks from Israeli officials Tuesday.

The directive, due to be published on Friday and take effect from 2014, forbids EU member states from funding or dealing with Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, according to Israeli media.

It requires a clear distinction to be made in all signed agreements between Israel and the territories it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war — the Golan Heights as well as the West Bank, including east Jerusalem.

A high-ranking official, who requested anonymity, described the European Union’s move as a disproportionate “attack” on Israel.

À mon avis, plutôt que du « courage politique », ou qu’un effet des menaces de boycott, je crois surtout qu’il s’agit de mettres les choses au clair pour que les institutions et les multinationales européennes cessent de passer devant les tribunaux à cause de leur participation à la colonisation. Parce qu’une directive qui interdit explicitement de financer la colonisation se contente, me semble-t-il, d’interdire ce qui est déjà interdit.

EU orders member states : Exclude West Bank settlements from any future deals with Israel By Barak…

EU orders member states: Exclude West Bank settlements from any future deals with Israel
By Barak Ravid
Haaretz 16th July 2013

The European Union has published a binding directive to all 28 member states forbidding any funding, cooperation, awarding of scholarships, research funds or prizes to anyone residing in the Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The regulation, which goes into effect on Friday, requires that any contract signed by an EU country with Israel include a clause stating that the settlements are not part of the State of Israel and therefore are not part of the agreement.

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the new ruling, which was published on June 30, as an “earthquake.”

July 09 2013

*Latvia gets Ecofin nod to become 18th eurozone member* Now it is officially - Latvia is going to…

Latvia gets Ecofin nod to become 18th eurozone member
Now it is officially - Latvia is going to be the second Baltic state which introduces euro. Estonia joined eurozone already in 2012, but Lithuania is planning to do it in a few years.

EU finance minsters have rubber-stamped Latvia’s application to become the 18th country to use the euro.

The application for membership had earlier been approved by the European Commission and European Central Bank.

The exchange rate has been set at 0.702804 lats to one euro, and euro notes and coins will be issued in Latvia on 1 January, 2014.

Latvia is keen to strengthen ties with western Europe and reduce its dependency on Russia.

The country has met the criteria for euro membership, including low inflation and long-term interest rates, as well as low public debt.

Latvia underwent one of Europe’s toughest austerity programmes after the 2008-09 financial crisis knocked a fifth off its GDP.

It received a 7.5bn euro bailout in 2008, but it has now repaid the loans.

"Ecofin has taken final decision approving Latvia’s euro membership from 2014,’’ the EU’s current Lithuanian presidency announced via its Twitter account,

As he entered the Ecofin finance ministers’ meeting earlier on Tuesday, Latvian Finance Minister Andris Vilks said it was a "symbolic day’’.

#Eurozone #Euro #Latvia

*Latvia towards euro* Today is the day when during EU finance ministers' meeting there will be…

Latvia towards euro

Today is the day when during EU finance ministers’ meeting there will be confirmed if Latvia can introduce euro in 2014. Most of the people are sure that Latvia will receive ’’green light’’. With introducing euro and being part of eurozone, Latvia will be secured it’s place in Western world.
Although people are skeptic about euro, there was enough information on back in 2003 that joining EU means joining eurozone as well.

Desmit gadu cīņa par eiro: kā Latvija soli pa solim nokļuva līdz mērķim - DELFI

Otrdien Eiropas Savienības (ES) finanšu ministru tikšanās reizē izšķirsies, vai Latvijā no 2014.gada 1.janvāra tiks ieviests eiro. Par pozitīvo lēmumu šaubās vairs tikai retais. Latvija ir izgājusi garu un sarežģītu birokrātu ceļu, lai tūliņ jau varētu teikt, ka viens no valsts attīstības stratēģiskajiem mērķiem, ir sasniegts. Šim nozīmīgajam notikumam klāt būs arī portāls « Delfi » un piedāvās aktuālās ziņas no Briseles.
Līdz ar eiro ieviešanu Latvija vēl pamatīgāk, pēc jau sekmīgās pievienošanās ES un NATO, būs nostiprinājusi savu piederību rietumu pasaulei. Tas ir viens no neatkarību atguvušās Latvijas redzamākajiem ārpolitikas mērķiem.

#Latvia #eurozone #introducing_euro

July 08 2013

Asylum seeker Snowden and Latvia Snowden's case is very loud and there are discussions about this…

Asylum seeker Snowden and Latvia

Snowden's case is very loud and there are discussions about this issues all over the world - even in Latvia. While he is still trying to find a country which would protect him from trial in United States, in Latvia people are discussing should EU countries give him help. Some of the journalists are harsh towards Snowden and his runaway to non-democratic countries. But this exact journalist defends Snowden by saying that Latvia and all EU obeys to USA and not giving asylum to Snowden is showing how weak is EU.
#Snowden #Latvia #politics #EU #USA

July 04 2013

*New PICUM report puts spotlight on poverty of migrant children in the EU* ❝BRUSSELS, 20 June,…

New PICUM report puts spotlight on poverty of migrant children in the EU

BRUSSELS, 20 June, 2013 - On the occasion of the meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) in Luxembourg today, PICUM launches a new report calling on the ministers to address the poverty and social exclusion faced by #children who have, or whose parents have, an irregular migration status.

PICUM's report “Child poverty and well-being: Spotlight on the situation of migrant children in Cyprus and the EU” outlines the specific vulnerabilities of migrant children and relevant good practices, in order to inform developments on both European and national levels. The report is the result of a roundtable held by PICUM in partnership with the Commissioner for Children's Rights in Cyprus, the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus, Eurochild, and KISA, Action for Equality Support and Antiracism in Cyprus on 17 October 2012, prior to a high-level conference on child poverty and well-being, organised by the Cypriot Presidency of the European Union.

Taking the example of the situation in Cyprus, the report identifies major challenges that migrant children face across the EU such as the length of administrative procedures for asylum, lack of access to legal representation, restrictions on accessing services and the gap between rights and entitlements on paper and in practice.

“We know the crisis and austerity measures are having a devastating effect on children and families across Europe. Children with a migrant background are among the most vulnerable, especially when their parents are in precarious employment or they are undocumented. Children only have one childhood. And that experience will shape their chances throughout the life-course,” Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General of Eurochild, emphasized.

The situation of undocumented migrant children is a particular concern. Due to their irregular residence status, or the irregular status of their parents, many children face severe restrictions in accessing essential services, such as education and health care, and are at risk of poverty, social exclusion and exploitation. Changes need to be enacted to respect children's rights and to realize a Europe of equality and prosperity. Today, Ministers from the 27 EU Member States meet to discuss the European Commission's Social Investment Package for Growth and Cohesion (SIP) launched in February this year, and the European Commission's Recommendation “Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage”, as part of the package.

The European Commission recommendation is a welcome step, recognizing children as individual rights holders and the need to prioritise integrated social investment in children, particularly in times of crisis. With access to quality services as one of the central pillars of the Recommendation, member states are urged to ensure health care services are adapted to ensure undocumented children can enjoy their right to health. Limiting the human rights of undocumented children and denying access to essential services does not reduce the numbers of irregularly staying migrants but causes great individual harm and exacerbates social inequalities to the detriment of individuals, families and communities alike.

#migration #enfants #pauvreté #EU #PICUM #sans-papiers

UE-É.-U. _business as usual_ Libre-échange UE-US : les négociations débuteront lundi malgré les…

UE-É.-U. business as usual
Libre-échange UE-US : les négociations débuteront lundi malgré les soupçons d'espionnage

Pas de changement de programme. Comme prévu, les pourparlers au sujet d'un partenariat transatlantique entre l'Union européenne et les Etats-Unis commenceront lundi prochain à Washington.

Mais, quand même…

Un groupe de travail de haut niveau sera créé en parallèle des discussions

et d'ailleurs…

Barack Obama « prend au sérieux » les inquiétudes des Européens

Certes, certes, les Européens sont inquiets, mais leurs gouvernements sont encore plus inquiets de perdre l'accès aux tuyaux que leur refourgue la #NSA

July 02 2013

Europe's spying businesses thrive amid surveillance uproar -

Europe's spying businesses thrive amid surveillance uproar -

Europe's politicians are outraged about alleged US monitoring of EU telephone and computer communications. But when it comes to building and exporting spy equipment, few are as capable as Europe.

That much was evident last month when the world's leading sellers of electronic surveillance technology gathered in Prague at the ISS World trade show.

Police and spy agency officials listened to closed-door presentations by a succession of European companies about their highly sophisticated internet and telephone communication interception wares.


The US has by far the biggest national budget for surveillance technology but it tends to buy large bespoke surveillance systems from big US contractors. US tech start-ups often receive NSA/CIA funding and are therefore discouraged from selling overseas, says Jerry Lucas, organiser of the Prague trade show.

This means that more than 50 per cent of the almost $6bn a year market for off-the-shelf surveillance equipment – the kind favoured by nearly all governments except the US – is controlled by western European companies, according to Mr Lucas.


... few European politicians appear to have recognised that the continent's prolific export of surveillance technology also poses a direct threat to the continent's security.

In fact, it was James Clapper, US director of national intelligence, who told the US Senate in March that foreign governments had begun using surveillance technologies originally marketed for “lawful interception” to target US systems.

Christopher Soghoian, a security and privacy researcher at the American Civil Liberties Union, concludes: “It seems strange to turn a blind eye to selling hacking technology when European governments are at the same time investing in cyber security defence.

“The government claims to be protecting civilians' data and domestic businesses from foreign attack. But at the exact same time this industry is in direct conflict with that goal.”

#mensonges #hypocrisie #argent

June 30 2013

NSA hat Wanzen in EU-Gebäuden installiert - SPIEGEL ONLINE

NSA hat Wanzen in EU-Gebäuden installiert - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Selon ce document, la NSA a implanté du matériel d'écoute dans les bureaux de l'Union européenne (UE) à Washington et aux Nations unies et était en mesure non seulement d'écouter les conversations téléphoniques, mais aussi d'accéder aux documents et aux courriels des diplomates européens, qualifiés de « cible » dans le document.

Pas très étonnant, les américains depuis la seconde guerre mondiale fabriquent et assurent la maintenance des appareils informatiques européens. A commencer par ceux des camps de concentration.

June 28 2013

Obama administration convinced EU to drop measure that would have blocked NSA spying

Obama administration convinced EU to drop measure that would have blocked #NSA spying

Senior officials in the Obama administration successfully lobbied the European Union's executive body to drop an “anti-#FISA clause” from its privacy legislation over a year ago, the Financial Times reports. That measure, if adopted, could have blocked the U.S. requests for European citizens' computer and telephone data that are made as part of the just-revealed PRISM program.
The measure was dropped from consideration in January 2012, after debate within the European Union, according to the British newspaper.

ha ha ha #surveillance via @vincib

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