Nord Stream 2 threatens European energy security

Lithuanian MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis and Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany (European People's Party, CC BY)

Who undermines European security?

Bulgarian high-ranking official of Energy Ministry dismissed.

Trading on the Estonian stock exchange simplified.

Unemployment rate is the lowest since years.

After Ukraine-US business talks: a roadmap to attract investments.

There is an interesting article in Polish daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza – “German bargains with Gazprom”. Andrzej Kublik writes that the idea of a European Energy Union was abandoned by Berlin, when German government decided to build the Nord Stream 2 together with Russia. In September Russian Gazprom, German BASF, E.ON, Austrian OMV, and British-Netherlandish Shell signed Shareholders’ Agreement on the Nord Stream 2 project. Two offshore pipelines under the Baltic See should enhance the supply of natural gas to the European Union’s market. It’s capacity is supposed to be up to 70 billion cubic meters annually.
The project is going to be completed by 2019. The annual aggregate capacity of Nord Stream 2 and Nord Stream will reach 140 billion cubic meters of natural gas. This is exactly how much gas is being now transported to European markets via Poland and Ukraine.

“In practice building of the Nord Stream 2 will let Gazprom to monkey around valves of transit gasolines that run through Poland and Ukraine and halting gas supplies from outside of Russia to the whole CEE” – Andrzej Kublik claims. The deal also makes Germany the main aerial road of gas in Europe and the main UE hub od Gazprom. The officials of the CEE countries are getting more and more concerned about the lack of action of EU institutions. The MEP from Lithuania, Gabrielius Landsbergis, commented after the meeting with the chief of European diplomacy – Federica Mogherini – that this deal excludes the interests of Poland, Lithuania, the Balkans and other countries of CEE.

Information about Nord Stream 2

Russia

A publicist Anne Applebaum considers in her column “Putin i jego zacni przyjaciele” (“Putin and his great frieds”) how Russia is spreading its ideology and political messages nowadays. She mentions World Public Forum “Dialog of Civilizations”, held in Rodos, pointing that such people as Václav Klaus, John Laughland director of Studies at the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation participated in it.

Anne Applebaum claim until now Russia was using agents of influence or useful idiots to advocate Russian interests in the West. But now it changed its way. Applebaum reminds that people like Andrej Babiš, the Czech finance minister, and Miloš Zeman use Russian slogans in their narratives. And that Silvio Berlusconi and Gehard Schröder deals with Russia officially. “Those people are not idiots, nor secret agents, spies or betrayers. But they consequently work in their own ways on undermining the European security and promoting Russian authoritarianism both in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East”.

Let us remember Schröder as a German chancellor signed the agreement on launching Nord Stream project – which now supplies Russian gas directly to Germany, bypassing transit countries. It was two weeks before the German parliamentary election in 2005. Just after Schröder’s party lost the election, he became the head of the shareholders’ committee of Nord Stream AG.

Bulgaria

Anton Pavlov, the deputy Energy Minister of Bulgaria dismissed by the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. As no reason has been cited in a press release, there are lots of speculations over the move. Pavlov has recently been cited in Russian “Izvestiya” daily saying “Bulgaria will demand the extension of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline”. Novinite.com claim it meant Turkish Stream should have a leg linked to Bulgaria-based gas hub.
Turkish Stream is the idea that emerged after abandonning the South Stream project – namely laying a pipeline from Russia to Bulgaria via the Black Sea (more about it). Let us remember, the controversy erupted over this project within the EU in the end of 2014  and Bulgaria finally didn’t issue construction permits.

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Estonia

The Riigikogu (Estonian parliament) passed last week the Acto on Amendments to the Securities Market Act. The bill gives small and medium-sized companies better access to Estonian stock exchange. It reduces the administrative burden of issuers on stock exchange and increases the transparency of the securities market.

Until now, trading on the Estonian bourse and fulfilling the disclosure obligations were more expensive for small undertakings. Now it will change. The Baltic Course reads: “(…) to reduce the administrative burden of issuers, the term form disclosure of the half-yearly report is extended from two months to three months. The repeal of the obligation to disclose the interim management statement and of the relevant sanction will reduce the frequency of mandatory disclosure of financial reports”.

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Lithuania, Czech Republic, Estonia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Romania

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 10.8 per cent in September 2015. It dropped compared with 10.9 per cent in the previous month and 11.5 per cent y/y. “This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since January 2012” – reports the Baltic Course. The whole EU unemployment rate in September 2015 was 9.3 per cent. “This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU since September 2009” – the portal adds.

According to Eurostat, there is 22.631m men and women unemployed in the EU (and of 17.323m of them live in the Eurozone).

A country with the lowest unemployment rate is of course Germany. In September 2015 it was 4.5 per cent. And the results of CEE countries are:

  • Czech Republic: 4.8 per cent
  • Estonia: 5.7 per cent
  • Romania: 6.8 per cent
  • Bulgaria 9.4 per cent
  • Lithuania: 9.5 per cent
  • Slovakia: 11.0 per cent

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Ukraine

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said, after investment talks between Ukraine and US that were held on October 26,  made a statement, which, in particular, a special roadmap for taking steps aimed at attracting private capital will be developed.
“As a result of our consultations, both sides developed a roadmap featuring several short-term, actionable steps that will further increase business confidence and attract private capital. Both sides underscored the urgency of such steps and the importance of actions by both Ukrainian government officials and the Verkhovna Rada to deepen the said reforms” – Interfax reads a joint statement by the officials. Among the plans is completing accession to the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement,” reads the document.

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What’s up in indexes?

On Friday SAX of Bratislava was 1.48 per cent up, and BUX of Budapest was 1.77 per cent down. Warsaw’s index climbed slowly after Thursday’s fall.

BUX (of Budapest) dropped by 1.77 per cent on Friday, October 30th. It fell from 21946.00 index points on Thursday to 2155.44 index points the last day of October’s trading. From year-end it’s up 29.60 index points.

BET (of Bucharest) grew by 0.80 per cent – increasing from Thursday’s 7155.40 index points to Friday’s 7212.73 index points. From year-end it’s up 1.83 per cent.

PX (of Prague) rose by 0.37 per cent ending at 983.13 index points Friday – compared with Thursday’s 979.47 index points. From year-end it’s up 3.85 per cent.

WIG20 (of Warsaw) gained only 0.03 per cent, climbing from 2059.34 index points to 2060.03 index points. From year-end it lost 11.05 per cent.

OMXT (of Tallinn) was up 0.73 per cent with 869.03 index points. The day before it was 862.71 index points. From year-end it’s up 15.10 per cent.

OMXR (of Riga) grew by 1.20 per cent increasing from 590.84 index points Thursday to 597.91 index points Friday. It’s up 46.54 per cent from year-end.

OMXV (of Vilnius) lost 0.17 per cent on Friday – decreasing from the level of 479.42 index points Thursday to 478.59 index points Friday. And from year-end it’s up 5.78 per cent.

SAX (of Bratislava) grew by 1.48 per cent on Friday. It was 288.43 index points while the day before it was 284.21 index points. And from year-end it’s up 29.74 per cent.

SOFIX (of Sofia) was up 0.04 per cent. It climbed 446.75 index points Thursday to 446.91 index points Friday. From year-end it lost 14.40 per cent.

UX (of Kyiv) still falls down. On Friday it lost 0.60 per cent, decreasing to 793.19 index points (from 798. 01 index points Thursday). And from year-end it’s down 23.24 per cent.

CROBEX (of Zagreb Stock Exchange) grew by 0.38 per cent – from 1718.51 index points Thursday to 1725.10 index points Friday. At the beginning of January it was 1740.60 index points.

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