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Energy as a Weapon of War: Russia, Ukraine, and Europe in Challenging Times

by gmoke Mon Dec 19th, 2022 at 04:00:38 AM EST

This Zoom event comes from Energy (and Other) Events Monthly (http://hubevents.blogspot.com) 12/9/22. I attended and am sharing my notes.  

Energy as a Weapon of War: Russia, Ukraine, and Europe in Challenging Times with Margarita M Balmaceda, Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, author of Russian Energy Chains, and an Associate of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute
Constanze Stelzenmüller, Director and Fritz Stern Chair of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution
Moderators:  Elizabeth Wood and Carol Saivetz, both MIT
Video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1DrP8wqqPs
A transcript will be available as well

Frontpaged with minor edit - Frank Schnittger

Margarita Balmaceda:  Energy used not just as a threat but also as a temptation, a subversion by getting people "hooked" on "cheap" natural gas.  For instance, German reliance on Russian natural gas increased after the first invasion of Ukraine by Russia in 2014.
[Editorial Comment:  addiction as a model of late stage capitalism (see Anne Wilson Schaef's work) was not mentioned.]

Industry uses of natural gas as a feedstock for chemicals, steel, glass is often overlooked as we focus on "energy" and it is hardest to replace with renewables.  These companies employ 8 million workers in EU with BASF being the largest user of Russian natural gas.

There are also markets outside the EU with China and India purchasing "discounted" Russian oil.  Without taking into consideration the Global South and their reliance on Russian energy, we will not counter Russia's "energy weapon."

Constanze Steizenmüller:  EU response has been more united than expected.  Germany decoupling from Russian natural gas with speed and throughout the economy, using different energy sources all without reducing industrial output.  Germany, however, was not the European country most dependent on Russian energy as some Eastern European countries were close to 100% reliant on Russian gas and oil.  Popular support has been higher than expected even with higher energy prices, 66-75% support even now.  Other surprises have been the weakness of the Russian military and less support from China than was expected.

Long term:  Will Ukraine be able to hold its territory, will its allies keep supporting it to the extent needed, especially since this war has shown the allies don't have the force and material necessary themselves.
Editorial Comment:  The arsenal, like the proverbial cupboard, is bare?  Or just bare of what is needed for this 21st century conflict?]

Short term:  Biden's climate subsidies have driven a wedge between USAmerica and EU.  EU has gone back to coal and nuclear power, contrary to climate goals.

Greatest possible challenge is if China decides to support Russia fully.  That could have dramatic effects throughout the world.

MB:  Russia does not have the infrastructure to increase exports to China & India, does not have facilities for liquifying natural gas, and cannot easily pivot from Europe to the East.

CS:  We don't know how people will react if it is a COLD winter but the resilience of popular support with higher prices and fuel cuts has been encouraging.  Not worried about this winter.  Worried about a longtime deliberate disruption across many fronts - including things like the German coup attempt.
[Editorial Comment:  COVID was not mentioned nor was climate as disruption.]

Elizabeth Wood:  How is Ukraine going to cope and how is Russian industry dealing?

MB:  Ukraine is preparing 2000 "warming centers" for this winter.  The only pipeline still flowing to Europe is the one through Ukraine.  
[Editorial Comment:  According to one questioner, there is another pipeline running to Turkey.  In addition, one of the long-time points of disagreement between Russia and Ukraine is the pipeline system, with the Russians accusing the Ukrainians of stealing from it (which may very well be warranted).]

CS:  China can't be happy with Russia showing such military weakness. Germany is wooing non-Western "swing states" like India and others, in some cases, in competition with China's Belt and Road Initiative.

MB:  Russia can not be happy relying so much on China, economically and diplomatically.  Russia has been affected by the export bans on technology, especially in energy production.  Putin has drawn soldiers from non-Russian ethnics to avoid stressing Moscow, St Petersburg.
[Editorial Comment:  this is ethnic conflict on a variety of different levels.  The level of "racism" and prejudice is ramping up, around the world, it seems.]

Through the written q&a, the moderator, who tacked on her own question about rebuilding Ukraine back "better," asked about the explicit use of energy efficiency/energy conservation as a weapon in this carbon and climate war.  The speakers addressed the moderator's question more than mine which leads me to believe that the speakers have not thought as deeply as I'd like about how many edges the energy weapon actually has.

CS:  Could be "mired" in fossil fuels by this war, not reach the "ambitious" climate goals, and she believes we are stringing out the military conflict which makes both of these more probable while also losing the younger, more climate-concerned  generation.  "This war will not be over any time soon"  but it may not be in our best interests for the war to continue.

MB:  Ukraine's ability to get away from fossil fuels will not be easy and require a lot of funding.  Estimated $16 billion to move Ukraine away from fossil fuels before the war but it will now be much more expensive.  The Just Transition Model from the G7 pre-war is a blueprint for how to move Ukraine away from coal.  Ukraine will need to rethink its place in the global economy.
CS:  We may be looking at both a Ukrainian failed state and a collapsing Russian state at the same time.  This has grave consequences for EU and the world.  A rebuilt, renovated Ukraine would be positive and could be an example for a new Russia.

MB:  Whether Ukraine wins or loses, the rot in Russia is troubling for the rest of the world.  Ukraine, if supported, may win sooner rather than later.

CS:  The war crimes of Russia far outweigh those committed by Ukraine.  Russia must pay for this and we should not be afraid of escalation as  "we already have a war with a global impact."  Not supporting Ukraine to the end would be catastrophic.

From another questioner in the q&a:
https:/shapethesciences.org are rebuilding Ukraine. Education is our tool, sustainable development our template.... https:/1drv.ms/w/s!AgAEn1pbwhx7kNhgSWHlNqI2qh1Bfw?e=SXb5NJ
Please connect with us at bohdan@shapethesciences.org

More about energy as a weapon of war?
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Votes: 0
Results | Other Polls
A drunken men's brain picking @ the Atlantic Council? Living in fracking fuel comfort some 8,000 km from the war front. A pronounced meeting of MAGA minds coming to little or nothing. The US going it alone on renewables and sustainability in the energy market. Bashing German industry and putting European competition behind.

Missing critical thinking and the tough questions ... all consuming all is going well, NATO is united, when will we win the war.

German industrial output was effected not for lack of natural gas, but the extreme higher cost of energy. Super profits going into the pockets of fossil fuel corporations.

Across Europe there is extreme energy poverty and high inflation which will have a negative impact on households for a decade.

Hunger will effect developing nations and countries such as India. Survival is based on low energy prices. The West has abandoned the Third World due to America's needless wars. #StopNato

The energy challenge will come as the gas storage capacity is depleted in one cold winter. A recession may be a blessing in disguise.

As I have written, the war in Ukraine is a definite split of Western Europe with the Russian Federation and its European culture west of the Urals. After the defeat in Afghanistan, the US lost influence in. Central Asia and beyond.

US & EU could bring carbon tariffs to WTO to address climate change | 4 Nov. 2021 |

The world can harness trade to save the planet | Reuters - 22 Nov. 2022 |

The snag is that, while 46 countries have put a price on carbon, the average price is only $6 per tonne. Of the major economies, only the European Union and United Kingdom are pricing carbon at or above $75 a tonne. This puts their industries at a competitive disadvantage. If these countries end up importing cheaper, more carbon-intensive products from abroad - something known as "carbon leakage" - the planet could still suffer.

New EU carbon tariff draws interest on Capitol Hill | 14 Dec. 2022 |

The Inflation Reduction Act, for example, contains generous subsidies for domestic renewable energy and electric vehicles, as well as requirements that materials for those industries must be sourced in the United States or with certain trading partners.
Already, that's causing tension with European officials, who see the law as protectionist.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 19th, 2022 at 07:23:56 AM EST

The "Guns vs. Butter" debate

The naval race between Britain and Germany occurred against a backdrop of social and labor unrest, domestic conflicts of financial and budgetary constraints, and the "guns (navalists) vs. butter (economists)" bitter debate. The navalists supported "big Navy" policy and expanded expenditure while the economists favored more money for social and welfare programs and maintaining the peace.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 19th, 2022 at 10:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU's Cross Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) may be something of a counterweight to USAmerica's Inflation Reduction Act subsidies for USAmerican renewables.  Or not.

I haven't looked at the CBAM or the subsidies closely enough to determine.  Yet.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Mon Dec 19th, 2022 at 07:29:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
H.R.5376 - Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (2022);
Applicability of Buy American Act With Respect to European Community (1993), alt citation;
41 U.S. Code Chapter 83 - BUY AMERICAN (1933)

I've read 'em. Evidently, the current cohort of the College of Commissioners have not, thereby contradicting present affectations of outraged international rules and norms, restraint of trade, pillars of freedom, "level fields" of "protectionism" and competition, and honor among thieves.

by Cat on Mon Dec 19th, 2022 at 09:17:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly ... f*ck the EU ... f*ck the WTO ... it's MAGA all the way!

Biden's 'Multilateralism' Amounts To AmericaFirst!! | March 25, 2021 |

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Dec 19th, 2022 at 09:45:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From your archived post ...

Renewable Energy Directive (RED, RED II)
2020 framework targets

Renewable energy directive from 2009 (2009/28/EC) was supporting on overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU. It predicted at least 20 % of EU's total energy to be filled with renewables by 2020, mainly to be achieved through the national targets of the member states. All EU countries must also ensure that at least 10 % of their transport fuels come from renewables by 2020.

[🔴 No longer in force, Date of end of validity: 30/06/2021; Repealed by 32018L2001 . Latest consolidated version: 05/10/2015]

Lost me quite easily ... Brussels myriad of bureaucracy.

5 Key Updates to the Renewable Energy Directive II (REDII) | Aug. 2021 |

In July 2021, the European Commission (EC) unveiled its proposal for the Fit for 55 legislative package. This package aims to set Europe on course to become the first carbon neutral continent by 2050. Fit for 55 is an extensive set of new strategies and updates to existing energy and climate legislation.

Fit for 55 Package | PWC publication |

The EU aims to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and reach climate neutrality by 2050.

On 14 July 2021, the European Commission presented the Fit for 55 Package with proposals aiming to deliver the 2030 CO2 reduction target and to pave the way to become the world's first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

The Fit for 55 Package is an impressive 12,000 page legislative proposal effectively codifying the principles laid down in the EU Climate Law.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Tue Dec 20th, 2022 at 01:01:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LQD 12:45 - 18. dec. 2009 v.2
Turfin' Todd Stern seminal REDD primary and secodary carbon credit trading substitute for absolute GHG emissions reduction and "reparations" paid by "developed countries" to "developting countries".

History of REDD policy

...REDD is the idea of creating an international framework to halt deforestation. ...
clima.md | How Climate-Change Negotiator Todd Stern Mastered His Diplomatic Skill
a syllabus
Copenhagen global warming talks suspended over rich-poor
"Inside, the key bone of contention is over whether to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, under which most industrial nations promised to curb their greenhouse gas emissions, with a more robust agreement that would also include emissions reduction targets for poorer nations."
Mr. Stern: The U.S. has been clear sort of forever on this issue. We're not going to agree to a weakening of intellectual property rights and we actually think if there was a single thing you could do that would be most wrong-headed in this world it would be to do that and it would be wrong-headed for China, India and everybody else who more and more are becoming innovators....
US chief climate negotiator Todd Stern:
"I actually completely reject the notion of a debt or reparations or anything of the like...Let's just be mindful of the fact [that] for most of the 200 years since the Industrial Revolution, people were blissfully ignorant of the fact that emissions cause the greenhouse effect. It's a relatively recent phenomenon. It's the wrong way to look at this. We absolutely recognise our historical role in putting emissions in the atmosphere that are there now. But the sense of guilt or culpability or reparations, I categorically reject that."
G7 value system
Mitch Rutte: "For a long time, I didn't think it was possible to take responsibility in a meaningful way for something that was so long ago and that none of us were part of." So.
Accept this apology in lieu of $100B p.a. to repair 400 years of loss and damages
"Today I apologize," Rutte said in a 20-minute speech that was greeted with silence by an invited audience at the National Archive. Ahead of the speech, Waldo Koendjbiharie, a retiree who was born in Suriname but lived for years in the Netherlands, said an apology was not enough.

"It's about money. Apologies are words and with those words you can't buy anything," he said.

Are ["]We["] Using the Right Date Range for ["]Pre-Industrial["] Climate Records?
by Cat on Tue Dec 20th, 2022 at 06:32:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EC is PROBING a path through US tax credits and sales rebates combined with "market correction mechanisms" [read: punitive trade sanctions against third-countries] to secure "carbon-neutral" industrial "ecosystem" exports and profits, while reversing European FDI in US, where fuel, regulation, and labor are cheap.

euractiv | Germany and France seek to match US green industry subsidies, 19 Dec

The subsidies [sic], which are part of the American Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), have raised concern amongst EU institutions which fear that the policy could incentivise [read: reward] European companies to relocate to the US.
In a paper published on Monday, the two ministers for economic affairs of France and Germany, Bruno Le Maire and Robert Habeck, laid out their vision for maintaining the EU's attractiveness for industry.

"Our common ambition is clear: to have the EU gain indisputable leadership on green industry," Le Maire said in a statement. "Our industrial policy should not only help to deliver innovation and jobs but also to preserve our independence."

To that end, France and Germany aim at a change of the EU's state aid rules, which at present limit [not really] EU member states' capacity to subsidise companies, with the aim of preventing distortions in the EU single market.

enc: "For a European Green Industrial Policy"
President Biden's recent statements offering a perspective to make the IRA compatible with the European interests is a welcome first step. We can benefit from each other's strengths and jointly contribute to a new era of green manufacturing on both sides of the Atlantic. Under the leadership of the European Commission, we will work closely with our American partners to operationalize such a proposal along the following lines:
• The exceptions made in the IRA for countries with a free trade cooperati should cover partners and allies like the European Union.
• For tax credits conditional on US local content: use exception clauses to waive local content criteria so that European products [sic] are eligible for tax credits in the same way as American products [sic].
• Ensure mutual ex-post transparency on a regular basis on public support for transformation technologies.
We propose to allow experimenting targeted subsidies and tax credits using fast-track and predictable umbrella schemes for key industrial sectors. They would rely more on ex-ante criteria in a clear and targeted framework and on the notification of general national support schemes. To put these schemes into action, we will mobilise all relevant national and European tools and instruments.
emphasis in original

NB. In IRA, a tax credit rewards taxpayers by deduction of a specific amount spent on covered good and service from taxable income; a rebate is partial refund of wholesale price redeemed by an authorized seller (not a retail buyer) dependent on sale of a covered good; a grant, gift or subsidy, is a sum of money awarded to anyone by a grantor. Unlike loans to commercial and residential borrowers, which gov appropriations fund, grants are not repaid. I remind, because it's not obvious what US "subsidies" Le Maire and Habeck expect either to duplicate or litigate. Nor is it obvious how  statutory US subsidies derogate EU "products", except for that dust up a month ago when Congress disagreed the extent to which the Jones Act applied to offshore wind projects crewed by foreign labor.

by Cat on Tue Dec 20th, 2022 at 10:54:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
euractiv | EU welcomes correction to US green subsidies act, 30 Dec low expectations
"EU companies that provide their customers through leases [?] with cutting-edge clean vehicles can benefit from the incentives under the IRA," the Commission said. Companies will "immediately benefit from the new guidance," the statement added. But a separate segment of the act involving clean vehicle credits continues to contain "discriminatory provisions," the EU Commission said. In documents published Thursday [29 Dec]
Treasury Releases Additional Information on Clean Vehicle Provisions of Inflation Reduction Act
  • FAQs for consumers
  • A notice on the "incremental cost"
  • A notice of intent to propose regulations
the Treasury Department outlined electric vehicle models that could qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 starting 1 January.
• Audi of America, LLC
• Ford Motor Company (including Ford and Lincoln brands)
• General Motors, LLC
• Kia America Inc.
• Mazda Motor of America Inc.
• Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
• Nissan North America
Proterra Operating Company Inc.
Rivian Automotive, LLC
• Stellantis N.V. (including Chrysler and Jeep brands)
• Subaru of America Inc.
• Tesla Inc.
• Volkswagen Group of America
• Volvo Car North America, LLC
Officials laid out how parties can comply with requirements on critical minerals [raw goods] and battery components [intermediate and finished goods], although saying the final rules would only come into play in March.
In a white paper also released Thursday, Treasury officials signaled that more countries producing [intermediate and finished goods containing] critical minerals could be considered eligible suppliers under the rules.
Critical mineral requirement
Once applicable, the critical mineral requirement will be met if the percentage of the value of the critical minerals in the vehicle's battery that were extracted or processed in the United States, or in any country with which the United States has a free trade agreement ["not defined in the Inflation Reduction Act (or in any other statute)"] in effect, or recycled in North America, is equal to or greater than 40 percent for a vehicle that is placed in service in 2023 after the date on which Treasury and the IRS issue proposed guidance. This required percentage increases annually to 50 percent in 2024, 60 percent in 2025, 70 percent in 2026, and 80 percent after 2026.

Identifying the activities that constitute the extraction, processing, and recycling of critical minerals and where those activities occur will be vital to certifying compliance with the critical mineral requirement. Our current intention is to propose defining some of the key terms relevant to such identification as follows ...

"Treasury and the IRS expect to propose that the secretary may identify additional free trade agreements for purposes of the critical minerals requirement going forward," the document said.
good luck wit dat.
by Cat on Fri Dec 30th, 2022 at 07:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politico.eu.com | Brussels incensed as US spurns global trade rules (yet again), 23 Dec really?
"The USA's reaction of simply rejecting the ruling is incomprehensible," said Bernd Lange, who chairs the European Parliament's international trade committee. "We have to have an honest discussion with the U.S. if they are moving away from a rules-based trading system, and if and how we can rescue the existing system," said Lange, of the center-left Socialists & Democrats [Price Cap Coalition]. Washington also slapped similar tariffs on EU producers, but the two sides struck a partial truce back in 2021.
For the Europeans, Tai's comments add insult to years of injury. Tai -- who represents the country that single-handedly tore down the WTO's Appellate Body in 2019 under TRUMP and has refused to restore it ever since -- said that the ruling "really challenges the integrity of the system."
Brussels had hoped that Washington's bullying of the WTO would come to an end when President Joe BIDEN, a Democrat, stepped into the White House in January last year. But that didn't happen: The Biden administration also questions the relevance of the multilateral trade forum because of its ["]systemic rivalry["] with China, which is also a WTO member.
by Cat on Fri Dec 23rd, 2022 at 06:22:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no "embargo". no "renewable" factors of production. no COP27 reparations.
ec.europa.eu | Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism Receipts: Questions and Answers
To complement the ETS, the CBAM will be based on a system of certificates to cover price formula added to the ["]embedded emissions["] in products being subsequently imported into the EU. The CBAM departs from the ETS in some limited areas, however, in particular since it is not a 'cap and trade' system. Instead, the CBAM
collectes a levy on "third-country" goods at EU27 ports.
taxfoundation.org.us | Carbon Taxes in the Global Market: Changes on the Way?, 27 June
First, the original European Commission proposal did not include export[?!] rebates for EU industry, making CBAM simply a border tariff [read: customs duty]. The Council's general approach did not make a judgment on the rebates, while the Parliament's version adds export rebates for [EU27 "carbon-intensive"] sectors dependent on exports
of cement, iron ore, steel, aluminium, fertilisers, electricity [LOL] from third-countries
Second, the Parliament's version expands the sectors covered by CBAM vis-a-vis the Commission's proposal and includes a timeline to add other sectors in the future. If adopted, the expanded scope could significantly impact producers in third countries that [export "critical" raw materials to G7 manufacturers but] do not have a carbon tax, such as producers in the United States that export to the EU.  
While the EU negotiates its own law to prevent [figurative] carbon leakage, it may have succeeded in another, potentially equally important objective abroad. The Council[of the EU]'s approach to CBAM emphasized "encouraging partner countries to establish [identical] carbon pricing policies to fight climate change [sic]." In other words, by merely proposing CBAM as a price on U.S. [ex]ports, the EU tried to force U.S. policymakers to the climate [sic] negotiating table. Signs indicate the approach is starting to work
with the Price Cap Coalition's special oil, natural gas, coal, and LNG bid-rigging operations
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced a bill in early June called the "Clean Competition Act," aimed at taxing the carbon content of imports into the United States. Unlike several other proposals in the U.S., Whitehouse's bill would actually constitute a ["]partial border["] adjustment, rather than just a border tariff—an important distinction.
< wipes tears >
by Cat on Wed Dec 21st, 2022 at 03:33:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Cat on Wed Dec 21st, 2022 at 03:42:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

World Bank (2020): "the resource-rich countries that host these strategic minerals"

UNCTAD 15 (2022): "commodity dependence by export product" of resource-rich countries

but not the planet's biggest NIMBY

by Cat on Wed Dec 21st, 2022 at 09:29:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great timing Joe and Olaf to start a war in Ukraine ... only shale deposits of fossil fuel and an industrial capacity now destroyed. Where is the benefit Joe ... or was it a personal feud with Vlad? Just like Assad, he is still around, so are the Mullahs of Iran.

Materials That Matter | ORF - April 28. 2022 |

Advanced technology will have profound effects on the global economy and chart a way for inclusive and sustainable growth. While digital technologies--ranging from artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and cloud computing to the Internet of Things (IoT)--are at the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), it is electric vehicles, solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage that drive the green energy transition and power the low carbon economy of the future.

Reflecting differing state priorities and industrial needs, the European Union (EU) designates 30 elements as "critical and raw materials"; its Japanese counterpart identifies 34 "rare materials"; and the US lists 35 "critical materials" as strategic for its national interest, but only half of the entries are identical on all three lists. Cobalt, copper, nickel, lithium, and rare earth elements--notably neodymium and dysprosium--are commonly cited as critical to a low-carbon future due to their use in electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. Integral to the production of information and communication technology (ICT), robotics, drones, and 3D printing, rare earths--magnesium, niobium, germanium, borates, and scandium--exhibit the highest supply risk of critical materials in the EU's digital transformation.

What drives the increase in demand for critical materials are a mix of international agreements between states to fight climate change--such as the Paris Climate Accords, the UN Sustainable Development Goals--and national economy, sustainability, and industrial development plans. Germany's Industry 4.0 strategy future-proofs its mighty industrial and engineering sectors; and India's ambitions to electrify significant numbers of private and commercial vehicles by 2030 exemplify key drivers behind the steep upward trend in demand due to the anticipated rapid deployment of advanced clean energy and digital technologies.  

Overly reliant on sources from the "jungle"...

Only two CRMs are sourced from within the EU-27 plus UK.

France - Hafnium 49%
Spain - Strontium 31%

China lists 19 CRMs ... so don't mind antagonizing Xi over human rights provocations Washington DC sourced, Hong Kong and the Taiwan issue.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Dec 21st, 2022 at 10:44:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politico.eu.com | EU to launch Global Gateway projects, challenging China's Belt and Road, 20 Dec
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called at a recent meeting to bring visibility to the scheme, which aims at mobilizing up to €300 billion in public and private funds by 2027 to finance EU infrastructure projects abroad.
"We suffer from a lack of visibility and recognition," she added. "We remain very fragmented between various Team Europe operators, and we still shy away from delivering visible hard infrastructure projects." Citing a survey, von der Leyen said: "When asked in 2020 which partner had the most positive influence on their countries, only 10 percent of Africans mentioned the EU. 47 percent said China."
"Precisely the idea of now choosing a number of Global Gateway projects that we can put in the shopping window is to show how to a certain extent, it's also different ... Quantity matters, but quality matters as well," [EC dir-gen Koen Doens] said
Making strategic investments, on the other hand, involves identifying Europe's needs, involving the private sector ["debt-for-climate swaps"] and a mindset to actively compete with other powers like China. That required a shift, Doens said, "not just in Brussels, but also in the other capitals of Team Europe."
by Cat on Wed Dec 21st, 2022 at 10:40:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
African diplomats can't open bank accounts in Brussels -- and Qatar scandal could make things tougher, 22 Dec because® EU employees' cash-packed suitecases in closets
The OACPS has demanded responses from banks, the Belgian government and the European External Action Service [EEAS] since 2021 but struggled with buck-passing between the institutions, third-country diplomats[,] and Belgian officials told POLITICO. Embassies of countries including Cameroon, Mozambique, Djibouti, Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Kenya, the Central African Republic[,] and Cabo Verde have been affected, according to a partial list seen by POLITICO.
The crux of the matter is a 2015 EU directive against money laundering and financing terrorism that Belgium has passed into law
by Cat on Fri Dec 23rd, 2022 at 06:34:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article doesn't provide detail as to the issues that led to closing of accounts of diplomatic missions and/or staff. However, I have noted that over the past twenty years, any money transfers I have received from outside the EU have required ever-greater levels of documentation to justify their origins. It certainly feels intrusive, but hasn't been problematic for me.

I would imagine, naively perhaps, that funds sent from government agencies to diplomatic missions' accounts, and government salaries paid into staff accounts, wouldn't cause any problems. If the funds are coming from other sources, they need to be sufficiently documented. I'm not sure that the EU should be granting exemptions.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Dec 28th, 2022 at 04:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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