Antagonizing Russia, Europe's largest partner in supply of fossil fuels .. building an economic partnership of decades as part of East- and West-Germany's reunification.
EU seeks urgent solution amid record-high inflation and a Russian gas squeeze | DW News |
The first day of the summit in Brussels ended with the leaders agreeing to grant Ukraine and Moldova official status as candidates for EU membership -- a move hailed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as "historic."
But the display of support for Kyiv comes amid wider economic consequences of Russia's war on Ukraine.
A spike in inflation and lagging economic growth across the world has been blamed on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The West also accuses Moscow of "weaponizing" grain supplies and natural gas deliveries.
Diversifying energy sources
European Commission President Von der Leyen said the EU must work on "diversifying supplies with partners," not only through finding different exporters, but also moving toward more environmentally friendly energy sources.
"There will be no return to cheap fossil fuel," she said. "We must get rid of our dependence on fossil fuel."
Von der Leyen said gas supply cuts from Russia affected a dozen EU countries. Germany, which is heavily reliant on Russian gas, triggered the second phase of an emergency gas plan.
Germany running into gas supply issues is likely to have EU-wide repercussions, Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo warned ahead of Friday's meeting.
"If Germany gets into trouble, it will also have an enormous impact on all other European countries, including our own," he said.
Industries may have to shut down amid gas shortage
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said later on Friday that Berlin and the EU are prepared for a possible interruption of Russian gas supplies, adding that actions have been taken to find alternative sources for energy imports.
A meeting between President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is now expected to happen next month.
Biden coup buoys Saudi crown prince after five years at helm
IISS Manama Dialogue: US Defence Policy in the Middle-East - moderator John Chipman
Under the Biden administration, U.S. defense officials have prioritized deterring Iran and its myriad proxies. Iran's activities are "the biggest threat to stability in the Middle East," General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, the head of U.S. Central Command, said in June 2021. At the same time, U.S. military leaders have backed diplomacy to return Iran and the United States to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.
Could Germany start fracking?
Around 5% of Germany's natural gas requirements are produced domestically by drilling in sandstone deposits. According to the German Federal Association of Natural Gas, Petroleum and Geoenergy (BVEG), there are currently still secured reserves of 32 billion cubic meters, the equivalent of about 320 TWh of energy.
The German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources estimates that about 450 billion cubic meters (4500 TWh) of natural gas are held in coal seams and another 2,300 billion cubic meters (23,000 TWh) in shale rock. Extraction would only be possible through fracking.
But the process is banned in Germany on the basis that the chemicals used in fracking pollute the environment and groundwater. And even if the ban were lifted, German fracked gas would still not be available this winter -- or even next.
Global resources shale rock deposits and fracking hellish for the environment
Talk of oil shale's future makes environmentalists cringe. Shale mining in Estonia is water-intensive and pollutes underground water tables, while burning the rock for power produces loads of carbon dioxide, sulfur, and ash--even more than coal.
What is the role of shale as a source of oil and gas resources in the United States?
"The United States has access to significant shale natural gas resources. In the U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves Year-End 2017 report (Nov. 2018, Table 4), the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the United States has about 308 trillion cubic feet of proved shale gas resource. In the World Shale Resource Assessments report (Sept. 2015), the U.S. is estimated to have nearly 623 trillion cubic feet of additional unproved technically recoverable shale gas resources."
Estonia eager to teach world about oil shale
It is wise to get shale fuels out before sea level rise due to environmental impact on the planet. The fossil fuel lobby is winning the (Ukraine) war in Washington DC.
Preparation for war with Russia took hold at the G7 in Wales
Brexit showdown: Boris to confront Macron, Merkel and VDL as row boils over at G7 summit
After G-7, Biden Says He's Reestablishing US Credibility | NBC News |
Biden fought for the leaders' joint statement to include specific language criticizing China's use of forced labor and other human rights abuses
By Jonathan Lemire, Aamer Madhani and Zeke Miller * Published June 13, 2021 *
Biden also fought for the leaders' joint statement to include specific language criticizing China's use of forced labor and other human rights abuses as he worked to cast the rivalry with Beijing as the defining competition for the 21st century.
The president declined to discuss the private negotiations over the provision, but said he was "satisfied" with the tough rhetoric, though difference remained among the allies about how forcefully to call out Beijing.
The other G-7 allies did their part in creating the impression that Biden was part of "the Club" and sought to help reinforce Biden's "America is back" mantra, including by embracing the his campaign slogan to "Build Back Better" from the pandemic.
Most European allies had been disenchanted with President Donald Trump's grumbling of "global freeloaders" and espousing an "America First" policy, so Biden had the challenge of convincing a skeptical audience that the last U.S. administration was not a harbinger of a more insular country.
"We're totally on the same page," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of Biden.
The 43-year-old Macron, who came into office in May 2017, months after Biden's two terms as the U.S. vice president ended, appeared to have quick chemistry with the 78-year-old American. The two draped their arms around each other and chatted animatedly when they walked together after the leaders' photo at the beginning of Friday's summit.
In remarks to reporters, Macron did not utter Trump's name but offered an unambiguous shot at the former president. Macron noted his his relief that with Biden, he was now working with an American president "willing to cooperate."
"What you demonstrate is leadership is partnership," Macron said of Biden.
During Trump's term, Macron tried to find common ground but often bristled at Trump's nativist rhetoric.
Macron, who has worked to portray France as a more prominent power in recent years, also used the rise of Trumpism to make the case for greater global European leadership.
He complained in November 2019 that a lack of U.S. leadership was causing the "brain death" of NATO, insisting in an interview with the Economist that the European Union must step up and start acting as a strategic world power. Biden, in his remarks, seemed to acknowledge Macron's concerns, noting that Western Europe was providing "backbone and the support for NATO."
During the summit, Biden also met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
At the news conference, Biden briefly confused Syria and Libya when he described the importance of providing humanitarian aid to countries torn apart by civil war. It was among a handful of verbal stumbles the president made.
Germany Angela Merkel seals compromise Nord Stream 2 pipeline Russia gas
Biden knew Germany would elect a new chancellor and this commitment would be scrapped afterwards. Condition was to avoid pacification of Russian aggression ...
Biden and Merkel warn Russia cannot use Nord Stream gas pipeline as weapon against Ukraine | CNBC |
PUBLISHED THU, JUL 15 2021
- President Joe Biden and Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear that they will not allow Russia to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a weapon against Ukraine.
- Nord Stream 2, an $11 billion pipeline that will run directly to Germany from Russia, has long been a source of tension between Washington and Berlin.
- Merkel supported the pipeline, but emphasized that Nord Stream would not replace Ukraine's transit pipelines for natural gas.
The president waived sanctions against Swiss-based company Nord Stream 2 AG, which is running the pipeline project, and its German CEO in May. Nord Stream 2 AG is owned by the Russian state energy company Gazprom.
Aukus submarine pact
September 20, 2021
Why the Aukus submarine pact caused a falling-out with France | NBC News |
Australia announced a nuclear-powered submarine deal with the US and UK, abandoning an agreement previously brokered with France. Here is what you need to know.
Australia has scrapped its $90bn (56bn) submarine deal with France and entered a new pact with the US and the UK to procure nuclear-powered submarines. The submarines will be built in Adelaide, making Australia the seventh country in the world to have submarines propelled by nuclear reactors.
The announcement came on Thursday from the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a virtual address with US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The military alliance between the three countries, knowns as Aukus, has been forged to counter the emerging threat of China.
The countries will share technologies and will see the build of at least eight submarines.
Biden one by one cancelling opposition nations that can cause problems ... "you are either with us, or with the enemy forces"? He knows he got all former Soviet bloc countries in his pocket, save Hungary. The Netherlands with Mark Rutte is a libertarian pro-Atlanticist and friend of UK's Boris Johnson. Spain has always backed NATO and American foreign policy.
As the economy got headwind after the Covid-19 crisis and the energy prices were rising after the Summer, the White House, the NSC and the military of the Pentagon made their move on Zelensky of Ukraine and were prepared to confront the Kremlin. No negotiations or compromis was in the cards ... Russia needed to relinquish the Donbas and Crimea, territory occupied since 2014.
Faltering fightback: Zelensky's piecemeal campaign against Ukraine's oligarchs | ECFR - July 6, 2021 |
This year's moves against Medvedchuk can be explained by national security expediency and by the standing of Zelensky's party in the opinion polls. The ambiguous moves against Kolomoisky can be explained by the urgent need to build bridges with Washington. At the same time, the threat from Russia forced Ukraine to seek help from the US, which increased Washington's leverage on reform.
Critics of Zelensky, particularly those from the opposition European Solidarity party, contend that the president is motivated by nothing but opinion polls. Worse, they claim, he is acting entirely as was predicted in 2019: as an actor-president obsessed with, and only competent at, managing his media image. According to political analyst and opposition MP Rostyslav Pavlenko, "it seems that Zelensky and his entourage are running a television show, which has its episodes and series. If they see their ratings go down, they invent a new plot, new characters, new heroes and enemies."
Other observers think the president is still finding his feet, and learning the hard way how to balance domestic and international pressures. Political analyst Oleksiy Haran says that "what's happening with Zelensky right now is what we said needed to happen in 2019. His moderate rhetoric is OK. But he's become more assertive with Russia. He relies more on Ukrainian patriots. Zelensky has taken steps, but there are more to take." The fightback really could mark the start of a new fourth - reformist - phase in Zelensky's tenure. But, with every step forward, there will likely still be steps back. "We don't know how stable this trend is. We haven't seen too many results. And there are people around him like Yermak who have been prepared to deal with Russia's proxies in the Donbas."
Protests against Andriy Yermak took place all over Ukraine | May 29, 2020 |
From the diaries ...
Merkel Defends Her Legacy and Russia Policy
See follow-up diary …
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