"The EU should review its perception of what Russian outward-looking economic policies stand for," argues Maria Ordzhonikidze, secretary-general of the EU-Russia Centre.
Historically, Russia's gas monopoly has always been in "perpetual conflict with [European] transit countries for its commodities," the author states. However, she laments that the EU seems yet again "to have been unprepared for what was a predictable sequel to an old conflict". READ MORE
Will the Atomic Multi-Vector Course of Ukraine Influence the International Uranium Enrichment Centre?
After much thought Ukraine has finally decided to join the International Uranium Enrichment Centre (IUEC), established in 2007 by Russia and Kazakhstan on the basis of the Angarsk Electrolytic Chemical Combine in Irkutsk region. On February 9th Vladimir Putin authorized Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to exchange notes between Governments of the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on the participation of Ukraine within the IUEC. For Russia this is a start of an important project that promotes its regional and international significance within energy sphere, as the IUEC should assure dual objective: to strengthen the regime of nuclear weapon nonproliferation and to guarantee the availability of the “peaceful” nuclear fuel cycle to the consuming countries. The success of this project mainly depends on the ability of its participants to combine their interest in harmony and proportion. READ MORE
A low-key tug of war is developing between the EU and Russia as both sides battle for the long-term allegiances of Eastern European states, according to the president of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.
Central and Eastern European/South Eastern European (CEE/SEE) countries are a major trading and financial partner for the euro zone. The annual surplus in the balance of payments with eurozone countries is estimated at €60 billion. READ MORE
In the last decade, developing good relations with Kazakhstan has become an ever more important priority for the European Union — driven by Kazakhstan's growth as an energy supplier and the country's rising profile on the international scene. At the same time, Europe has become increasingly significant for Kazakhstan as a leading economic partner and a source of inspiration in terms of providing potential models for the economic, social and political modernization of the country that is advocated by President Nazarbaev. READ MORE
After the visits of the Czech Republic Prime Minister and the EU Chairman to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, Mirek Topolanek can positively state during the oncoming EU sessions, that these three countries won’t refuse of participation in the “Nabucco” project. READ MORE
Continuing state interference and an unfriendly business climate continue to deter potential investors, NBCentral Asia commentators say.
In late January, the state property committee announced a tender to sell shares in two hotels in the capital Tashkent, the Grand Mir and the Dedeman Silk Road Tashkent, valued at 7.8 and 11.3 million US dollars, respectively. READ MORE
“Yegemen Kazakhstan” newspaper writes in its front page article “Collective Security Treaty Proved Its Viability”: “Four issues were reviewed during an extended Session of the Leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization member-states in Moscow last week. The first issue referred to the establishment of Collective Rapid Reaction Force …” READ MORE
At a meeting of the European Union's General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on May 26 of last year, Poland, seconded by Sweden, first proposed what has come to be known as the Eastern Partnership, a program to 'integrate' all the European and South Caucasus former Soviet nations - except for Russia - not already in the EU and NATO; that is, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. READ MORE
Norway will contribute to providing energy security for Europe also in the future. However, we cannot escape the fact that currently there are challenges tied to this statement. This is not least due to the low oil price, high cost levels and the need for technical innovations in the context of a decline scenario.
2008 is the year when oil prices spiked then collapsed, and the world went into recession. What awaits us in 2009? Today, I will say it is a very unpredictable year. But this can to some extent be compensated through careful planning and actions from governments and industry – both separately and combined. READ MORE
56 participating states of OSCE agreed on February 12 to extend presence of 20 unarmed monitors in the areas adjacent to breakaway South Ossetia until June 30.
OSCE decided on August 19 to "immediately" deploy 20 of its observers in the adjacent areas for the period of at least six months. READ MORE
"There are many urgent problems that demand our attention. They are captured in the rather ambitious title of our session: NATO, Russia, Oil and Gas and the Middle East: the future of European security. That is rather a lot to cover in a short intervention. Let me first focus on the last element: European security as such". READ MORE
The American vice president starts to outline Barack Obama's new foreign policy in Munich.
The new foreign policy of the United States under President Barack Obama is characterized by the willingness to enter into dialog on the one hand and a consistent call for international cooperation on the other hand. While Biden repeatedly stressed the willingness of the new Administration in Washington to enter into dialog, he warned Iran quite bluntly against continuing with its nuclear course. READ MORE
Just recently many European mass media presented Kazakh program “The way to Europe”, developed in accordance with the Letter of Kazakhstan President “Improvement of the well-being of Kazakhstan people – is the main objective of the state policy”. In respect with the Concept of the Republic of Kazakhstan foreign policy, the development of comprehensive cooperation with European countries is a strategic interest of Kazakhstan. We intend to integrate into the process of European cooperation and development, to use to the maximum the potential of technologic, energy, trade and transport cooperation. READ MORE
How does the dialogue between the EU and Central Asia progress on environment and water issues? Is the EU happy with the progress of the process so far, what has been achieved, what else needs to be done, are all Central Asian countries equally cooperative?
Energy issues are one of the main subjects of the discussion within plenary session of the European Parliament set on February 2nd in Strasburg. Parliament members focused on general problems of the EU energy policy and the outcomes of gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Speaking to the session, EC Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs stated: “The agreement between Ukraine and Russia was concluded for 10 years and we can expect that it would guarantee prevention of the kind of situations in future. But still I’d like to underline that EU observers remain on the positions to monitor gas supplies”. READ MORE
Latest achievements of Russian within Central Asia are so significant, that should be widely discussed. This has been the greatest absurdity of Russian diplomacy since its assistance to American colleagues to change the political regime in Georgia, leading Mihail Saakashvili. Just in a month Russia lost its positions in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan that had been gained in recent years due to support, including financial support of these regimes. Instead, Moscow has gained ephemeral victory in Kirgizia in the issue of American military base withdrawal. Thus total Russian influence will remain only in the poorest Central Asian Republic, despite the Kremlin had other plans. Of course, there is Kazakhstan left and the relations in this sphere are firm – but this is not a merit of Russian policymakers, but of the president Nursultan Nazarbaev, who has developed and followed strict international policy course. READ MORE
Drawing on lessons from the recent gas supply crisis, the Industry Committee set out wide-ranging recommendations for the EU's future energy policy in an own-initiative report . It advocated emergency action plans, more grid interconnections among Member States and new climate targets to be achieved by 2050, including raising the share of renewables to 60% of total consumption. READ MORE
OSCE PA President Joao Soares (Portugal) recently discussed his priorities for the coming year and his hopes for the new Greek Chairmanship of the OSCE. In an interview for the OSCE PA website, Mr. Soares described what he sees as the greatest challenges facing the Organization and the role of the Parliamentary Assembly in addressing these challenges, particularly when it comes to so-called 'frozen conflicts.'
Other issues discussed in the interview included the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute, the Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's proposal for a 'new European security architecture.'
Here follows the full transcript of the interview. READ MORE
Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the EU stated that Minsk participation within “Eastern Partnership” program won’t disturb close relations between Russia and Belarus. In addition, Russian diplomat stipulated that Moscow “keeps watch over the program thoroughly”. The EU offered six post-Soviet states to join this program. READ MORE
The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmen Yury Merzlyakov (Russia), Bernard Fassier (France) and Matthew Bryza (USA) issued a statement on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement.
The statement notes that the meeting of Presidents Serge Sargsyan and Ilham Aliyev in Zurich on January 28th resulted from the Co-Chairs visit to Yerevan and Baku and their meeting with Armenian and Azerbaijani Ministers of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mamedyarov. During the meeting the Co-Chairmen were informed by the Presidents on the basic principles of the conflict resolution. READ MORE
On 5 February 2009 Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner will participate in the EU-Ukraine Foreign Ministers' Troika in Prague. The Ukrainian side will be represented by Foreign Minister, Volodomyr Ohryzko. The Troika will cover a range of bilateral issues and issues of common concern including developments in the region, the Eastern Partnership, the state of play on negotiations towards an Association Agreement as well as energy. READ MORE