Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Prof. ST Hsieh

Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum


[email protected]

May 29, 2022

Holding high morality ground and chastise opponents in any war are admirable. It is also easy to make a clear-cut case that we are right vs the enemy who is wrong, so the allies are united. But when the end of war is not in sight and the real pains have to be shared, it becomes a different story. The following report tells the story of German; however, it is not limited to German every waring party is in the same boat.

  1. Domestically, German faces differences of opinion within the country’s ruling coalition.
  2. It is obvious: when EU stands united, it can use that power. But every member of EU has a different level of dependence on Russian energy. If EU is to stand united against Russia in a prolonged war, the pain should be equitably shared. But there is no rational base how and/or who to assign pain sharing!
  3. European countries scrambled to reach a deal to embargo seaborne deliveries of Russian oil but allow deliveries by pipeline. This deal sounds like the purpose is to punish EU nations rather than Russia. Since the Ukraine war started on Feb. 24, 2022, EU nations keep paying Russian for energy in terms of billions of US dollars.
  4. Serbia is a sovereign nation and not a member of EU, EU sanctions Russian energy has no bearing with what Serbia’s policy. At best, EU will have to depend on Russian gas supply for two~three years from now. There is no reason that Serbia turns down Russian gas for three years.

EU should force a cease fire for Ukraine as soon as possible if they can. Keep arming Ukraine is counterproductive.

EU unity on Russian sanctions ‘starting to crumble’, German minister says

Sun, May 29, 2022, 9:10 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Sunday expressed fears that the European Union’s unity was “starting to crumble” ahead of a summit to discuss an oil embargo against Russia and plans to cut dependence on Russian energy.

EU leaders will meet on Monday and Tuesday to discuss a new sanctions package against Russia, which could also include an oil embargo, and a programme aiming to speed up ending dependence on fossil fuels, including Russian gas.

“After Russia’s attack on Ukraine, we saw what can happen when Europe stands united. With a view to the summit tomorrow, let’s hope it continues like this. But it is already starting to crumble and crumble again,” Habeck told a news conference.

On Friday, European countries scrambled to reach a deal to embargo seaborne deliveries of Russian oil but allow deliveries by pipeline, a compromise to win over Hungary and unblock new sanctions against Moscow.

Habeck called for Germany to speak with one voice at the summit instead of abstaining from votes due to differences of opinion within the country’s ruling coalition. He called for similar unity from other EU states.

“Europe is still a huge economic area with incredible economic power. And when it stands united, it can use that power,” Habeck said at the opening of the German Hannover Messe trade fair.

Associated Press

Serbia ignores EU sanctions, secures natural gas deal with Putin

Published: May 29, 2022 at 4:22 p.m. ET

BELGRADE, Serbia — As the war in Ukraine rages, Serbia’s president announced that he has secured an “extremely favorable” natural gas deal with Russia during a telephone conversation Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has refused to explicitly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and his country has not joined Western sanctions against Moscow. Vucic claims he wants to take Serbia into the European Union but has spent recent years cementing ties with Russia, a long-time ally.

The gas deal is likely to be signed during a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Belgrade early in June — a rare visit by a ranking Russian official to a European country since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began Feb. 24.

Vucic said he told Putin that he wished “peace would be established as soon as possible.”

Serbia is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas, and its main energy companies are under Russian majority ownership.

“What I can tell you is that we have agreed on the main elements that are very favorable for Serbia,” Vucic, a former pro-Russian ultranationalist, told reporters. “We agreed to sign a three-year contract, which is the first element of the contract that suits the Serbian side very well.”

It is not clear how Serbia would receive the Russian gas if the EU decides to shut off the Russian supply that travels over its member countries. Russia has already cut off gas exports to EU members Finland, Poland and Bulgaria.

The EU as a whole has been hurriedly reducing its reliance on Russian energy since the invasion and is set to discuss ways to further do so and to hear from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a leaders’ summit that starts Monday.

Despite reports of the atrocities in Ukraine due to the invasion, Vucic and other Serbian leaders have been complaining of Western pressure to join sanctions against Russia. Serbian officials say the Balkan country must resist such pressure, even if it means abandoning the goal of joining the EU.

Under Vucic’s 10-year autocratic rule and relentless pro-Kremlin propaganda, Serbia has gradually slid toward aligning with Russia. Polls suggest a majority in the country would rather join some sort of a union with Moscow than the EU.

“The agreement reached by President Vucic with President Putin is proof of how much Serbia’s decision not to participate in anti-Russian hysteria is respected,” Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said.

The free leader, free people, make decisions that are good for Serbia and do not accept orders” from the West, said Vulin, who is known for his pro-Russian stance.

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