Greece notified the Commission of its plans to support the construction of a new LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis, consisting a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) for the reception, storage and regasification of LNG (complemented by permanent offshore installations, such as mooring system and risers), as well as a system of a sub-sea and an onshore gas transmission pipeline which will connect the FSRU to the National Natural Gas System of Greece (NNGS). EUROPEAN UNION, 2021/EC – AUDIOVISUAL SERVICE/ DATI BENDO

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

A €166.7 million Greek support measure for the construction of a new liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal in Alexandroupolis, Greece complies with EU state aid rules, the bloc’s antitrust chief said, adding that the project will contribute to the security and diversification of energy supplies in Greece and, more generally, in the region of Southeast Europe, without unduly distorting competition. The Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) of the new terminal will be stationed approximately 17.6 kilometers from the town of Alexandroupolis in Northern Greece, at an offshore distance of approximately 10 km from the nearest shore. Furthermore, in order to ensure that there is no overcompensation, the project promoter will be obliged to give back to the State part of the revenues generated from the terminal, should they go beyond a set capped level over the project lifetime. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>EU antitrust chief approves Greek public support for Alexandroupolis LNG terminal

By New Europe Online/KG

Margrethe Vestager

European Commission Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager at Berlaymont in Brussels, Belgium. The subsea and onshore sections of the gas transmission pipeline, of 24 kilometers and 4 kilometers respectively, will transmit the gas from the floating unit to the Greek natural gas network. This will ensure that the aid is proportionate and limited to the minimum necessary for triggering the investment and that potential distortions of competition and trade are minimised. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules, as it will further security and diversification of energy supply, notably in the South-Eastern European region, without unduly distorting competition. The Greek support measure limits the aid to what is necessary to make the project happen and sufficient safeguards will be in place to ensure that potential competition distortions are minimised,” she added. The Commission found that the aid is appropriate and necessary, as the project would not be carried out without the public support. The Commission approved public support for the IGB project, which is currently under construction, under EU State aid rules in November 2018. The FSRU will have an overall delivery capacity 5.5 billion cubic meters/bcm per year. “This will contribute to achievement of the EU’s goals in terms of security and diversification of energy supply. The terminal is expected to improve security of supply not only for Greece, but also for Bulgaria and for the wider South Eastern European region, as it will constitute a new potential energy source to feed into the interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria (IGB). The connection point of the pipeline will be the Kipi‐Komotini branch of the National Natural Gas System of Greece (NNGS), at a new entry point from which the natural gas from the floating unit will be transmitted to the NNGS. According to the Commission, given its strategic importance for the diversification of natural gas supplies into the South-Eastern European region, the LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis has been included in the lists of European Project of Common Interest in the energy sector, based on the EU TEN-E (Trans-European Network for Energy) rules since 2013. Gastrade will be the promoter and operator of the new terminal. The Commission assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular under the 2014 Guidelines on State Aid for Environmental Protection and Energy. The beneficiary of the aid is Gastrade SA, a company in which the Greek gas incumbent (DEPA) and the Bulgarian gas Transmission System Operator (Bulgartransgaz EAD) hold a participation. In this context, the Commission took into account the inclusion of the project in the list of Projects of Common Interest in the energy sector. In addition, the National Energy Regulator has put in place certain safeguards to prevent an increase in the market position of the largest gas operators involved in the project, such as a limitation of the share of LNG that can be booked in the terminal by such players. “The new LNG terminal in Alexandroupolis will improve gas supply and infrastructure not only in Greece, but in the whole South Eastern European region,” European Commission Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy Margrethe Vestager said. The Greek Authorities have confirmed that the LNG Terminal would be apt to use for hydrogen, and that the project would contribute to a cleaner energy mix through increased use of gas instead of coal. The project will be financed by the Greek State using European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), notably funds directly controlled and managed by Greece under the 2014-2020 Partnership Agreement for the Development, the Commission said, adding the support will take the form of a direct grant amounting to €166.7 million.

A few years ago, there was a project to improve the emissions as well as greenhouse gases by turning to gas,” he said. Denmark is at minus 30. “If we take for example of Denmark, which is seen as one of the leaders and I think the Danish national target for reduction of greenhouse gas is minus 70 percent by 2030. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Ex-Soviet bloc states urged to adopt modern technology, renewables

By Kostis Geropoulos
Energy & Russian Affairs Editor, New Europe

State Theater Kosice. Fifty kilometers away there is a geothermal source which could actually heat more than half of the city. The most abundant geothermal resource, not only in Slovakia but throughout the central Europe, is Kosice basin. “The gas is imported from Russia. So, economically there is added value, you wouldn’t have to send the money for the gas to Gazprom and Putin’s regime,” he said, stressing that investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy is also very important for energy security. “Now I think this is not about pushing, this is about incredible opportunity for Central and Eastern Europe. Some countries like Spain, for example, which is now heavily going into renewables, they are actually above the 1990 levels because they industrialized and increased their emissions post-1990 while the former Communist bloc the emissions generally fell.” So, Romania is already now at minus 55 from the 1990. In terms of the ambition, I’m sad to see Central European countries and especially Poland often backing away from higher ambitions where we actually have a good starting line,” Hojsik said. It was drilled in the 90s, it was never utilized,” Hojsik added. “I think that’s an opportunity that we have to use. Slovakia has very limited amounts of fossil resources. The Slovak MEP said that reducing his country’s reliance on gas and increasing investment into renewables would boost energy security for the Central European country. For that, renewables are the best. Slovakia, the government will you, ‘Oh, that’s too ambitious.’ Now, at the moment, Slovakia is at minus 42 because the base line is 1990 and we are so deep because we essentially got rid of old polluting industries from Communism. “It would provide us not only with environmental sound source for the heating but also strategically independence or lessen the dependence on the imports, not to mention the money would stay in the country. SLOVAKIA.COM

Central and Eastern European countries to boost energy security by increasing investment into renewables

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

BRATISLAVA – Countries in Central and Eastern Europe like Slovakia, which were part of the Soviet bloc, have an opportunity to leap into modern technologies and renewables and not get stuck in stranded investments into gas, a Slovak Member of the European Parliament, Martin Hojsik, told New Europe in an interview at the sidelines of the GLOBSEC forum on June 16. So, what we are saying is, ‘Although we would have to make less effort than Denmark, it’s still too much for us.’ And I think this is the wrong message. Oil is from Russia. “Slovakia is utilizing 100 percent Russian gas. Like a concrete example in Slovakia, Kosice is the capital of Slovakia has a central heating powered by coal. He explained that the green transition, especially for the countries of the Soviet bloc that had the massive decline of their heavy industries now represents an opportunity to leap into modern technologies, to leap into renewables and not get stuck in stranded investments into gas. So, for them, it is essentially an opportunity to really to kind of look at beyond fundamental changes, of course starting with energy efficiency and second renewables,” he said. Especially, if we don’t take it seriously, if we don’t utilize the opportunity, we will end up forever trapped, for a long-time trapped in the middle-income trap that we had and we are facing now,” the Slovak MEP said. follow on twitter @energyinsider Kosice, which is situated on the river Hornad at the eastern reaches of the Slovak Ore Mountains, near the border with Hungary, is the largest city in eastern Slovakia. I think this is where not only vis-à-vis the risks of Russian supply and dependency on Russia but generally in terms of approaching strategical autonomy if things happen. I think we need to work more and look for ways how to really use this as opportunity for a just transition,” Hojsik opined. “What we see now is often the arguments coming from some Central and East European countries about, ‘Yes, we know we need to deal with climate but we are special, it’s very hard for us, we are highly industrialized so we have to be taken benevolently, so don’t push us too much,” said Hojsik, who is also a member of the ENVI Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

The consolidation of the electoral field from 592 registrants to seven qualifiers shows a determination to have a conservative candidate run and win, especially after the disqualification of more pragmatic and formidable candidates like Ali Larijani, who was the longest-serving speaker of parliament since 1979. With the exception of Khamenei, Iran’s presidency has traditionally been a political death sentence for its occupants. Thus, the race is more about succession and the constellation of power than anything else. But it would be an oversimplification to suggest that the election does not matter at all. But even if he wins the presidency, there is no guarantee he will become the Supreme Leader. Even before the race started, Iran’s supreme leader left little doubt that the election was about succession. His research specialties include Iran, Iraq, Shiite militias, and American policy in the Middle East. Furthermore, the Islamic Republic’s institutions are being deployed for his benefit. He is a former policy director for United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and served in a variety of capacities at the Wilson Center, including as special assistant to former Congresswoman Jane Harman. These roles will provide him—a trusted Khamenei protégé—with significant constitutional authority during an eventual leadership transition, regardless of whether he becomes supreme leader. Brodsky
Washington, DC-based Middle East Analyst and Editor for Iran International TV. Along the way, Raisi, whose own father died when he was five, has also been able to count on his father-in-law, Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, to cultivate a family power base in Mashhad—one of Iran’s most important religious cities. In 2016, Raisi’s fortunes significantly rose as he left the judiciary to lead Astan Quds Razavi, one of Iran’s largest religious foundations and economic conglomerates. His association with Khamenei harkens back to the beginning of the Islamic Revolution when Raisi met him while he was taking part in a Khomeinist training course. It is about the next few decades of leadership selection and the preservation of the Islamic Republic. Ultimately, the 2021 presidential contest in Iran is about much more than the next four or eight years. This is because of the precedent that Khamenei established when he took over after Ayatollah Khomeini died in 1989—Khamenei transitioned from the presidency to the supreme leadership. Given the lower profiles of the remaining candidates, the contest at this juncture is turning into a Khamenei-orchestrated coronation of Raisi rather than a campaign. It is possible that the next president of the Islamic Republic could very well be Khamenei’s last given his 82 years of age. In addition to the presidency, Raisi will still be a member of the Assembly of Experts. This was part of a longer-term strategy by Khamenei to consolidate his own power, and in recent weeks he has humiliated and ostracized three of Iran’s leading revolutionary families—the Khomeinis, the Rafsanjanis—Mohsen Hashemi, the son of the late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was also disqualified—and the Larijanis. There are also other candidates on the scene who remain players in Tehran’s halls of power—including Mojtaba Khamenei, the supreme leader’s son, as well as figures like head of seminaries Alireza Arafi. Raisi enters the presidential fray with many advantages: name recognition as the head of the judiciary; previous political experience; connections with Iran’s supreme leader; and most significantly he is seen as a leading contender to replace Khamenei upon his demise. However, a Raisi administration does guarantee that he would play a decisive role in the future of the Islamic Republic should Khamenei either become too ill to fulfil his duties or passes away. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will remain the supreme decision-maker both before and after the contest. WIKIPEDIA

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

Change will not come after Iran’s next presidential election on June 18. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Iran’s election is about succession

By Jason M. Both men are from Mashhad. The frontrunner in Iran's 2021 presidential elections, Ebrahim Raisi, speaks to supporters at a campaign rally in Tehran. If Raisi wins the election, he will be considered by some as a natural successor to Ayatollah Khamenei. Raisi’s Rise
Raisi’s rise has been nurtured by his relationship with Khamenei, family ties, as well as a brand built on anti-corruption which he has used to climb the ranks of Iran’s judiciary and beyond. Indeed, their relevance may increase should there be an upset if Raisi loses the presidential race or standing if he wins. Is Iran’s Election a Selection? Alamolhoda’s positions as a Friday Prayer Leader in Mashhad as well as the supreme leader’s representative in Razavi Khorasan Province have provided a platform for Raisi to survive and thrive in the Islamic Republic’s hierarchy. There has been one game-changing development thus far in the electoral process—Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi’s registration as a candidate. The increased pace of Raisi’s promotions coincided with Khamenei’s elevation as supreme leader in 1989, transitioning from a provincial and deputy Tehran prosecutor—when he also served as a member of a death commission which greenlit the executions of thousands of political prisoners—to a national platform as chief prosecutor-general of Tehran, head of the judiciary’s General Inspection Office, deputy chief justice and later attorney general. This is all an attempt to shrink the inner circle of power in the Islamic Republic so Khamenei can further exert his control over the election and succession. He has also served as deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, which will eventually select Ayatollah Khamenei’s successor, further increasing his influence. Media reports indicated that Khamenei advised the grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Hassan Khomeini, to forfeit any ambition of pursuing the presidency. In 2019, Khamenei named Raisi as Iran’s chief justice. While the personalities at the helm of Iran’s government may fluctuate, the policies—especially those which most concern the international community—will not. Additionally, many onetime contenders—including former senior commanders in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—have thrown their support behind Raisi. He also served as a fellow at the White House in the Executive Office of the President. In resume alone, Raisi would outflank the competition to serve as Khamenei’s heir. Officials are warning candidates that they must not cross the red line of insulting the judiciary during the campaign – a position that Raisi conveniently maintains while campaigning and avoiding scrutiny. Such a position provided Raisi with financial, religious, and political visibility to further promote his career, leading to an unsuccessful presidential run in 2017. Indeed, during the campaign, Raisi has been photographed in Khamenei-like styles and settings—praying alone over martyrs’ gravesites and paying homage to the founder of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at his mausoleum.

We had good contacts with Australian companies so we’re doing our work when this big wrap up of battery production will come – I’m talking 2023 – I think we will be ready. It was confirmed to me that it is not only Northwest Europe but it was also Central, Eastern and, as my last visit to Spain and Portugal confirmed, Southern Europe is very much on board,” Sefcovic told New Europe from Vienna airport, moments before boarding his flight back to Brussels, shortly after the GLOBSEC forum ended. So, that’s the plan, that’s the strategy and we are doing very well in that respect because our energy mix is I think the greenest in the world if we compare how we produce electricity in Europe compared with other major economies and, of course, if it comes to the raw materials we are following the same approach.”
He reminded that the EU put 30 key raw materials in its list of Critical Raw Materials 2020, including lithium. “Foreign direct investment screening exercise would be also about this,” Sefcovic said, adding, “As you know, every investment over 500 million has to pass the test if it fits with all these expectations of conditionalities we have in Europe and I think it would give us overview of how to cope with threats that are very serious more efficiently”. Of course, raw materials is a key element, a key question and, as you know, we are prospecting possibilities for lithium production from Europe but we are also in very intensive talks with Serbia, with Ukraine. He reminded that the role of public institutions like the European Commission is to create a proper regulatory framework to clearly show the strategic drive and what would be the public support in tackling the challenges of new technologies as Europe is currently going through an in-depth economic transformation. “You have to rely on private initiative, on private sector and this is why I believe the work of European Battery Alliance is progressing very well because we have a clear understanding of the role. By 2030, 70 percent of our electricity will be coming from renewables or clean sources and we see that the imports of fossil fuels will go lower and therefore, of course, we will be feeling more secure because the renewable source of energy is actually our indigenous source,” he said. But we want to make sure that everything we do is done in full compliance with the highest environmental standards,” Sefcovic said. follow on twitter @energyinsider “Then, I think we have to be very strong in 5G where we have all the preconditions because Ericsson and Nokia are European companies and are global leaders in this respect. We established the Technology Council – EU and US – and one of the areas would be cyber security and IT technologies,” he said. “We’re working really line by line, raw material by raw material, looking what we can get from Europe, what we can replace in technologies and what we can also do from the rest of the world. “It’s very clear we want to be climate neutral by 2050. He reminded that in 2019 and 2020, the EU had more than €60 billion of investment in battery sector which is more than three times of the level of investments in Chinese battery sector. “It’s our wind, it’s our sun,” he continued smiling, “it will be our energy sourcing in the batteries or hydrogen, electrolysers. Asked, how can the EU protect itself from cyberattacks, Sefcovic told New Europe there are several avenues which the bloc has to undertake. “If it comes to this, there are several things. Finally, he said, screening the FDI would help address security issues, tackling hybrid and cybersecurity threats, China or Russia. “What is very important to say and I think today’s conference really confirmed that we have incredible dynamics in the battery sector in Europe. So, we will be more potent in our action because we have different suppliers from different parts of the world and building the capacities within Europe,” the Commission Vice President explained. First and foremost, of course, it’s important to be conscious of the threats. Asked if the EU is winning the battery battle with China, he said the EU Battery Alliance has become a prominent part of events like GLOBSEC. “We are developing also a new industry based on urban mining and recycling which was a quite big topic of the discussions I had today in Bratislava. Von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden launched the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) at the US-EU Summit in Brussels on June 15. GLOBSEC

EU VP Sefcovic cites hybrid, cybersecurity threats too

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

BRATISLAVA – The European Union has attracted massive investment along the battery value chain, boosting its energy and raw materials independence, as the EU establishes its new resilience commitment, which includes climate change but also hybrid and cybersecurity threats, European Commission Vice-President for Interinstitutional relations and Foresight Maros Sefcovic told New Europe on June 17 in an exclusive interview, following the GLOBSEC 2021 forum in Bratislava. And we are really progressing parts of the value chain from the extraction through material production, software development down to the recycling. That means that we will be reducing the use of fossil fuels dramatically. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Charged up EU takes on China in battery battle

By Kostis Geropoulos
Energy & Russian Affairs Editor, New Europe

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic speaks at the GLOBSEC forum in Bratislava, Slovakia, June 17, 2021. “This is very, very promising. And then  all I would say, the measures which presented and have been adopting, the proposals for cybersecurity, for artificial intelligence use and this is for the long haul because you would need to have regulatory framework, also you need software and most importantly working in diplomatic circles, the human factor is very important, that the people have to be very conscious how they use the information, what kind of communication channel they use and how careful they are in the hardware they have in their disposal,” Sefcovic said. Turning to security of energy sources, Sefcovic noted that the Commission is preparing the “Fit for 55” package which he hopes the EU would be able to adopt in the middle of July. There are a lot of very progressive companies who want to see big opportunities there,” the Commission Vice President said. There is very strong interaction between public institutions – on European and national level – the private sector but also financial institutions and, now I think you would agree with me, that we see enormous interest from private investors to invest in green bonds as you have seen on Tuesday (June 15), in green technologies and, therefore, I think this articulation between private and public is very important and works out pretty well,” Sefcovic said. I’m sure it will be a big part of the raw materials we will need to import but I hope we will do the same as we did with the supply of gas: we have diversified sources. Tackling cyberthreats
Tasked by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen of using foresight in EU, Sefcovic said another danger Europe is facing is hybrid and cyberthreats.

The lack of any clear concessions from Moscow to warrant a high-profile encounter only raised the level of skepticism amongst Russia experts. Biden also imparted to Putin that the American “values and priorities” rested on core issues like human rights. The President, who is said to be obsessive about getting the details right ahead of any decision, meticulously prepared for his meeting and by not previewing his plans in advance might have avoided setting unrealistic expectations for the summit. Sen. Before arriving in Geneva, Biden diligently guarded his intentions ahead of speaking with Putin. FLICKR

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

When President Joe Biden arrived at the historic Villa la Garange in Geneva for a much-anticipated meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, he triumphantly proclaimed that he had completed what he set out to do after three hours of behind closed doors talks with the Russian leader. “What Biden demanded of Putin, or maybe better warned him about, are issues that we can’t know now. Deyermond described Biden’s approach as a break from not just Trump’s legacy, but that of other predecessors in the post-Cold War era, all of whom tried and failed to seek a new relationship with Russia. In his own words, Biden said “we’ve established a clear basis on how we intend to deal with Russia and the US-Russia relationship.” 
For all his impassioned rhetoric, Biden did not walk away from the summit with many concrete commitments or concessions from Russia. She cautions, however, that the road ahead will remain difficult given the still poor state of US-Russia relations, but the outcome in Geneva should be seen as a good first step. Putin spoke almost endearingly about his meeting with Biden, who he described as an experienced statesman and went so far as to say they “spoke the same language”. Jim Risch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said summits are about “delivering results” and Biden’s inability to secure more from Putin made the affair “unfortunate and disappointing.” I
n a separate statement, three GOP senators said Biden is sending a signal of “weakness and appeasement” for the summit, particularly after he granted a waiver from US sanctions was granted by his administration for the soon-to-be-completed Nord Stream-2 pipeline. On other topics like cybersecurity, Ukraine, and Syria, the main outcome was a commitment to renew contacts between Washington and Moscow on these issues. The summit is also taking place in the shadow of former President Donald Trump, who arrived in office with a keen interest in building close relations with Moscow based on his self-perceived personal friendship with Putin. Kremlin critics, in particular, were incensed by Biden’s offer to hold an audience with Putin without the Kremlin offering something in advance. In my view, it’s far better than some aspirational announcement about ‘a reset’,” Saivetz told New Europe. As the leaders of the world’s two preeminent nuclear powers, the meeting lays the groundwork for relations to potentially improve on matters of mutual importance. “Of course, the relationship is so complex and there’s so much friction and mistrust that missteps are going to be inevitable at some point. Biden’s team also paid close attention to the choreography of the encounter by carefully limiting any opportunities for Putin to try and one-up Biden, a trait he is well-known for from his past dealings with other world leaders. This is about self-interest and the verification of self-interest,” Biden told reporters at his press conference. Charlie Stevenson, an adjunct lecturer teaching American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, said that opting for solo press conferences are “both self-protective and discord limiting” while allowing each side to make their case about a meeting. As large numbers of Russian forces massed along Ukraine’s borders in April, raising fears of a war breaking out, Biden extended an invitation to meet Putin for a summit to discuss their differences. For now, both sides appear to have walked away with some level of satisfaction. Almost immediately, questions were asked about the hastiness of the invitation and if it would imply weakness on the American side amidst tensions over Ukraine, the SolarWinds hack against US government agencies last December, and the imprisonment of Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny. This, he explained, also narrowed the room for conflict at a time when de-escalation is the goal. Saivetz added that denying Putin an appearance alongside Biden served to constrain the sense of legitimacy that she said he craves. Any assessment of the outcome, according to Biden, should be judged in the long term and by how relations with Russia proceed based on immediate deliverables. From the start, Biden’s decision to sit down with Putin was met with quite a few raised eyebrows. Putin announced that a return of ambassadors would begin at an undetermined point and the two agreed to establish a new Strategic Stability Dialogue on nuclear arms control. By giving Putin this summit, Browder believes that Biden is elevating him “to a level of authority and respectability among his own supporters that is a gift to him that he shouldn’t be getting.”
Garry Kasparov – another prominent critic and a member of the anti-Putin, pro-democracy opposition, who also once ran against the latter to become president of Russia – accused Biden of giving the “credibility of the United States” to a “brutal killer”. In Geneva, President Biden spoke in very blunt terms by characterizing the summit as being about asserting the United States’ self-interests and should not be seen as cozying up to Putin. Carol Saivetz, a senior advisor with the security studies programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said this approach was a better tact to take with Putin than risk over-promising. “This is not about trust. But the Geneva meeting was a step in the right direction.” “Russia and the US need to interact with each other, to try to establish a degree of stability in their relationship and to have clarity about the areas where their interests clash,” Deyermond told New Europe. Ruth Deyermond, a senior lecturer in post-Soviet security at King’s College London, disagrees with characterizations of Biden’s decision to seek an early meeting with Putin as wrongheaded. “It is a big win for Putin,” Bill Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital and a vocal critic of Putin, told Fox News on June 16. The Russian leader echoed Biden’s view on the summit not being about trust, but, quoting the great 19th-century Russian poet Lev Tolstoy, saying that there can be no “family trust in this situation, but we have seen flashes of it.” 
Deyermond believed that the summit was a good first impression. In a recent interview, Kasparov added that Biden once called Putin a “killer” not long after his inauguration and that by meeting with him, it was a “sign of weakness.” 
Biden’s critics in the Republican Party echoed these arguments as the president made his way back to Washington. US President Joe Biden (L) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in Geneva, Switzerland. Trump also made dramatic and unprecedented moves, including withdrawing from key arms control agreements, decisions Putin directly criticized as pushing relations into a deeper freeze. One important measure that taken to minimize this was conveying to the Russians that there would be no joint press conference for the two leaders as there was in Helsinki. Instead, she believes the choice to meet in Geneva was helpful towards stabilizing relations with Russia, lest it descends lower than the dangerous place it is now. Biden said that the meeting helped the US and Russia to identify areas of common interest where the two adversaries could work together, while at the same time making it clear what the US’ red lines are. Trump openly spurned and publicly insulted the US’ European allies and even undermined his own country’s security by publicly siding with Putin in a now-infamous Helsinki summit press conference in 2018 where Trump said he believed Putin over his own intelligence agencies. By Nicholas Morgan
A New York-based freelance journalist focusing on Russia and Eurasia. Will Navalny live? She explained that the US-Russia relationship has always been slanted towards topics of strategic stability and it is especially important that the presidents are in contact given the state of the relationship as it stands now. From the start of his administration, Biden promised to resist Russian actions that trampled on American interests, while being an advocate for human rights and democracy. Will there be future hacks? style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Did Biden draw a line in the sand with or legitimize Putin in Geneva?

European sanctions have also been completely ineffective against the regime of Belarusian potentate Alexander Lukashenko. He showed himself to be a tough and self-confident leader of a superpower who also knows how to defend basic Western values. The Kremlin, however, responded with underhanded attacks and the expulsion of European diplomats. EPA-EFE//RUSSIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY

Facebook

Twitter

Linkedin

WhatsApp

Viber

Email

Print

The first meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin showed that the US is no longer letting Moscow lead it around by the nose as it did under Donald Trump. Similar to the way Hungary blocked EU sanctions against China for its brutal crackdown on opposition members in Hong Kong, the Austrian government is now following Viktor Orban’s lead in its approach towards Belarus. This tactic did not work for Biden. “There was no hostility. Only then can the EU develop a credible foreign policy. It must be made clear to Putin that he can no longer cross new red lines with impunity. Lavrov’s attacks on Borrell came when the EU’s foreign policy chief arrived in Moscow with an olive branch and an offer to normalize relations. The only success that counts is the meeting itself and the agreement to send ambassadors back to Washington and Moscow
Putin’s tactic of countering all of Biden’s accusations of Russian interference in Western election campaigns, cyber-attacks and human rights violations (Alexei Navalny case) with counter-accusations was to be expected. EPA-EFE/RUSSIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY HANDOUT — MANDATORY CREDIT — HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry shows Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell (L) during a joint news conference following their talks in Moscow. All the assurances of Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in favor of the Belarusian opposition and his calls for the release of Roman Protasevich, the opposition figure who was kidnapped off of Ryanair flight 4978 in May, are only lip service. Putin has actively and repeatedly interfered in Europe’s affairs by supporting Eurosceptic politicians and Brexit supporters. His cryptic but serious threat that the US could make Russia feel its superiority in digital technology in the event of further cyberattacks was obviously credible, but it was not really a deterrent for Putin. Josep Borrell is on a working visit to Moscow. With a few entry bans and account freezes against selected Russian judicial officials involved in the conviction of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Europe will not be able to create an effective threat. As an Austrian, I must express my shame that my own country is blocking new EU economic sanctions against Minsk out of deference to Austrian investors who, like Raiffeisenbank or the Austrian telecom company A1, want to continue doing good business with Lukashenko’s Belarus. “Putin knows that I will act. In Europe, many Russia experts warn that the West should refrain from pushing Russia too far into China’s sphere of influence. In February, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had already made a similar show of the EU’s foreign representative, Josep Borrell, at a press conference in Moscow. Cutting Russian banks off from international financial networks such as SWIFT would also be painful for the Kremlin, but so far the EU has been utterly unwilling to implement anything so fundamental. Mistrust still prevails, especially on the American side. The talks were constructive and intense,” Putin said mildly. The EU’s sanctions against Putin’s regime have, obviously, not really hurt Russia. The United States has also made a U-turn on Nord Stream-2 after the Biden administration opted to refrain from slapping sanctions on European companies that are involved in the constructions of the pipeline. At the NATO summit in Brussels a few days earlier, China was the main focus of the Western alliance. The fact that there was no joint press conference, not even a joint lunch at the meeting in Geneva, speaks volumes. The only measure that would really cause massive damage to the Kremlin would be to halt the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, but Germany, in particular, as the main investor in the pipeline, is staunchly resisting any move to shut down the lucrative project. The example of Europe’s ineffective approach in its inability to take a hard stance with Russia and Belarus is further proof that it needs to move away from the principle of unanimity on important policy issues. The EU’s reaction to Putin’s brazen acts has been marked by hesitation, incompetence, appeasement and fear. It is clear, however, that Putin wants to keep challenging the West after having annexed Crimea, supported separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine, rescued the Assad regime in Syria and deployed troops on the border with Ukraine in April. He has also sent out his secret intelligence hit squads to try to kill opponents in various European countries – nearly all of which have one unpunished. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>No more lip service: The EU must be more resolute vis-à-vis Russia

By Otmar Lahodynsky
Ex-President of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) and former European Editor of the Profil news magazine in Austria

epa08988624 A handout photo made available by the press service of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry shows Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell (L) during a joint news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, 05 February 2021. I will not tolerate Russian interference in American democracy,” said a confident Biden.