Category Archives: Energy

Joined Commission to discuss Iran nuclear deal in Vienna

An extraordinary meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will take place in Vienna on 28 July 2019. The Joint Commission will be chaired on behalf of the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini by EEAS Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid and will be attended by the E3+2 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom) and Iran.

“The meeting has been convened at the request of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Iran, and will examine issues linked to the implementation of the JCPOA in all its aspects.”

EU-Azerbaijan: “attempts of blackmail will not succeed”

At July Plenary in Strasbourg MEPs recommended a list of conditions for a new EU-Azerbaijan agreement, underlining that the future deal must be ambitious and deliver concrete benefits; it has also to ensure respect to fundamental rights and freedoms; and must guarantee defeating  corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

 

Ensuring that core EU values and rights are respected is one of the conditions for deepening EU-Azerbaijan relations, said MEPs on Wednesday, June 4.

Parliament’s recommendation to negotiators for the EU-Azerbaijan Comprehensive Agreement, passed by 564 votes to 69, with 47 abstentions, it calls on the Council, EU Commission and the EU foreign policy chief to:

  • ensure that the future agreement is ambitious and delivers tangible and concrete benefits to both sides, not only for large companies, but also for SMEs and citizens of the EU and of Azerbaijan;
  • ensure that the deepening of EU-Azerbaijan relations is conditional upon it upholding and respecting democracy, the rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms,
  • remind the Azerbaijani authorities that no comprehensive agreement will be ratified with a country that does not respect fundamental EU values and rights,
  • ensure, before the negotiations are concluded, that Azerbaijan releases its political prisoners and prisoners of conscience,
  • help Azerbaijan to develop a strong framework to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and ensure that it respects the right to freedom of peaceful assembly,
  • support reform of the judiciary aimed at ensuring its impartiality and independence from the executive,
  • put in place specific provisions to help Azerbaijan to fight economic crime, including corruption, money laundering and tax evasion, and back investigations into laundering schemes, notably the ‚ÄúLaundromat‚ÄĚ affair, and
  • further support free and pluralistic media in Azerbaijan with editorial independence from dominant political and oligarchic groups and in line with EU standards.

MEPs hope that if negotiations advance speedily and all key conditions are met the new agreement could be signed before the next EU-Eastern Partnership summit in 2019. They also urge the EU side to ensure that the new agreement does not take effect provisionally until after the European Parliament has given its consent.

At present the EU-Azerbaijan relations are governed by the 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Negotiations for a new agreement were launched on February 2017. The EU is Azerbaijan‘s top trading partner and its biggest export and import market, accounting for 48.6% of Azerbaijan‚Äôs total trade and providing its largest source of foreign direct investment.

“Azerbaijan is a reliable and predictable partner of European Union”, –¬†said to Europe Diplomatic Ambassador of Azerbaijan,¬†Fuad Isgandarov, the¬†Head of the Mission to the European Union, commenting on MEPs concept.

“As you know, positive dynamics has always dominated our bilateral cooperation. Having this in mid, the new agreement will further enhance our mutually beneficial relationship and touch upon all the issues of interest for both sides. Negotiations continue and we hope for its earliest conclusion,” Ambassador continued.

“For this end, we also count on supportive actions from everyone who desire only the prosperity of EU-Azerbaijan relations and stand firm against all attempts to undermine our firm partnership,” H.E.Isgandarov¬†said.

“Unfortunately it is not the first time that Press Service of EP in its press-release portrays mainly critical recommendations¬†from adopted documents as preconditions for negotiations¬†on new agreement. But document highlights¬†Azerbaijan as an important partner and outlines broader avenues for future cooperation” – Ambassador underlined.

“Azerbaijan also has strong ‚Äúred lines‚ÄĚ on some issues of these negotiations with EU but never vocally highlighted them as preconditions. Our partners from EEAS are on the same position. Both sides understand mutual importance of negotiations on agreement, in which EU has as minimum no less interest than Azerbaijan.”

“Any attempt to blackmail each other or undermine negotiations will not succeed. We believe constructive spirit of negotiations¬†will deliver fruitful results for all generations of citizens of both sides” – the¬† diplomat concluded.

Russia ordered to pay compensation for Arctic Sunrise incident

The Foreign affairs ministry of The Netherlands tweeted a statement of the Minister Bert Koenders, saying he welcomes the decision of the court ordering Russian Federation to to pay some ‚ā¨5.4m in compensation to Duch vessel Arctic Sunrise.

Koenders expects Russia would to fulfill the court order: ‚ÄėThe ruling makes it clear that ships in international waters cannot simply be boarded and the crew arrested,‚Äô he said. ‚ÄėThe Arctic Sunrise was making use of the right to demonstrate. This ruling will contribute to the development of the international rule of law, in particular maritime law and the right to freedom of speech.”

Russia has been ordered to pay some more than five million euro  in compensation for the September  2013 Arctic Sunrise incident, in which Russia bordered the Greenpeace ship under Dutch flag and arrested its international crew of 28 activists and two journalists. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said Russia had broken its international obligations by boarding the ship protesting against drilling for oil in the Arctic Sea.

The compensation package includes ‚ā¨1.7m for damage to the ship, compensation for the crew and ‚ā¨625,000 in legal costs. Several members of the crew spent two month in Murmansk jail charged with piracy, and were realised in the framework of a general amnesty issued by State Duma.

Goudkov: dictatorship is uneffective

Russian opposition politician Dmitry Goudkov (reads ‘Goutkoff’) comments on proposal of a Senior adviser of Russian government Alexey Kudrin advocating a reduction of the state’s share in Russian economy and even the privatization of the oil industry.

“What kind of privatization in today’s Russia can we talk about? There is no combination of an effective economy with a dictatorship in the modern world. Or you have a private initiative, or friends of the president. A simple choice, and Putin’s Russia has done it for a long time,” – Goudkov writes on his Facebook page.

Alexei Kudrin, chairman of the board at the Center for Strategic Research Foundation (CSR) and deputy chairman of the Presidential Economic Council, took floor during panel at the 2017 St Petersburg International Economic Forum in St Petersburg:

“The oil sector should be fully privatized in the next seven to eight years, no state companies are required there now as the statehood brings more harm than benefit to those companies,” – Kudrin said.

“Reasonable offers, but we know how they will be implemented. Sechin is sitting in the hearing room and is already making plans” – ironises Goudkov, hinting on the presence of the incumbent¬† Executive Chairman of Rosneft¬†state oil company Igor Sechin, a former Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, and Putin’s close ally. According to Stratfor ¬†Sechin acts as “boss of Russia‚Äôs gigantic state oil company Rosneft and commands the loyalty of the FSB. Thus, he represents the FSB‚Äôs hand in Russia‚Äôs energy sector.”

“And even if it does not sit there, it has long been all non-state.” Do you remember the scheme? The state owns Rosneftegaz (the boss is Sechin). “Rosneftegaz” – the usual name-plate company – owns Rosneft (the boss is Sechin). Therefore, he calls Rosneft a private company” – continues Goudkov.

“You did not follow the hands? No problem, Igor Ivanovich (Sechin) repeats (the trick) when it’s time to pay dividends to the state again.

What kind of privatization in today’s Russia can one talk about? There is no such a thing as a combination of an effective economy with a dictatorship in the modern world. Or you have a private initiative, or friends of the president. A simple choice, and Putin’s Russia made it a long time ago.” – concludes Goudkov.

“Otherwise Kudrin is right, everything he says is correct.”

Rosneft lost case in European Court

The decision of the European Court of Justice approval of sanctions against Rosneft company will translate in heavy burden for Russian citizens – according to new legislation as the ‘victim’ of the Western sanctions the company will profit from considerable tax advantages.

Europe’s top court upheld European Union sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine conflict, including on its largest oil group Rosneft in a ruling that asserts the court’s jurisdiction over the bloc’s foreign policy.

The EU slapped sanctions on Russia after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and stepped them up as Moscow went on to support a separatist rebellion in Ukraine’s industrial east.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said “restrictive measures … in response to the crisis in Ukraine against certain Russian undertakings, including Rosneft, are valid.”

Photo: Igor Sechin, Rosneft chairman

Russia to invest in windmills

windmills

Gazprombank will provide a loan of 64.6 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) to the Rosatom state nuclear corporation for the wind farms construction in Russia, according to the Rosatom procurement website, Russian Radio Sputnik reports.

VetroOGK, part of Rosatom, will attract 64.6 billion rubles from Gazprombank in two tranches. The amount of the first tranche is to stand at 57.4 billion rubles, the amount of the second tranche is estimated at up to 7.2 billion rubles. The loans must be payed off no later than December 31, 2026, according to the website.

Rosatom considers wind energy projects to be one of the most promising of their non-nuclear growth points. The state corporation estimated that wind energy market in Russia by 2024 could reach a turnover of about 200 billion rubles a year.

 

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