2019-09-11 - Comment
EU General Court's Ruling on the OPAL Pipeline
On 10 September, the EU General Court rendered a decision that restores the legal situation of the OPAL gas pipeline—an onshore extension of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline—to that of 2009. This means that Gazprom is forced to reduce the utilisation of the pipeline by more than 12 bcm per year. To maintain its exports to the EU, Gazprom will have to increase gas transit via Ukraine. However, bypassing this country has been Russia’s strategic objective for years. Although the ruling is based on the treaty principle of energy solidarity, Russia will be describing it as a political decision, citing, for example, that it was issued shortly before winter’s growing demand and the expiration of the company’s gas transit contract with Ukraine, valid until the end of 2019.
2019-09-09 - Comment
Tensions Increase in Brazil-EU Relations
The EU’s criticism of the Brazilian government’s climate policy and handling of the extensive Amazon fires has resulted in increased tensions in mutual relations. For the Union, for which combating climate change is a priority, Brazil’s ineffectiveness in protecting the Amazon may give it a reason to block the adoption of an agreement with Mercosur.
2019-09-06 - Bulletin
New Coalition Resolves Political Crisis in Italy
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on 20 August. The government of the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the League collapsed because of Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s preference for early elections. His party, the League, leads in polls; however, the fears of a League government, seen as potentially deepening the conflict with the European Commission (EC) and weakening the economy, spurred the creation of a coalition between M5S and the Democratic Party (PD). The new government will stop confronting EU institutions and openly criticizing the EU sanctions against Russia.
2019-09-04 - Bulletin
The Republic of Ireland and the Risk of "No-Deal" Brexit
Since the signing of the agreement with the EU on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union, the Republic of Ireland’s policy towards Brexit has been seeking to defend the “backstop” mechanism. Despite Boris Johnson’s government toughening the UK’s position regarding this mechanism, the Republic of Ireland refuses to make concessions in this respect for reasons of domestic politics, hoping for the eventual ratification by the UK of the withdrawal agreement. The Irish policy is also based on the assumption of EU financial solidarity, which is not yet reflected, however, in the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF).
2019-09-03 - Bulletin
Prospects for Differentiated Integration in EU Asylum Policy
Faced with talks on the reform of the Dublin system, defining the Member States’ responsibility for examining asylum applications, Germany and France have proposed the creation of a solidarity mechanism in which a coalition of volunteers is to participate. This kind of cooperation regarding the relocation of migrants rescued from the Mediterranean is an opportunity to provide effective assistance to refugees and to resolve disputes between Member States. However, differentiated integration in the area of migration creates the risk of progressive fragmentation of the Schengen area.