geopolitics — Northern Route outpaces Southern Route; Natural Gas Europe, Sep 21, 2015
Natural Gas Europe – News & Analysis on European Natural Gas Matters, Sep 21, 2015

Northern Route outpaces Southern Route

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is approaching a final deal as Gazprom and its EU partners have been dealing with loose ends. On the 5th of September in the Eastern Economic Forum of Vladivostok, the Russian gas company and its partners, namely: E.ON, BASF/Wintershall, OMV, Royal Dutch Shell, Engie agreed on percentages for each one for this route. Thus, Gazprom will lead the project with a 51% share, whilst the rest of the participants will get 10%, barring French Engie receives 9%.

This project is of outmost importance in circumventing Ukraine’s highly unstable territory and be able to deliver around 55 bcm per annum directly into EU markets. Together with Nord Stream 1 and an additional 55 bcm yearly capacity, Northern EU states and primarily Germany are clearly leading the way in the pan-European natural gas market and strive to reap considerable profits in the coming decades as the primal redistribution hub for gas across the Continent.

Amongst things to consider is that this route is being supported by the major energy companies of the states of Germany, France, the UK, Austria and Russia in a clear sign of defiance of Cold War geopolitical logic that has gripped most EU countries due to the Ukrainian crisis since early 2014. Moreover, it leverages the Russian diplomatic position vis-a-vis Kiev which stands to lose at least 2 billion euros per year from transit fees, and most importantly, its strongest leverage both against Moscow and the rest of the European countries. Concurrently a summit including the heads of states of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, will take place in early October 2015 in Paris to discuss an end to the crisis. The Nord Stream 2 project plays a crucial role in ending the brinkmanship by establishing a new „energy security order“ in the Continent.

Furthermore this new agreement neutralizes the Turk Stream project which in essence was the Southern-leg of the Ukrainian by-pass. Since large consumers for the Russian gas are to be found in Central-North and West Europe and the quantities to be transferred are rather fixed for the foreseeable future, a project that will deliver an envisaged 63 bcm such as Turk Stream was planned, seems unreasonable and could be even be considered non-realistic. (…)


Comment by Yanis VAROUFAKIS: Alexis Tsipras has been set up to fail; the guardian, Sep 21, 2015

Von: „Martin Zeis“ <Martin.zeis>
Datum: 22. September 2015 um 15:40:17 MESZ
An: gc-special-engl%Martin.zeis
Betreff: Comment by Yanis VAROUFAKIS: Alexis Tsipras has been set up to fail; the guardian, Sep 21, 2015

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 22.09.2015

— full text attached (pdf-file) —
the guardian, Monday 21 September 2015 17.26 BST

The lenders are the real winners in Greece –
Alexis Tsipras has been set up to fail
By Yanis Varoufakis

Alexis Tsipras has snatched resounding victory from the jaws of July’s humiliating surrender to the troika of Greece’s lenders. Defying opposition parties, opinion pollsters and critics within his ranks (including this writer), he held on to government with a reduced, albeit workable, majority. The question is whether he can combine remaining in office with being in power.

The greatest losers were smaller parties occupying the extremes of the debate following the referendum. Popular Unity failed stunningly to exploit the grief felt by a majority of “No” voters following Tsipras’s U-turn in favour of a deal that curtailed national sovereignty further and boosted already vicious levels of austerity. Potami, a party positioning itself as the troika’s reformist darling, also failed to rally the smaller “Yes” vote. With the all-conquering Tsipras now firmly on board with the troika’s pro-gramme, new-fangled, pro-troika parties had nothing to offer.

The greatest winner is the troika itself. During the past five years, troika-authored bills made it through parliament on ultra-slim majorities, giving their authors sleepless nights. Now, the bills necessary to prop up the third bailout will pass with comfortable majorities, as Syriza is committed to them. Almost every opposition MP (with the exception of the communists of KKE and the Nazis of Golden Dawn) is also on board.

Of course, to get to this point Greek democracy has had to be deeply wounded (1.6 million Greeks who voted in the July referendum did not bother to turn up at the polling stations on Sunday) – no great loss to bureaucrats in Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington DC for whom democracy appears, in any case, to be a nuisance.

Tsipras must now implement a fiscal consolidation and reform programme that was designed to fail. Illiquid small businesses, with no access to capital markets, have to now pre-pay next year’s tax on their projected 2016 profits. Households will need to fork out outrageous property taxes on non-performing apartments and shops, which they can’t even sell. VAT rate hikes will boost VAT evasion. Week in week out, the troika will be demanding more recessionary, antisocial policies: pension cuts, lower child benefits, more foreclosures. (…)