Vanessa Tomassini

Melania’s speech saving Trump, from COVID-19 to racism
Americas

Melania’s speech saving Trump, from COVID-19 to racism

The US first lady, Melania Trump, chooses the calm tones of empathy and solidarity in her speech at the Republican convention. Speaking from the Rose Garden of the White House, in front of about 70 people sitting without a mask, she closes the second evening with a soothing speech, in which she defends her husband, Donald Trump

“He loves this country and knows how to do things. He is not a traditional politician, but America is in his heart,” she said. Mike Pompeo’s message also arrived yesterday, recorded in Jerusalem, in which he praises President Trump’s foreign policy and his fight against terrorism. Media criticized his speech even before it was made public, no secretary of state, before him, had broken the custom that wants diplomacy separate from politics.

The speech of Melania Trump was very far from the emphatic tones of the speakers who preceded her. She immediately makes it clear that she didn’t want to use that precious time to attack the other party because, “as we saw last week, that kind of discourse serves only to further divide the country.”  The first lady is the only one commentator to address a thought to the victims of the COVID-19, those who have lost a loved one or still suffering from the disease.

“I want you to know that you are not alone: my husband and his administration will not stop until there is a vaccine available for everyone,” she stated. Melania also stressed that her husband is doing everything he can to help those affected. A vote for him, she says, is a vote for American values. It would be “an honor” to serve the country for another four years: “My husband has the energy and enthusiasm to lead this nation.”

Just fifty years old, Melania Trump is the third wife of the president: she comes from Slovenia, and she remembered in the course of the speech the moment in which she obtained American citizenship “with pride” as one of the “most important” of her life. According to what her staff said, Melania and her spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, have written the address.”Every word is hers,” added the spokesperson, noting the distance from her speech four years ago accused of plagiarism. She showed up in a military green suit and spoke for about 30 minutes. She remembered the humanitarian missions, trips to Africa to hear the “tragedy of slave travel,” the commitment to children.

Then she spoke about several problems in the country, such as addiction to drugs and medications. Finally, she shares a “reflection on racial unrest,” just in the hours in which people are protesting in the street after the Jacob Blake case, the 29-year-old African American hit in the back by the blows of the Wisconsin police and now paralyzed. “Stop the violence, no more vandalism in the name of justice,” the first lady said, defining racism “a harsh reality that we are not proud to bring into our history.”

The strategic role of the Maldives archipelago between India and China
Asia Pacific Focus

The strategic role of the Maldives archipelago between India and China

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has agreed with his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid for the financing and implementation of the GMCB (Greater Malé Connectivity Project). The money India will finance this project will be through a $ 100 million grant and a $ 400 million line of credit. The GMCB project is a bridge with an elevated link that will connect the Maldivian capital Malé with the neighboring islands of Villingili, Gulhifahu, and Thilafushi and will be 6.7 km long.

The project also includes other works like the construction of a port in Gulhifahu and an industrial area in Thilafushi. More than the bridge, it is the size of India’s loans, and it will play a role in the development of the Maldives that detracts from that of China. The archipelago has initiated projects for the construction of various types of structures using Chinese funds and building materials through the Belt and Road Initiative, a strategic Chinese initiative for the improvement of its commercial and transport links from Europe to Asia via land and sea.

Previously under former President Abdulla Yameen, the Maldives obtained loans from Beijing and contracted infrastructure projects to Chinese companies. India and many other countries have accused China of exploiting states such as the Maldives through unsustainable debts.A court sentenced Yameen to a five-year prison sentence for money laundering, which began in February of this year.The former president was found guilty of awarding construction contracts to Chinese companies at inflated prices.

The Maldives are near the major shipping routes. Including the east-west shipping route, which transports much of the oil across the Asian continent. The strategic role of this archipelago of 1,192 coral islands has attracted the attention of the great powers, especially India and China.The Indian government has exerted a strong influence on the Maldives government for decades, and it was only after Abdulla Yameen became president in 2013 that the archipelago began to move out of the Indian sphere of influence and into the Chinese one.

India has been trying to regain diplomatic influence over the Maldives since President Ibrahim Solih assumed power after defeating Yameen in the 2018 presidential election. The president in the Maldives is directly elected by an absolute majority of the popular vote in two rounds if required for a five-year term and he can run for a second term.With Ibrahim Solih, the Maldives tried to restore relations with India in an attempt to weaken the archipelago’s dependence on China.

To understand how strong Chinese influence is on the Maldives, you have to think that the Chinese Exim Bank has asked the Maldivian government to repay it 10 million dollars. If this debt is not paid, it will amount to a default with an impact on its trade and foreign exchange reserves. The economy of the Maldives also depends on tourism, and China is one of the main sources of tourists who go to the archipelago to spend their holidays.The government of Ibrahim Solih to try to reduce the dependence of his country on China is trying to diversify the economy beyond tourism and fishing, reforming public finances, increasing job opportunities, and fighting corruption.

Navalny, Berlin capital of European foreign policy
Europe

Navalny, Berlin capital of European foreign policy

The Russian authorities finally agreed to the Alexei Navalny’s transfer to Berlin. Navalny is a leading Russian anti-corruption activist, who was probably the victim of poisoning on his way back to Moscow from Siberia. It is evident that something has happened. According to several reports, if until mid-afternoon the head of the medical team, who was treating the most famous in the West of the opponents to Russian president Vladimir Putin, said that the patient was not transferable because of too much risk, at six o’clock of yesterday it’s arrived the green light. Conditions are severe and the patient remains stable. The potential toxicity risk cannot be eliminated from the body.

Perhaps Berlin won a tug-of-war with Vladimir Putin, confirming that Germany has found a way to give a shade of foreign policy to its European semester. As with the Greek-Turkish dynamics in the Mediterranean, and as with the situation in Belarus, the German weight must have made itself felt in this affair that puts Putin, considered the culprit par excellence by half the world, in a highly embarrassing position.

In the afternoon, Navalny’s wife said that the German doctors – who had arrived at the hospital in Omsk where her husband is hospitalized on Thursday evening – had been taken out of the building: the relaxation meant, according to her, that the Russian doctors were hiding something and for this, she asked that her husband be transferred “where we trust”. First, he wrote a letter (later made public) to Putin inviting him to accept the German offer. The medical plane is ready and should take off in the evening to take the Russian, still in a coma, to a German hospital. Angela Merkel has already offered him political asylum, surpassing the initiative with which France had offered medical help to the Russian activist.

At a press conference on Thursday, Merkel in Berlin spoke at length about the tragic event that struck the Russian activist. “It is very, very important to urgently clarify how this situation came about. We will insist on this,” she said adding that “what you hear are unpleasant facts. And we have to make everything very, very transparent.” The medical flight that will transfer Navalny to Berlin will be managed by the NGO “Cinema for Peace” founded by JakaBizilji, another opponent of the Kremlin. The honorary president of the association is Mikhail Gorbachev, but the international board includes several well-known personalities – from Monica Bellucci and Richard Gere to Eli Gandhi, nephew of Mahatma Gandhi, from Garry Kasparov to David de Rothschild.

The incandescent situation rekindles the danger of a new war in Colombia
Americas

The incandescent situation rekindles the danger of a new war in Colombia

With the eruption of COVID, South America risks reliving a history already seen, that of a new lost decade, at the origin of the worst recession of a still-young century, with devastating social and economic effects. One of the most affected nations is Colombia, a hinge country between North and South America, the driving force of the area, the heart of the geopolitical stability of Latin America. In recent weeks, the political and social climate has dramatically deteriorated. Colombia is witnessing the recurrence of scenarios of the past with the widespread violence reappearance. That has accompanied the country life since the day of its independence.

The reasons for this crisis are numerous. The implementation process of the Peace Accords signed in Cartagena in 2016 by President Manuel Santos and the commander of the FARC, Timoleón Jiménez, aka Timochenko, is dramatically bogged down, for a complex series of causes. From bureaucratic-administrative shackles to lack of funding, the firm opposition of political and social groups, headed by the former head of state Álvaro Uribe, who has always been a bitter enemy of dialogue, but above all by the unconvinced will of the government of Iván Duque Márquez to fulfill them.

An impasse invoked instrumentally, which prompted two historical leaders of the Farc, Iván Marquez and Jesus Santrich, to take up arms again, putting together a new underground army of more than three thousand men in just over a year. Thanks to the proceeds of drugs and the proceeds of the illegal minería, the new narco-Farc have re-installed in numerous departments of the country: Antioquia, Huila, Córdoba, Caquetá, Cesar, La Guajira, Arauca and Norte de Santander, giving life to a sort of new parallel state, imposing their oppressive presence on the Campesinos.

Dialogue with the country’s second historical guerrilla, the ELN (Ejercito de Liberación Nacional), was also abruptly interrupted. President Duque conditioned the guerrilla movement’s proposal to negotiate a 90-day ceasefire to reopen the peace negotiations, until the ELN gives tangible signs of its willingness to believe in the peace process, giving up the policy of kidnappings and attacks. On a more purely political level, relations between the government and the opposition, led by the former presidential candidate and former mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro Urrego, are now close to definitive rupture. That following, among other things, the recent preliminary investigation launched by the General Prosecutor’s Office aimed at clarifying the general circumstances that favored the president’s success in the last elections.

The peace accords signed in Cartagena in November 2016 did not favor the hoped-for change of mentality, nor did they initiate a real process of peace and reconciliation. A new climate of fear, resignation, mistrust, and above all, public and private insecurity seems to have taken control over the country again. That is resurrecting the climax of violence, intolerance, and opposition, which saw the death in general silence of more than 442 social leaders, killed for defending their rights and opposing the diktats of the new criminal groups. The last demonstration of this renewed incandescent situation is the indiscriminate attacks against the Comisión de la Verdad and its president, the Jesuit Francisco De Roux, which aimed at discrediting and demolishing the authority and independent character of this institution.

Iraq and the US reach a series of deals, today Kadhimi at the White House
Middle East & Africa

Iraq and the US reach a series of deals, today Kadhimi at the White House

The United States wants Iraq’s upcoming parliamentary elections to be “transparent” and would like to see the country free from corruption. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday, during a joint press conference with Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein, as reported Iraqi media. Pompeo added that the strategic dialogue between the two countries, whose second session the Secretary of State and his Iraqi counterpart inaugurated today, is not just about “the number of US troops in Iraq.”

Washington’s chief of diplomacy also said US President Donald Trump to announce soon “The next steps” relating to the question of Iran. For his part, Iraqi Minister Hussein reiterated that Baghdad has “a solid alliance” with the United States, underlining on the other hand that decisions relating to Iraq must be “in the hands of Iraqis “and that the country wants” normal “relations with neighboring states, without interference.

According to Reuters, during the meetings between Kadhimi and other high officials of his government with US counterparts, several bilateral agreements and deals were signed. Five American companies signed contracts with Iraqi authorities in the Oil and Electricity Ministries worth over $8 billion.A statement from the US Department of Energy indicates, adding thatamong the new agreements also the US’s General Electric worth more than $1 billion.

A $500 million deal was reachedby the Iraq and GE Gas Power to service power plants in Iraq and to help maintain over 6,000 megawatts of electricity.Another accord worth $727 million was signed between Iraq and GE Renewable Energy’s Grid Solutions to strengthen Iraq’s transmission network, enhancing grid stability and interconnection with the electricity network of Jordan.

Today, the White House will receive an Iraqi prime minister for the first time in three years as ties have warmed between Washington and Baghdad since Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi was appointed earlier this year.Trump has repeatedly affirmed that he would pull the US out of “endless wars,” with Iraq being one of them.

“Depriving young people of future is one of the most severe forms of inequality”, Draghi’s plan to rebuild Europe
Europe

“Depriving young people of future is one of the most severe forms of inequality”, Draghi’s plan to rebuild Europe

The speech at the Rimini Meeting by former European Central Bank(ECB) president Mario Draghi hits the mark. The pandemic has changed the Europeans, and now nothing will be the same again, so we need the courage to change, explained Draghi in his speech in Rimini, a popular touristic destination in Middle Italy. A statement full of ideas, especially in one of the most significant passages, the one concerning the unsustainable public debt if you think of using European aid for rain subsidies, rather than setting up a real plan of structural economic investments. A program that puts young people, education and the environment first.

In his opening conference at the Meeting for Friendship among the Peoples of Rimini, Mario Draghi gave a representation of the present situation of Europe in the international context made up of ideals and realism, planning, and pragmatism. It is difficult to comment on such a complete and complex evaluation resulting from his preparation and experience.Draghi notes that the pragmatic suspension of the rules governing European budgetary policies was necessary to face the crisis and prevent it from turning into a depression with incalculable human, social and economic costs. However, the measures to deal with the emergency cannot last forever.

The former president of the European Central Bank also notes that the reconstruction will be long and will bring with it a high debt whose financing will be sustainable, and therefore renewed, if it is used in investments, tangible and intangible infrastructures, including human capital and research. That seems to be a strong warning to those hoping for debt amnesty solutions.In principle, much of Draghi’s argument is that to buffer the social crisis, subsidies were needed as a first form of closeness of society to those who have been most affected by the crisis, especially those who have tried so many times to react. But he adds that now Europe needs to build a lasting future.

Draghi recalls that the debt created by the pandemic will mainly fall on future generations who will be able to cope with it only if there is strong growth, in which the long-term vision must join immediate and consistent action. This virtuous connection is found mainly in education and research and, more generally, in investing in young people with a massive graft of intelligence and financial resources in this sector.”For years, a form of collective selfishness has induced governments to distract human capacities and other resources in favor of objectives with more certain and immediate political return: this is no longer acceptable today”. Says the former ECB chief, adding that depriving young people of the future is one of the most severe forms of inequality.

Draghi appreciates the many steps forward made by the EU with the Next Generation EU, the Recovery Plan. He also hopes that European decision-making processes will become more solidarity and less contractually intergovernmental. Only in this way, it will be possible to have a strong and stable Europe that plays a role in the world that seems to doubt the system of international relations, from which instead came the most durable period of peace in our history.

Michelle Obama attacks Trump and urges the Americans: “Vote as if your life depended on it”
Americas

Michelle Obama attacks Trump and urges the Americans: “Vote as if your life depended on it”

The words of Michelle Obama close the first day of the Democratic Convention as a furious sentence, actually a kind of trial for Donald Trump. She affirmed that the president in office is unable to govern the country. “He sowed divisions, created chaos, encouraged white supremacists, racists, responded to protests over George Floyd death with tear gas. It is not what we need. It does not represent who we are. And look, it is not just a question of politics, the United States is lacking in character, dragged along by a president who has no empathy, that is, he is never able to put himself in the shoes of others.” She continued.

The former First Lady, sitting in the living room of her home in Kalorama, Washington, did not disappoint the expectations of the fans and the leadership of the party that reserved her place of honor in the virtual arena. His fifteen minutes of speech will remain in the memory of this electoral campaign. She reaffirmed that these are hard times for the US. “I see a lot of suffering, a lot of pain, but I also see beauty, hope, especially in those young-peon have taken to the streets and are showing what America really is, what we really are: compassion, the ability to react, dignity, solidarity.” Michelle stresses several times that she is not interested in politics, but means: it is not my job to deal with the manoeuvres, the balances, the compromises that will be necessary to keep the party together. That’s the role of the two candidates, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and the other leaders, starting with Bernie Sanders.

Her popularity, her transversal nature allows her to address the voters directly with an approach that transcends specific proposals and, at the same time, summarizes them all in a reference to the best history of the United States. “In these four years the country has changed: the administration of my husband and Joe Biden had ensured health coverage for another 20 million Americans, given the United States the leading role in the fight against climate change, defeated the Ebola epidemic. Today we have more than 160,000 dead, millions of people out of work, millions of families who are struggling to get food for their children, who are worried because they do not know if they will be able to send their children back to safe schools. This spectacle infuriates me.”

And “the show” has a clear responsibility. “Look, being president is a very difficult job. You need great clarity, masterful skills on complicated and often conflicting subjects. But above all it is necessary to know how to listen, to be aware that each of the 330 million American lives has a value.” Donald Trump, is the first conclusion, does not have these qualities. Quickly Michelle reaches the halfway point: “What should we do then? What is the strategy?”. The answer, of course, is only one: vote on November 3 for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. “I’ve known Joe for a long time. It’s not perfect. No president is perfect. But he knows how to listen, he knows how to identify himself, he knows what suffering is because he has experienced it several times. He lost his wife and daughter and then yet another son. He knows how to put together a team of talents and how to lead them. He will follow the suggestions of the scientists and will make us deserve the consideration of our allies again.”

It is time for the final appeal. Smiling, the former premier dame says: “I know that not everyone will listen to me. I’m still a black woman speaking in a democratic convention. But I ask you to mobilize with the same enthusiasm, the same passion of 2008 and 2012. Get yourself Comfortable shoes, pack your backpack with sandwiches and line up until you get to the polling station. Or ask for your voting form in the mail today. Mail it in now and make sure it gets to your destination on time. This administration is doing all possible to sabotage the right to vote. That’s why we have to mobilize as if our life depended on it. Don’t think it can’t get worse than this. If Joe and Kamala don’t win, things will get even worse.”

EU Commission: “Don’t close the borders in Europe”
Europe

EU Commission: “Don’t close the borders in Europe”

The Commission of the European Union has expressed its concern about the possible introduction of new restrictions on travel within the EU. That is the content of a letter, dated 7 August and addressed to the ambassadors, released by the Efe agency this Sunday. The European Commission prefers to use tampons for COVID on arrival or mandatory quarantine for travellers, rather than closing borders.In recent days, Germany has recommended not to go to Spain (except the Canary Islands), and Holland has done the same with a dozen member countries.”While we must make sure that the EU is ready for a new wave of Covid-19, we must likewise avoid a mixed reaction”, the letter reads.

According to the European Commission, the criteria for closing borders must be “demanding” and evident. With the letter to the European partners, the Commissioners therefore ask to limit the restrictions to completely exceptional circumstances. Brussels describes the health situation as volatile, with cases increasing in some countries, decreasing in others. And while the EU commission is aware that states have the final say on quarantines and border management, it reminds them that Europe has a lot at stake. “Given the experience of the onset of the pandemic, we would like to emphasize that coordination remains essential to ensure clarity and predictability for citizens and businesses, especially in the travel sector.”

In short, the situation is getting worse. In the letter sent on 7 August, the EU Commission asks national governments to keep their borders open and to act in a coordinated way. “We must ensure that the EU is ready for outbreaks, but at the same time avoid a second wave of uncoordinated actions at internal borders,” reads the four-page letter, anticipated today by the Associated Press.”The reintroduction of ineffective border restrictions and controls must be avoided. The response must be proportionate, coordinated, and based on scientific evidence,” adds the text sent to the Ambassadors of the Twenty-Seven and the United Kingdom by the Director-General of Justice, Salla Saastamoinen, and by his counterpart for the Interior, Monique Pariat. The Community Executive believes that only very demanding criteria can justify travel restrictions.

The exceptional drop in EU GDP, of 11.7% in the second quarter, gives Brussels fears that a new round of border closures will hamper recovery. The free movement, in the hard-hit Schengen area, already hampered over the years due to restrictions linked to terrorism or immigration.

France reported a new record daily increase in COVID 19 cases: 3,310 infections in the last 24 hours mark the worst figure since the end of the lockdown in May, as the French media recalled, citing data from the Ministry of Health. Also, 17 new outbreaks were recorded, which now amount to 252 at the national level. The total cases registered in the country are almost 253 thousand, slightly less than in Italy. The victims are about 30,500,000, less than our country (35,392).

After months of closure due to the coronavirus epidemic, one of the industry’s most refractory to social distancing is back in Germany, that of paid sex. Since last week the closed houses of Berlin have restarted their activities but with a significant limitation. Clients will have to settle for erotic massages, and actual sexual intercourse is forbidden, until at least September 1st. In Germany, prostitution is legal and regulated: 40,000 people are sex workers, with the right to regular employment contracts and social security measures. Months of lockdown, however, forced many prostitutes to work illegally to survive, and some big cities such as Berlin and Hamburg, the women in the sector took to the streets against the restrictions that prevented them from making ends meet.

Coronavirus: Europe closes its borders again, discos and clubs banned in Spain
Europe

Coronavirus: Europe closes its borders again, discos and clubs banned in Spain

Europe returns to close its internal borders to defend itself from the surge in coronavirus cases in some countries. Despite the appeal of the EU Commission a few days ago to avoid uncoordinated actions, it’s already anarchy. The new measures implemented by some countries are targeting France and Spain, where Covid-19 infections have increased in recent weeks, but also Croatia, Greece, and Malta. Top destinations for European tourists who have decided to challenge the pandemic and to spend their holidays away from home.

Among the first destinations, there is Spain, which in the last 24hours has registered 3,000 new cases of Covid-19. And precisely on tourism, an important sector for the Spanish economy, the government of Madrid was forced to impose a crackdown with the decision to close discos and clubs in an attempt to put a stop to night-time madness. Smoking on the street is also prohibited if the distance of 2 meters cannot be respected. In all, 11 new rules announced by the health minister Salvador Illa who also recommended that the Spaniards limit meetings to a maximum of 10 people and take frequent tests in social and health centers.

Following the United Kingdom and Italy, Germany has included Spain among the areas at risk, except for the Canary Islands. The decision entails testing and quarantine for Germans returning from holidays until the result arrives. Germany, for its part, has to face the highest number of infections since May 1st, 1,449, and the alert in schools. After the case of Berlin, two days after the reopening of institutes in North Rhine-Westphalia, twelve are affected by the coronavirus.

Two have already had to close their doors, while the other ten schools have been partially closed, with groups and classes in quarantine. The other particular observation is France, which the British government has included in the list of countries at risk, requiring those who return from French airports to quarantine two weeks. Paris did not like this measure. The Minister for European Affairs has promised “reciprocity” in London and unleashed chaos in transport.

The geopolitics of gas
Geopolitics

The geopolitics of gas

To achieve a sufficient level of energy security, a State should diversify the sources of supply or guarantee the availability of reliable energy supplies at reasonable prices from multiple suppliers and to avoid depending entirely or mostly on one. That is the path that the European Union has tried to take in recent years, and that the “Energy Union” package of February 2015 declared, after having launched – through the European Commission – the Southern Gas Corridor project in 2008, passing through Georgia and Turkey.

The EU depends on imports for 54% of the energy sources it uses and, specifically, if the percentage that imports is 89% of the consumed for oil, 66% for natural gas. Also, 6 EU members are dependent on Russia for gas imports. These are Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, and Bulgaria. But there are other countries with substance dependence, such as Poland (50%), and still others completely independent from the Russian gas market as for Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Great Britain, Cyprus and Denmark. The situation is different for coal since imported coal accounts for 44% of the total consumed, while the EU is independent for renewable forms of energy and nuclear power. Gas is the source of energy whose consumption grows more than all the others put together, so even if today it is still the third-largest source of energy in the world, it will be a considerable player shortly. In the European Union, it is the second most used (22%), ahead of coal (17%), and behind oil (37%). Nuclear and RES1 are still at 12%.

From these data, it emerges that the primary energy source for the energy security of the European Union is oil. It constitutes over a third of the EU’s energy basket, and it’s almost entirely imported. The EU is the largest oil importer in the world; Russia is the second-largest exporter. The link between these two subjects is geopolitically inseparable.

In fact, in 2015, Russia was the main country of origin for EU-28 crude oil imports, amounting to 27.5%. On the other hand, in 2015, Moscow imported 29.4% of GAS. In 2018, the importations increased by 8.1% in 2017, reaching in the first half of 2018, over 40,5%. That is why Russia’s geopolitical role in supplying energy sources to the European Union is so important. Oil plays a strategic role in transport, while natural gas is employed in residential, thermoelectric, and industrial use. In a nutshell, their importation is necessary for EU states and the EU itself. But being in such a situation, to top it off with an uncomfortable regional power like Putin’s Russia, is seen as a threat to one’s energy security.

In an attempt by the European Union to begin a process of diversification of the supply of energy sources, the crisis in Crimea broke out in 2014. That led Russia to design the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to bypass Ukraine to the north and, together with the project (later shipwrecked) of the South Stream, to connect – in Putin’s great vision – Europe and Russia from an energy point of view. The European Commission first vigorously opposed South Stream together with Central-Eastern European countries, leading Gazprom, the largest Russian company, to reject the work. Not without consequences: the failure of the project, oriented Putin towards China and Japan, traditionally hostile countries.

With the former, which needs gas due to the high increase in consumption, in 2014 he signed a 30-year agreement which provides for the supply of approximately 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year; with the second, it plans a pipeline of 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year. But Putin also looked to Turkey: another effect was, in fact, the Turkish Stream project, a gas pipeline that should replace the South Stream and to which the EU – with the help of the USA – opposes the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), strengthening Italy’s pivotal position in the geopolitical challenge between the US and Russia. The superpower aims to contain the regional power, which moves in turn with Germany and Turkey to create a Eurasian bloc. In short, Russia proves to have or at least to find alternatives in case of unforeseen events.

The game continues even more recently, with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko demanding the EU to block the construction of Nord Stream 2. The conduct would allow Europe to procure gas directly from Russia, making it arrive in Germany bypassing Ukraine (with an estimated loss for the latter of 3 trillion euros). The European Commission risks not considering Nord Stream 2 as strategic for the energy security of the EU6 and consequently forcing Russia to turn elsewhere for its exports, which means a transfer of business eastwards.

The confirmation arrives from the words of the European Commissioner for climate and energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, who rejected the North Stream 2 project on behalf of the European Commission. He argued that “it does not contribute to the objectives of the EU energy policy in the field of energy security or diversification of supplies.” Some states, such as Germany, seem aware of this danger. They are starting to rethink the energy-economic needs as well as their political positions.

However, there is a need for Europe to import volumes of 77 billion cubic meters of gas per year by 2025. The figure is so considerable as to question the combined capacities of Nord Stream 2 and Turkish Stream. The Russian gas pipelines would become fundamental to guaranteeing Europe the necessary volumes at affordable prices. That is why the EU should take a more responsible attitude and free from external logic towards Russia and instead tighten relations with Moscow rather than push it towards the east.

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