Publications

On 20 December Bavaria's Prime Minster Horst Seehofer met the head of the Czech government Petr Necas in Prague. It was the first official visit of the prime minister of the largest German federal state in the neighbouring Czech Republic in history. So far this has not been possible because of the divisive difference between Prague and Munich in approaching the question of the expulsions of Germans from the Czech Republic.
Analyses
2010-12-29
On 16 December the Croatian company Prirodni Plin signed a three years contract for gas supplies with the Italian consortium ENI. This means abandoning a new long-term agreement with the Russian Gazprom (the current contract will expire at the end of 2010) which so far has been the exclusive gas supplier to Croatia. Croatia is the first country to have used changes on the European gas market and given up supplies from the Russian monopoly.
Analyses
2010-12-29
On 21 December a letter from the interior ministers of Germany and France, respectively Thomas de Maiziere and Brice Hortefeux, to the European Commission was revealed. In the letter the two politicians reproach Bulgaria and Romania for insufficient progress in fighting corruption and organised crime. Germany and France's sceptical position will delay the extension of the Schengen zone, scheduled for March 2011.
Analyses
2010-12-29
On 17 December the Council of the EU officially granted Montenegro EU candidate status. This decision is a signal for the Balkan countries that the enlargement process is being continued. However, it cannot be expected that accession negotiations will begin soon since they are on condition that ambitious reforms and an effective fight with corruption and organised crime are introduced.  
Analyses
2010-12-29
On 15 December, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC), which is the owner and the operator of the Tengiz–Novorossiysk oil pipeline, made the final decision to increase the pipeline’s flow capacity from the present level of 28 million tonnes of oil annually to 67 million tonnes in 2015. The consortium’s decision means that the pattern of oil export from Kazakhstan will be preserved, and the key roles will still be played by Russia as the transit country and Europe as the outlet.
Analyses
2010-12-29
Aleksandra Jarosiewicz
The governmental commission chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov passed a final decision on 14 December to order the construction of the Moscow–Saint Petersburg motorway through the forest in Khimki near Moscow, as had initially been planned. This solution was supported on 24 December by President Dmitri Medvedev, who had previously ordered the construction to be halted, thus supporting ecologists’ protests. This decision shows that, despite the initial goodwill gestures to the protesters, the government was simply pretending to make concessions, and that one of the most prominent public protests in Russia has in fact been disregarded by the decision-makers.
Analyses
2010-12-29
Yevhen Bakulin and Aleksei Miller, the heads of Naftohaz and Gazprom, have signed a memorandum establishing a joint venture formethane extraction. Both parties have also announced the establishment of a new company to extract gas from the Black Sea shelf. Although Ukraine has the potential to increase its own gas production significantly, the companies are unlikely to contribute to that because this is contrary to Gazprom’s interests.
Analyses
2010-12-29
On 27 December, a Moscow court found Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former president and major shareholder of the oil company Yukos, and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, guilty of the misappropriation of 218 million tonnes of oil. The court will announce its sentence by 31 December, and can impose 14 years of imprisonment as the maximum penalty. The sentence is likely to be harsh. The trial has adversely affected Russia’s international image, but the Kremlin sees Khodorkovsky as a dangerous opponent, who has to be kept in prison.
Analyses
2010-12-29
On 20 December, two and a half months after the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan, the interim technical government, which had been ruling the country since July, relinquished its powers to a coalition cabinet supported by three of the five parliamentary groupings. The establishment of the government brings to an end the process of the democratic formation of the new government, which began with the overthrow of Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April this year. At the same time, the disjointed nature of the new government coalition (which includes both close associates of the overthrown president and those who insist that he should be held strictly accountable for his actions) may give rise to strong tensions inside the government, and in effect cause its rapid disintegration.
Analyses
2010-12-29
On 23 December, the Swiss-registered Miracle company, owned by Leonid Mikhelson, bought the rights from Gazprombank to a 50% stake in the Sibur holding, which controls a significant part of Russia’s chemical and petroleum gas processing plants. This deal fits in with the process of redistributing assets among individuals known to be Prime Minister Putin’s friends, which has been accelerating over the past few years.
Analyses
2010-12-29

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