Publications

The right-wing government struck a deal on 22 May with the opposition Social Democratic Party on changing the rules for voting in parliamentary and presidential elections by Croatians who live abroad. The Social Democrats were demanding a reduction in the diaspora’s influence (since it traditionally votes for right-wing parties) as a condition for their support for the package of constitutional amendments necessary to adjust Croatia’s basic law to EU requirements.
Analyses
2010-05-26

On 19 May, the Romanian parliament amended the vetting law by imposing a five-year ban on performing important public functions by former senior representatives of communist authorities and officers and associates of the secret police, Securitate. The law may cause changes in the managements of state-controlled companies and prevent some MPs from participating in the elections in 2012.
Analyses
2010-05-26

The Lithuanian energy minister Arvydas Sekmokas announced on 18 May that the situation at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant - which stopped operating in December 2009 - is critical. 60% of the funds (mainly offered by the EU) allocated to Lithuania for projects related to the disassembly of the power plant have been spent, however not a single project has been completed. Irregularities in handling the funds and implementation of the projects are raising concerns in the European Commission, in effect of which Lithuania may find it more difficult to obtain further funds for the decommissioning of Ignalina.
Analyses
2010-05-26

On 20 May, the German corporation E.ON joined a consortium implementing the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project, which (along with Nabucco and ITGI) is an element of the EU concept for a gas export Southern Corridor. Although the fact that one of Europe’s largest energy corporations has become a shareholder of TAP does not per se cause a resolution of major problems in the implementation of this project (such as settling the issue of gas transit via Turkey), it still adds strength to the project itself and the Southern Corridor as a whole.
Analyses
2010-05-26

On 22 May, the right-wing coalition Fidesz-KDNP, which won a constitutional majority in the April elections, presented a programme of the new government led by Viktor Orban. No clear concept for resolving the country’s key problems was presented in the programme. At the same time, the right is pushing through changes in voting regulations concerning both parliamentary and local elections.
Analyses
2010-05-26

On 24 May an informal summit of foreign ministers from the Eastern Partnership (EaP) took place in Sopot. The initiators of the meeting were Spain and Poland; by this action, the latter is aiming to activate this EU initiative. The meeting did not bring about any concrete results, and its aim was principally to maintain political dialogue within the framework of the EaP.
Analyses
2010-05-26

 

On 21 May, during a meeting of the heads of state of the customs union in St Petersburg, attempts to reach an agreement failed. This was to have formed the basis for the functioning of a customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Despite this, on 24 May, the Customs Union Commission upheld a decree from President Dmitri Medvedev introducing the legal code of the Customs Union from 1 July 2010 on the territory of these three countries, and providing for the lifting of internal customs barriers.

 

Analyses
2010-05-26

On 21 May the Russian press, citing sources within Gazprom, stated that Belarus is behind on its payments for Russian gas to the tune of US$137mn for the first quarter of this year. This debt results from the fact that Belarus is still paying off its arrears at last year’s price, which is lower than the one currently applicable. As a result, towards the end of this year, Minsk will be faced with the need to pay a significant debt; this could be an additional instrument to strengthen pressure from the Kremlin, which aims to take control over strategic economic assets in.

Analyses
2010-05-26

On 21 May, during a session of the Polish-Russian Inter-Governmental Committee for Economic Cooperation in Moscow, the Russian Minister of Transport Igor Levitin officially proposed that Poland could participate in constructing a Baltic Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in the Kaliningrad region. Without Polish participation in such a project, including an agreement to link the energy systems of both countries, the economic justification for the project seems flawed. Constructing a power plant in Kaliningrad just before another one is planned to be built in Lithuania would make the second project questionable; such a decision may also influence the profitability of other projects in the region, including in Belarus and Poland. Russia’s aims include significantly increasing the countries of the region’s dependence on Russia in the energy sphere.
Analyses
2010-05-26
On 21 May, Turkmenistan’s president Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov unexpectedly signed a decree stating that companies from Turkmenistan will build an internal East-West gas pipeline allowing the transfer of gas from the biggest deposits in Turkmenistan (Dowlatabad and Yolotan) to the Caspian coast. This decision means that Ashgabat is trying to expand its room for manoeuvre in taking decisions on the export of its raw material.
Analyses
2010-05-26

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