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Analyses |
The new Hungarian government is holding negotiations with the Russian company Surgutneftegaz about buying 21% of its shares of the MOL oil and gas company. The problem with this transaction estimated at EUR 1.5 billion is Hungary's financial condition. An agreement between Russia and Hungary on MOL will probably be accompanied by concessions to Russia in other energy projects, for example an agreement for Russian firms to take part in the extension of the Paks nuclear power plant.
Analyses |
On 18 June Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico announced that Slovakia will not support the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) for euro zone countries unless the Slovak centre-right – which won a majority of seats in parliamentary elections on 12 June – declares support for it. The outgoing government is attempting to share the blame for accepting the unpopular decision to bind Slovakia to providing loan guarantees to almost 4.5 billion euros. It is attempting through this to weaken the credibility of the centre-right coalition currently being formed.
Analyses |
On 18 June President Vaclav Klaus named the current vice-president of the Czech National Bank (CNB), Miroslav Singer, as its new president. The taking on of the role of president of the CNB by a person sharing the economic views of the country’s president will mean a continuation of the current CNB policy; an unwillingness for the Czech Republic to enter the eurozone. Together with the lack of agreement among parties set to form the future government as regards the strategy for joining the eurozone, the perspectives for the Czech Republic signing up are being postponed.
Analyses |
On 18 June Slovenia’s minister of foreign affairs, Samuel Zbogar, stated that Croatia will not complete its EU accession negotiations unless it raises the ban on the activity of the Slovenian bank, NLB (Nova Ljubljanska banka) on the Croatian market. The establishing of an agreement in the border conflict between the countries, however, raises hopes that the NLB case, along with other Zagreb-Ljubljana issues, will be solved without blocking Croatia’s accession negotiations.
Analyses |
The annual report of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) for 2009 was released 21 June this year on the topic of security threats for Germany. The head of the Ministry of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere, while presenting the report, pointed to espionage against German state institutions and private firms conducted by foreign intelligence agencies as the greatest challenge for German counter-intelligence. The publication of the problem of industrial espionage in the report is part of a strategy of German intelligence agencies to make businessmen aware of the scale of the threat and to encourage them towards a cooperation with BfV in fighting this problem.
Analyses |
Mid-June saw the publication of a ranking of CO2 emitters among EU firms. The top places were taken by German firms – RWE and E.ON. Those firms are encountering considerable costs in purchasing carbon emission credits and thus are leaning towards the development of energy production technology with low carbon emissions (nuclear, wind power) and are lobbying in the EU to limit further increases in the cost of CO2 emissions. In the short term they are a natural supporter of EU countries against increases in climate protection policy.
OSW Commentary | | Justyna Gotkowska
Germany has set its own bilateral cooperation with partner countries in the east above the joint projects of the Eastern Partnership. In doing so, Berlin's guiding principle is that German money allocated for the projects on development cooperation in the east should bring political and economic benefits first of all to Germany.
Analyses | | Wojciech Górecki, Marek Matusiak
Russia’s probable intervention in Kyrgyzstan is likely to meet with the acceptance of world opinion. By stabilising the situation in that country, Moscow will pursue the expansion of its influence in Central Asia and the strengthening of its position with regard to the other players in the region
Analyses |
On 13 June, by a decree of President Dmitri Medvedev, the head of the federal agency for the provision of arms, equipment and materials (Rosoboronpostavka), Viktor Cherkesov, was fired. A month earlier, the agency he directed, which hitherto had been subordinate to the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, was subjected to the defence ministry. This decision has strengthened the position of the defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov; now he has taken exclusive control over state defence procurement, the independence which the other departments of force had had in this field will now be curtailed.
Analyses |
On 8 June, Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance received a US$2bn loan from the Russian bank Vneshtorgbank (VTB). The nature of the loan indicates that it will be used to support the Ukrainian budget. The loan has a favourable interest rate, but it is unclear whether Moscow has placed any additional conditions on its support for the Ukrainian government, and if so, what those might be.