In A Word: Yes

Is Germany Protecting Russia’s Gazprom From Latest Anti-Trust Discovery?

Gazprom

German companies like BASF and Wintershall may be successful at lobbying their government to keep the new Russian pipeline going, despite opposition from Washington. Such are the worries being made behind closed doors within the state owned Central and East European (CEE) gas companies that are no fans of Russia’s Gazprom.

On April 10, someone leaked the Statement of Objections against Gazprom from the European Union’s competition authority known as the Directorate-General for Competition (DG Comp). The leaked document was a 270-page report of abuse cases filed by nearly every Gazprom partner in eastern Europe, including Poland where the news first broke last week…

As Gazprom is responsible for nearly a third of all of Germany’s foreign gas supply, and because Germany has two big companies with money on the line with Gazprom projects, some believe Brussels is ready to let Gazprom off the hook from disputes with at least five countries.

“DG Comp is said to be pressured by some high-ranking German officials to make a soft deal with Gazprom so they can start building the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”

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Russia To Begin Behaving Better Now

Because, well, Germany’s foreign minister has told them to.

Heiko

Thank goodness. I wish someone would have told them this earlier. These tensions with Russia have been really sucky lately. Germany may not be much when it comes to hands-on action in matters like these but they really take the Kuchen (cake) when it comes to giving good advice.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) on Sunday criticized Russia for a series of activities beyond its borders, blaming it for a cyber attack on his own ministry, and said Moscow must change its ways.

Maas listed a series of what he called problematic actions that also included the lack of progress in implementing a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, a poison gas attack in Britain, support for the Syrian government, and efforts to influence Western elections.

“It is time, I think, to point out that we expect constructive contributions from the Russian side, including on the Syrian conflict. And also that they don’t always simply protect (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad.”

German Of The Day: Oligarch

That means oligarch. Take former chancellor Gerhard “Gazprom Gerd” Schroeder, for instance. Please.

Gerd

Sanctions aimed at key individuals can be surprisingly effective, it turns out. They help to undermine internal support for the regime or at least its most unattractive policies.

One oligarch, though, remains overlooked. Arguably he is the most important of all. That’s former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Mr. Schroeder has been a one-man Trojan horse against every European Union commitment to curb Russian energy leverage and improve the competitiveness of its gas market. Notice that the alternative was never to shut Russian gas out of Germany. It was simply for Germany, at every step, to stop lending itself to the enhancement of Russia’s energy power, with Mr. Schroeder leading the influence brigades.

Schröders Engagement in Russland und Nähe zu Putin, den er einen Freund nennt, stößt seit Jahren auf Argwohn. Im vergangenen September ließ sich der Altkanzler allen Einwänden zum Trotz zum Aufsichtsratsvorsitzenden des halbstaatlichen russischen Ölkonzerns Rosneft wählen.

Acute Threat Now Just A Cute Threat

A senior German politician has confirmed today that hackers have been able to collect confidential information from Germany’s government network.

Cyberattack

He quickly stressed, however, that this information was expressly labeled confidential and he is therefore quite confident that the hackers won’t read it.

“Confidential means in confidence, after all,” he said. “So when one indicates confidentiality it imparts that this information is a private, even a secret matter. Intimate even, although we certainly don’t have any of that kind of material in our network. Strictly forbidden, you know. So why would one who is not in confidence read confidential information? Would you? Of course not. I wouldn’t, either. I just wouldn’t have the confidence to do so. Well, it’s been a long week everybody. Have a nicer weekend!”

According to reports in German media, the hackers focused their attack on the foreign ministry, which in the view of some lawmakers would suggest a foreign intelligence agency as the orchestrator of the hacking operation.

While Russia Simulates Bombing Germany…

The Germans are up in arms about Donald Trump’s tax code overhaul in US-Amerika.

Russia

I don’t make this stuff up. It’s all about setting priorities, people. One has to stay focussed on the real dangers facing Germany out there today. Getting annihlated by Russia would be unfortunate, for sure, but the American President handing out “a Christmas present that the majority does not even want” is just too damned much to stomach.

Who knows? That could even give taxpayers in Germany ideas about getting tax breaks over here. Nah. Believe me, it couldn’t.

Das Verhältnis des Westen zu Russland ist seit der Krim-Krise stark belastet. Eine Entspannung ist nicht in Sicht. Nun soll das russische Militär in einem großen Militärmanöver namens “Sapad” die Einnahme Westeuropas geübt haben.

PS: Order your copy of Brain Quest – A Fantastic Voyage through the Progressive Mind today! The paperback is out now, by the way. Get a free sample at Smashwords. Read responsibly.

US-Amerikan Gas Conspiracy In Full Swing

German survey time – and no Russian influence here, either. Honest: BASF-owned Wintershall, one of Gazprom’s closest upstream partners and backer of its Nord Stream 2 project, has published results of a survey which it says indicate that most Germans not only oppose an expansion of US sanctions against Russia but also prefer Russian gas to US LNG.

LNG

More than three-quarters (77 percent) believe that the US is attempting to bolster its own economic interests in the European natural gas market… The survey also showed that the vast majority of Germans (83 percent) reject the planned increase in US economic sanctions, which would also restrict the actives of German and European companies. Only seven percent considered criticism of planned US sanctions as exaggerated.

“Whereas half the Germans surveyed support a further diversification of the natural gas provision, only six percent want more imports of US LNG,”

US-Amerika Breaking International Law Again

Or at least that is what German Minister for Economics Brigitte Zypries (SPD)  has to say about the planned sanctions against Russia, a country that would never even think about breaking international law. They just do it.

Zypries

The new bill would entail sanctions for German and European firms which cooperate with Russia, you see. And Germany is the most international nation there could ever, ever, ever be, hence the international law bit.

And like how could both houses of the US-Amerikan Congress pass such an awful thing, she wonders. Without our permission. That is totally undemocratic.

This could mean war or something, people. Germany’s international welfare is at stake.

“Of course we don’t want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures.”

Russia Feels Germany’s Puzzlement

Speaking at an event in Berlin’s Hotel Adlon, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov could not agree more with German concern for the growing anti-Russian sentiment in Europe and around the world, explaining to understanding listeners that it is all just another anti-Russian conspiracy orchestrated by Washington, the UN, the EU, NATO,  the International Association of Youth Hypnotists, the Society for the Prevention of Plate Tectonics, the Animal Voting Rights Defense League and many, many, many others.

Russia

“Russia bashing these days is just as much a mystery to me as it is to you Germans,” Lavrov said. “Our annexation of the Crimea has long been forgotten, as have our countless bloody covert operations in Ukraine and the open bullying of our Baltic neighbors that is still going on. Our ongoing atrocities in Syria are second page news. And who cares anymore about our relentless and highly sophisticated hacker attacks all over the world, the ones we never committed, I mean? Nor is Germany’s dependence upon Russian gas of any concern to anyone, much less you here in Germany. It’s not like it would ever be used to exert political influence or anything. Then there is this recurring myth about our treatment of the political opposition in Russia. Ridiculous. There is no political opposition in Russia. I could go on and on forever but what’s the point? Like I said, this Russia phobia wackiness sure the hell beats me.”

Lawrow beklagt Russophobie in EU und Nato.

Angela’s Addiction

It’s one of those nasty little family secrets nobody wants to talk about (there are lots of those here in Germany).

Addiction

Or, in this case, nobody is allowed to talk about it because the world’s largest publicly funded (force-funded) news broadcasters are run by the German government.

Addiction can be successfully combated, however. Or so I’ve been told. Although in this particular case it would take a whole lot more than twelve steps to get through.

Already Europe’s biggest gas user, Germany gets about 40 percent of what it consumes from Russia, the world’s largest exporter. That dependence is only going to increase by 2025 to more than 50 percent, especially with output from the Netherlands, Germany’s western neighbor, set to drop in coming years.

Deutschland und die EU streiten darüber, wer mit Russland über den Bau der Pipeline Nord Stream 2 verhandelt. Viele Länder setzen auf die Kommission – auch in der Hoffnung, das Vorhaben so zu beerdigen.

 

European Gazprom Lobby Outraged By US Senate Bill

A US Senate bill aimed at toughening sanctions on Russia has been slammed by leading members of the European Gazprom lobby as a dirty American trick to promote bad American liquefied petroleum gas and squeeze out good Russian gas from the European market.

Gazprom

The two outraged Gazprom spokespersons, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) and German chancellor Angela Merkel, reminded the Americans that “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Germany, that is, Europe to decide and not for the United States of America! We, as Germans, would never put our own economic interests before those of other countries or continents so like stop doing it immediately already. Did I just say we, as Germans? I meant we, as Europeans, of course.”

Ex-Kanzler Gerhard Schröder (SPD) leitet den Verwaltungsrat des Unternehmens Nord Stream II, das dem russischen Energiekonzern Gazprom gehört. Kürzlich erst hatten sich Gabriel, Schröder und der russische Präsident Wladimir Putin am Rande des russischen internationalen Wirtschaftsforums in St. Petersburg getroffen. Schröder hatte auf dem Forum für den Bau der Nordstream-Pipeline geworben.