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The poisoning of Alexey Navalny

At a Glance 21-09-2020

EU-Russia relations hit a new low in August 2020, after Alexey Navalny, one of Russia's leading opposition activists, was poisoned by a banned nerve agent. Although the perpetrators have not yet been identified, the attack has to be seen in the context of repression and growing discontent against Putin. In response to this clear breach of international law and human rights, the EU is considering additional sanctions against Moscow.

In November 2017, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal to fully apply key provisions of the 2009 Gas Directive to gas pipelines between the European Union (EU) and third countries. Member States would need to cooperate with third countries to ensure full compliance with EU rules. The revised directive was seen by many observers as a part of the broader EU response to the Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 project, which the European Commission publicly opposes. The Parliament adopted its ...

Despite being strategically located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Central Asia has long been poorly connected: remote, landlocked, cut off from the main population centres of Europe and Asia by empty steppes and rugged mountains. As well as physical barriers, regulatory obstacles and political repression often inhibit the free flow of people, goods, services and ideas. However, in 2013 China announced its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), one of whose aims is to revive the historic Silk Road ...

Russia and other energy-rich authoritarian states use their energy exports for economic gains but also as a tool of foreign policy leverage. This study looks at the ways and methods these states have used to exert political pressure through their energy supplies, and what it means for the European Union. Most energy-rich authoritarian states use their energy wealth to ensure regime survival. But, more than others, Russia uses its energy wealth as well to protect and promote its interests in its ‘ ...

Russia is increasingly assertive in foreign and security policy, posing a challenge to the post-Cold War, rules-based international order. Following the annexation of Crimea, conflict with Ukraine and intervention in Syria, Russia stands accused of seeking to influence electoral outcomes in the United States and some European countries. Vladimir Putin looks set to be re-elected as Russian President later this month. This note offers links to commentaries, studies by major international think tanks ...

While EU-Russia relations had long been difficult, in 2014 they took an abrupt turn for the worse, after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and fomented separatist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine. To date, little progress has been made towards ending the Ukraine conflict. In addition, new sources of tension have emerged, for example: Russia's military backing for the Assad regime in Syria, and alleged Russian interference in EU politics. In the short term, an easing of tensions seems unlikely. In March ...

In February 2016, the European Commission proposed a new regulation on security of gas supply in order to develop a stronger collective response to future supply risks. Major innovations in the Commission proposal include a solidarity principle that prioritises households and essential social services during an emergency situation; mandatory regional preventive action and emergency plans based on new templates; fewer exemptions on bidirectional capacity, in order to facilitate reverse gas flows; ...

New rules on security of gas supply

At a Glance 05-09-2017

In February 2016, the Commission adopted a proposal to revise the 2010 regulation on security of gas supply. Trilogue negotiations in early 2017 produced an agreed text that was endorsed by the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee in May 2017. The Parliament is due to vote on this text during the September 2017 plenary.

Relations between the European Union and Russia remain strained after, late in June, the EU extended its sanctions against the country until 31 January 2018, citing a lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements aimed at ending the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Russia's annexation of Crimea and its conflict with Ukraine have challenged the post-Cold War security order in Europe. Russia's other assertive foreign policy moves, such as its role in the Syrian war and steps to extend its ...

In April 2017, European Energy Commissioner, Maroš Šefčovič, commented that no commercial project has ever been so intensely debated as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Opponents of the pipeline are above all worried about its geopolitical and energy security implications.