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The European Union has been increasing efforts to maintain gas supply security especially vis-à-vis its main gas supplier, Russia. In that context, Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, serving either as gas suppliers (Azerbaijan) or transit/corridor countries (all the others except Armenia), have an undeniable role for the EU. Security of gas supply depends on close EU cooperation with its EaP partners and interconnections between them. There have been some welcome developments, such as the Southern ...

The Eastern Partners were among the first countries to launch mobility dialogues with the EU. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have also engaged in a process of visa liberalisation, which has been completed in the Republic of Moldova and is in its final stages in Georgia and Ukraine. In addition, the Association Agreements with these countries include provisions, which will be applicable from 2017 for the temporary presence – up to two years – of natural persons in EU Member States. Notwithstanding ...

The quest for oil markets abroad can be seen as an attempt by US companies to find higher prices and profits and avoid bankruptcy, since the current low price of oil, resulting from OPEC's strategy of oversupplying the market, is making shale-oil production in the US less and less profitable. The impact of potential US oil exports on the European Union's energy security is expected to be limited in the short term. The oil market is oversupplied, prices are depressed and are only expected to increase ...

The EU's trade policy does not exist in a vacuum. On the one hand, it is affected by international standard and rule-setting. On the other hand, the EU is itself an influential actor shaping the international trade agenda by participating in the work of international organisations and fora. This short note focuses on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Faced with a deteriorating economy, unstable internal security and the financial repercussions of military efforts in the east, Ukraine is striving to create a business-friendly climate. To this end, the country is preparing for the enforcement by 1 January 2016 of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) created under the Association Agreement with the EU. The war and a decline in industrial output have led Ukraine's foreign trade to contract. Imports have been hit by the country's shrinking ...

Plans for gas pipelines in south-eastern Europe have experienced great upheaval in recent years, the result of business competition as well as the ongoing stand-off between Europe and Russia. The projects' advances and reversals reflect shifting strategies: those of new suppliers to find clients, those of traditional suppliers to conserve their markets and avoid regulatory impediments, and those of both suppliers and clients to ensure greater reliability. For many, this means planning to bypass Ukraine ...

The six countries in the EU's Eastern Partnership are sandwiched between two large, potent trading blocs: the EU to the west, and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) to the east. Most of the six have chosen to pursue a deeper alliance with one or the other bloc – a tough choice, reflecting both political and economic factors. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine signed Association Agreements with the EU on 27 June 2014. Armenia and Belarus chose to accede to the Eurasian Economic Union (belatedly ...

Cecilia Malmström, the recently-confirmed European Commissioner for Trade, appeared before the European Parliament on 29 September 2014 to answer MEPs' questions. In that hearing and in her answers to the questionnaire prepared for the meeting in advance, Commissioner Malmström made a number of statements of interest to the European Parliament. This document provides a summary of her most salient points.

This compilation of briefings presents the most salient points and essential commitments made by the commissioners-designate during the hearings held in September/October 2014 before the parliamentary committees. These commitments concern the main on-going legislative procedures, the preparation of future legislative proposals as well as the scrutiny of the implementation of existing legislation. They also touch upon the crucial issue of inter-institutional cooperation.

A recent agreement between Moscow and Kyiv, triumphantly heralded by the European Commission, is unlikely to prove everything promised by an outgoing Commission President José Manuel Barroso. Brokered by the EU, the deal should preclude a repeat of the winter gas crisis that hit Ukraine and the EU in 2006 and 2009. Already, Russia – which cut supplies to Ukraine in June 2014, when pro-Russian separatists were waging war in eastern Ukraine – has agreed to restore the supply in the cold months ahead ...