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Desire of the Kremlin to Construct a Main to Europe Would Be Not Enough, There Should Be Also a Desire of Europe, Same Germans
Roeva Natalya 23.03.2008
President Victor Jushchenko and prime minister Julia Timoshenko in the recent letter to the General Secretary of NATO Jaap dе Hoop Skheffer expressed hope that countries - members of NATO would make positive decision on the invitation of Ukraine to join the Membership Action Plan in Bucharest on April, 2-4.
Jushchenko and Timoshenko also addressed to the federal chancellor of Germany Angel Меrkel and to the president of France Nicolas Sarcozy with request for support positive decision of NATO on connection of Ukraine to the Plan by Germany and France.
As it's known for today from 26 members of NATO 6 countries - Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Spain - are opponents of connection of Ukraine and Georgia to the Plan and treat negatively acceleration of procedure of membership for these countries.
On the other hand, the USA, the Great Britain, Poland and other countries actively lobby interests of Ukraine and Georgia. So, ten countries of NATO in the joint informal letter to Jaap de Hoop Skheffer supported granting Ukraine and Georgia the Membership Action Plan in NATO. In their opinion, such step would strengthen stability and safety in Europe, "Radio Freedom" transfers. The letter to Skheffer was signed by 9 new members of NATO: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Czechia and also Canada.
Granting Ukraine and Georgia the Membership Action Plan at summit of the North Atlantic Union in Bucharest on April, 2-4 would become logic continuation of a present policy of cooperation with these countries in view of efforts which both of them have applied for reforming of their military and political institutions, is spoken in the letter. Its authors mark that granting of the Plan does not mean invitation to enter NATO. At the same time they warn that refusal to give Ukraine and Georgia the Plan can call into question traditional policy of NATO - a policy of "open doors".
Croatia entering NATO adheres to a similar position. So, the head of Sabora of Croatia Luka Bebich during a meeting with the ambassador of Ukraine in Croatia Markiyan Lubkivsky declared that his country supported integration of Ukraine into NATO. Croatia expecting invitation to become a member of NATO during summit in Bucharest hopes that Ukraine will also receive a corresponding signal on the part of the Alliance. Thus he confirmed readiness of the Croatian side to develop actively with Ukraine interaction in questions of the European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Making comments on disagreements concerning adjoining of Ukraine and Georgia the Plan, the head of the Ukrainian edition of FORUM.msk Vladimir Filin by phone from Rome where he's said:
"Invitation or non-invitation of Ukraine into NATO with caution on a known position of the Kremlin on the given question is only an occasion hiding deep disagreements inside the western camp, running between two leading countries - the USA and Germany.
As we remember, in the beginning of the American military operation against Iraq those disagreements were visible to the naked eye, Gerhard Shreder and Jacque Chirac openly were at enmity with George Bush's administration. At that time Minister of Defence of the USA Donald Ramsfeld directly opposed Franco - German "old Europe" to "new Europe" headed by Poland.
Now times have changed, there are no Shreder, Chirac, Ramsfeld, Bush prepares to leave. Today politicians of both parties of Atlantic prefer not to speak about disagreements, on the contrary, they in every possible way emphasize unity of Europe and America. But in practice disagreements have not disappeared anywhere, simply public show-down has departed on periphery of the Euro-Atlantic space where Ukraine is located.
In general, the dispute on reception of Ukraine (and Georgia) in NATO is only incessant municipal squabble in a triangle Kiev - Tbilisi - Moscow and, first of all, continuation of global rivalry between Washington and Berlin. Thus from the relation of this or that country to participation of Ukraine and Georgia in the Membership Action Plan is possible to judge correctly, on which side this country is - on Franco - German or on Anglo-American.
The same is possible to say and about the relation of different countries of the West to gas-transport projects of the Kremlin. In fact one desire of Russia to build this or that pipe to Europe would be insufficient, it is necessary also to get the desire of the Europe or its part of it. Such desire, first of all, the Germans have. The Americans and their supporters - have return desire - to torpedo gas undertakings of the Kremlin. The same was in 1980th years when gas main Urengoj - Pomary -Uzhgorod was constructing, the same thing happens now with the projects Nord Stream and "The Southern Stream".
As it become recently known, Sweden will not consider the Russian application about construction of the North-European gas main in the Swedish economic zone of Baltic at all.
It has declared by the Ministry of Protection of the Environment of Sweden. As it is stated in the official explanation of refusal, company Nord Stream has not given Sweden necessary list of documents which in this situation are stipulated by the international legislation. So, Stockholm demands from the investor to carry out additional detailed researches which should prove that the gas main does not become the cause of ecological disaster. "Mirror of the Week" informs about it.
Russians should give also the comparative analysis of alternative investments into transit of gas overland and prove to Swedes, that the sea variant will be the most favourable from the point of view of preservation of the environment. All this means, that the beginning of construction of the gas main if it in general will take place, will be removed for one and a half year, and cost of the project will increase up to 15 billion dollars.
The Russians should also give the comparative analysis of alternative investments into transit of gas overland and prove to the Swedes that the sea variant will be the most favourable from the point of view of preservation of the environment. All this means that the beginning of construction of the gas main if it will in general take place, will be removed for one and a half year and the cost of the project will be increased up to 15 billion dollars.
However, in opinion of the edition, it not so is easy to do, at least, in connection to Sweden. In fact more and more signals testifying radical change of a local foreign policy act from Stockholm. The Swedish authority began to realize consistently a policy of reapproachement with the countries located behind the South-East coast of Baltic including Ukraine.
As the expert of Swedish asserts the Ministry of Foreign Affairs professor Krister Vaglbek, company NordStream feeling support of the Kremlin affords impudent actions in relation to the neighbours of Russia. In particular, the company does not answer an official question of the Finnish government asked already in February, 2007 on ecological consequences of construction of a gas main.
The professor reminds also of ignoring by the investor of the Swedish inquiry concerning an alternative route of a gas main on the territory of Poland. As he said, the Russians expected that Sweden and Finland would keep style traditional for the Northern countries to avoid conflicts with Moscow and, despite of discontent with haughty behaviour of the Russians, would not pay attention to the lacks of the given documentation.
It is possible that it would be the end, if the Russian partners didn't go too far in the haughty attitude to the Scandinavians. As the question is about real threat of destruction of unique ecosystem of Baltic and it would be not be forgiven to Moscow even by relatively Russophile Finns.
The question is, in particular, about chemical weapon which is situated, by the way, at the bottom of Baltic close to Bornholm and Gotland. That is on the planned route of a gas main. As experts on questions of the chemical weapon, in particular professor Tadeush Kasperek from Academy of Military Fleet in Gdynia (Poland) assert, solving of this problem without damage to the environment would demand at least of investment of 8 billion Euro and would proceed ten years.
The present level of knowledge and technology does not allow to make it faster and cheaper and the company NordStream till now has not offered any concrete way of clearing of a route of the Baltic pipe from yperite and other fighting poison gases. As it's known, construction of Nord Stream was retarded by Estonia for long. The Russian - German concern wanted to investigate the bottom of Baltic Sea in the Estonian sea economic zone for the change of a route of gas main Nord Stream. But Estonia acted against the idea having forbidden to concern to act on its territory.
"Taking into account the sovereignty of the Estonian Republic in the territorial sea and the state interests in economic zone of Estonia, the government decided not to give Nord Stream sanction to research works", - they informed in the government. The government motivated the decision besides by the fact that research works would give data on volume and opportunities of the use of natural resources of Estonia.
It is interesting that the request to allow researches of a bottom of Baltic Sea in the Estonian sea economic zone the operator of construction of gas main Nord Stream AG sounded on the 31st of May, 2007. But the answer was received by concern only four months ago - at the end of September. Probably, all four months they studied in Estonia the Russian offer.
The prime minister of Poland Donald Tusk has also recently declared categorical absence of plans of his country to join the project Nord Stream. "Poland cannot block this project but, undoubtedly, will not participate in it. It's very expensive", - Tusk said before visit to Moscow on the 8th of February.
Except for ecological arguments the Swedish position was influenced by consecutive blocking of construction of a gas main by the governments of Poland, Lithuania and Estonia. Those countries were the first who spoke against construction of the gas main because of possible environmental problems and later those moods were distributed also to Sweden.
It looks as sharp resistance of Stockholm to the Russian - German gas main is one of displays of a new foreign policy of this country in which unexpectedly a lot of attention goes to Ukraine and Belarus. Recently the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Charles Bilt declared that Ukraine by all means should become a member of the European Community. At the same time the head of foreign policy department expressed rather sharply against the French and German offers to treat the status of Ukraine similar to the one of the Arabian countries of Northern Africa - only as "the neighbour of Europe". At that the proUkrainian declarations of the Swedish minister - are extremely consecutive and courageous if to take into account that they frankly contradict to position of the strongest states of the European Community.
Sweden not only expresses for the benefit of entering of Ukraine in the European structures but also actively propagandizes this principle in the organizations of Northern and Baltic cooperation in which it is the indisputable leader.
Thereof Denmark and Finland can fill up a circle of lawyers of Ukraine in Europe. At the same time one shouldn't forget that Norway Norway being not EU country closely cooperating with Sweden will considerably expand financing projects in Ukraine within the framework of the Norwegian financial mechanism. It is necessary to recollect also that Oslo suggests Kiev to deepen cooperation with the European association of free trade and only indifference of the Ukrainian diplomacy slows down the process in this direction of integration which theoretically could come be finished by membership of Ukraine in EFTA. Therefrom the way to the European economic space would be only formality, "Mirror of the Week" considers.
Meanwhile, gas main Nabucco with budget in 7,4 billion dollars thought out as a defense line against domination of Russia as the large supplier of natural gas in EU now starts to resemble modern "Maginot line", - Кyle Wingfild writes in The Wall Street Journal.
The matter is not only that Russia, so to say, bypasses this gas main with extent of 3300 km from flanks - that is it develops competing projects in the North and the South. In any case Nabucco was planned for no more than 31 billion cubic metre of gas a year from the Central Asia through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to gas-distributing center in Austria. However, according to forecasts, the need for gas for EU by 2020 will exceed this figure several times. So, neither Nabucco which input in operation is planned for 2013, nor any other project can satisfy this demand alone.
No, the trouble is different: Nabucco naked inability of EU to act as a united front in sphere of power safety. Though leaders of EU call this project paramount for their union, Europeans in the most regrettable way do not hasten to support it with their capital investments.
If Europe aspires to strengthen its power safety, first of all it is interested in diversification of the suppliers and routes of transit of gas. The idea is to extend, not be limited to relations with Russia and its state monopolist "Gazprom" - but at the same time not to try to turn away from them, that taking into account spatial affinity and enormous resources of Russia would be non-constructive and simply impossible.
To reduce dependence of Europe on Russia is necessary also because of political reasons. There is a panic on the continent every time when "Gazprom" blocks the gate to Ukraine and Belarus - to the countries which gas mains are used for the deliveries in states - members of EU. However Russia does not have alternative buyers of gas in immediate proximity which could replace the European consumers, so in financial plan long breaks in deliveries - not in its interests.
The fact that Russia invests insufficiently in own gas deposits is more serious problem. Under forecasts of the International power agency, for satisfaction of demand "Gazprom" by 2020 will require new deposits, capable to give about 300 billion cubic metre a year that makes half from the general potential of this company. International Energy Agency also calculated that for the duly beginning of operation of these deposits is necessary to invest 22 billion dollars annually, while capital investments of "Gazprom" on the corresponding purposes make only about 60% of this sum.
However, though all these proved reasons force Europe to search for other suppliers in addition to Russia Nabucco acquired "label of "the antiRussian project", Josias van Aartsen, appointed in the last year on a post of the coordinator of EU on affairs of this gas main, speaks. Thus, the Kremlin strikes back which is expressed both in rhetoric and its own projects of gas mains.
The main place among them is occupied by joint venture of "Gazprom" and the Italian power giant Eni, known under the name "Southern Stream" - a gas main which will deliver gas along the bottom of the Black Sea to Bulgaria and therefrom in Northern direction.
In fact, Medvedev came to Hungary to convince local government to join the project "Southern Stream". It yielded to admonitions. One more participant of project Nabucco - Bulgaria alongside with Greece and Serbia acted in the same way. Besides in January "Gazprom" signed an agreement with large Austrian power company OMV on the purchase of 50% of a share in that gas-distributing center which Nabucco, on idea, would supply. Probably, by way of throughput "Southern Stream" and Nabucco really supplement each other, than compete but these European capitals play safe or feel pressure of the Kremlin.
However, a question here is not only in throughput but also in primary gas sources - and in this respect two gas mains compete. "If for "Southern Stream" the main source is understood as the Caspian gas, these two projects definitely compete among themselves", - Hussein Saltuk Djuzjol, the head of Turkish gas company Botas said on Tuesday in Ankara. In near-Caspian region Russia is extremely active - it aspires to stake out deliveries of gas from Kazakhstan, Тurkmenia and Uzbekistan for itself.
The largest of these suppliers - Turkmenia - now exports gas only to Russia and Iran. In the nearest decades Тurkmenia plans to increase export sharply and also searches for buyers in more remote regions: on the East direction it is China which will receive through a new gas main 30 billion cubic metre of Turkmen gas a year and on the Southern - India and Pakistan. In any case the gas main at the bottom of Caspian Sea is required to deliver Turkmen, Kazakh or Uzbek gas to Europe without intermediary of Russia but it's not been laid yet.
For today the unique direct source of gas for Nabucco is Azerbaijan. But even large Azerbaijan deposit Shakh-Deniz, probably, cannot satisfy demand of numerous consumers. It would be possible to rely on Iran, if its management wouldn't be in such complicated relations with the United States - one of main "fans" of Nabucco.
The time will show what the motive for attack of "Gazprom" is - aspiration to protect its share of market (that would be logical) or more hidden intentions to keep political levers of influence on Europe. In any case viability of the project Nabucco remains under doubt as the gas main loses sources and also, that is even more important, the trust of the market and the governments to it.
It's possible to avoid such situation. Demonstration of political determination in the capitals of Europe could change tone of the debate. For the beginning it would raise trust to representatives of EU or Nabucco at meetings with their colleagues from the Central Asia as the last, probably, will be glad to have a chance to negotiate with someone besides the Kremlin. Probably, it also will convince "Gazprom" that Nabucco is treated by Europe seriously and that it will be more favourable to it to make investments in new gas deposits, instead of risky inventions such as "Southern Stream" which 900-kilometer piece will pass in a bottom of the Black Sea.Leaders of EU express themselves sharply, declaring that they plan power future. However, meanwhile there are no displays of resoluteness. Apparently, cooperation with the Kremlin has big popularity.
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