Lately, the relations between Minsk and Kiev have intensified evidently. It is considered that they are stimulated by the EU program “Eastern Partnership” launched on May 7th and in the end of the project of “Union state”, marked by a scandalous statement of Russian Vice Prime-Minister and the Minister of Finance Aleksey Kudrin about oncoming collapse of Belarusian economy made on May 28th in Minsk. The following harsh and negative reaction of Aleksander Lukashenko guided Minsk to search for new various schemes with other states. And primarily with such neighbors as Ukraine and Lithuania on bilateral and multilateral grounds.
With memories of this winter's gas price row between Russia and Ukraine still fresh, the Czech and Slovak governments are taking another look at the promise of nuclear power. When Slovakia joined the European Union five years ago, one of the terms of accession was that it shut down a Soviet-era nuclear plant by 2008.
E.ON Ruhrgas executive Jochen Weise claimed the former Eastern Bloc countries hardest hit by January's gas crisis were like "junkies", adding that nations dependent on Russia for their gas supply "had to do their homework".
Experts from Washington have called on the EU to be more daring and propose closer ties with its large Eastern neighbour. But European Commission officials told that the current mood in Europe was not exactly in tune with such an approach.
Gas and oil supplies to energy-hungry Europe have always featured as the key topic in talks between Astana and EU officials, concerning Kazakhstan's OSCE chairmanship in 2010. Stifled by the precarious situation in the energy sector, the EU has often ignored the heavy-handedness of the Kazakh authorities in dealing with the opposition press, and has toned down its criticism on the non-compliance of Kazakhstan's laws with democratic standards. In appreciation of western backing for Kazakhstan's coveted chairmanship of the OSCE, Astana invariably showed interest in European energy projects.
Gazprom has gone from being a great commercial hope to an ailing giant. Gazprom`s owners need to face up to the crisis and institute reforms.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday called on the international community to help Ukraine finance its gas bill so as to avoid a fresh gas war. Ukraine is due to pay its bill for Russian gas intended for domestic consumption and stocking in underground reservoirs on June 7, Putin said in a statement posted on his website.
For years, analysts have argued that the Nabucco natural gas pipeline -- a U.S.-backed effort to transport gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe via Turkey, thus bypassing Russia -- needed to accept gas from Iran if it was to be economically viable. But Iranian involvement in the project, which is intended to reduce European energy dependence on Russian gas exports, has been anathema for U.S. policymakers: Washington's efforts to thwart Iran's ambitions have so far overridden its desire to thwart Russia's.
Lithuanian Mass Media Review.
Turkmen President Gurbangulu Berdymuhammadov made an official tour to Europe, including Belgium, Germany and Austria over 6 months ago. The president commissioned Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov to hold direct talks with the European Union next two months, official sources said.