UKRAINE: News of day
Courtesy of: Council of the EU (Belgium), Council on Foreign Relations (USA), Parlamento Europeo (Belgium) and Transitions (Czech Republic)
- COUNCIL OF THE EU
* 19/05/2022 10:21 | Press release |
Gas storage: Council and Parliament reach a provisional agreement
An important step to improve EU security of supply in the context of the war in Ukraine was taken today with the provisional political agreement reached between the Council and the European Parliament on the legislation on gas storage. The proposed regulation aims to ensure that storage capacities in the EU are filled before the winter season and can be shared between member states in a spirit of solidarity.
The co-legislators agreed during inter-institutional negotiations that underground gas storage on member states’ territory should be filled to at least 80% of their capacity before the winter of 2022/2023 and to 90% before the following winter periods. The Union will attempt collectively to fill 85% of the underground gas storage capacity in 2022. The filling obligation will be limited to a volume of 35% of the annual gas consumption of member states over the past five years, in order to avoid a disproportionate impact on certain member states with significant storage capacity.
The provisional agreement also stipulates that member states could partially meet the 90% target by counting stocks of liquefied natural gas (LNG) or alternative fuels stored at the facilities.
As not all member states have storage facilities on their territory, the co-legislators agreed that member states without storage facilities would have access to gas storage reserves in other member states. In order to share the financial burden of filling obligations, member states without underground storage facilities will use storage capacity corresponding to 15% of their annual gas consumption over the past five years. As an alternative, member states may organise the establishment of an alternative burden-sharing mechanism.
The co-legislators decided on a ‘filling trajectory’ system, which will allow continuous monitoring throughout the filling season. In 2022, the trajectories will be set in the regulation with a margin of flexibility of 5%. From 2023 onwards, the trajectories will be proposed by the member states and established by implementing acts adopted by the Commission.
The Council and the Parliament also agreed on compulsory certification of all storage system operators in order to avoid the potential risks of external influence on critical storage infrastructures, which could jeopardise the security of the energy supply and other essential security interests. The certification will prioritise larger storage facilities and storage facilities, which have recently been filled to consistently low levels. Member states will have 150 days after the entry into force of the regulation to certify the prioritised facilities and 18 months to certify the other facilities. Uncertified operators will be required to relinquish ownership or control of storage facilities.
The Council and the Parliament agreed to add a reference concerning the diversification of gas suppliers and the reduction of the EU’s energy dependence in a recital of the regulation. They also added using joint purchases of gas in the list of measures that member states can take in order to ensure the filling objectives. The list contains among other things financial incentives, instruments requiring gas suppliers to store minimum volumes of gas in storage facilities and instruments requiring storage capacity holders to use or release unused booked capacities.
The co-legislators agreed that the filling obligations would expire on 31 December 2025 whereas certification obligations will continue beyond that date. They also decided to grant a derogation to Cyprus, Malta and Ireland as long as they are not directly interconnected with the gas system of other member states.
* 19/05/2022 15:36 | Media advisory |
Media advisory - Foreign Affairs Council (Development) of 20 May 2022
All times are approximate and subject to change
Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy 09.30
Beginning of the Foreign Affairs Council (Development)
Adoption of the agenda
Adoption of Non-legislative A items
Global implications of the Russian aggression against Ukraine with a focus on food security and the multilateral response
Any other business
Joint doorstep by the High Representative together with UN High Commissioner Grandi (Live streaming from Europa forum) At the end of the meeting (+/- 14.30) - Press conference in live streaming.
Arrangements for the press conference
The press conference will take place in a hybrid format: EU accredited journalists will be able to participate and ask questions either remotely or in person at the Justus Lipsius press room.
If you haven’t registered for previous Foreign Affairs Council press events, please use this link to do so and have the possibility to ask questions remotely.
• Deadline for registration: Friday, 20 May 2022, 13.00
Further instructions will be sent to all registered participants shortly after the deadline.
Videos and photos from the event
Visit the website
- COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
* Top of the Agenda
Biden to Talk North Korea, Indo-Pacific Economic Framework on Asia Trip
U.S. President Joe Biden sets off today (AP) to visit South Korea and Japan. In Seoul, he and new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol will discuss issues including North Korea’s nuclear tests. In Tokyo, Biden is set to announce details of an economic initiative for the Indo-Pacific region and meet with leaders of countries in the so-called Quad.
The economic framework is designed to strengthen U.S. influence (Nikkei) in the Indo-Pacific by boosting cooperation on issues such as supply-chain resilience and labor standards. Countries including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Singapore expressed interest in joining, while Vietnam and other countries in the region have called for more clarity on the plan.
“You’re seeing a lot of the countries in the region say to [the United States], ‘If you want in the game in geopolitics in Asia, it’s great that you bring hard power, and your security relationships are fundamental to peace and stability, but we also need you in the trade game,’” CFR’s Sheila A. Smith says on The President’s Inbox podcast.
“If the United States can prioritize economic statecraft oriented toward stability and peace, help Asian economies reduce inequality and adapt to climate change, and give up its effort to sustain a hegemony it no longer has, it will help Asia create a stability that is not only greater, but better and more just,” Victoria University of Wellington’s Van Jackson writes for Foreign Policy.
For Foreign Affairs, the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Kristi Govella and Bonnie S. Glaser discuss how Biden’s trip could help improve Japan-South Korea relations.
* Pacific Rim
China Reportedly Seeks Russian Oil for Strategic Reserves
Beijing and Moscow have held talks about replenishing China’s strategic oil reserves with supplies from Russia, unidentified sources told Bloomberg.
U.S., Development Banks Announce Plans for Relief From Global Food Crisis
The U.S. government and banks such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank will spend tens of billions of dollars (AP) to address the global fertilizer supply crisis and develop additional land for food production amid disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine.
This In Brief discusses how the war has amplified food insecurity in the Middle East.
U.S./Ukraine: The U.S. Senate confirmed Bridget Brink (WaPo) as the new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and the United States reopened its embassy in Kyiv.
- PARLAMENTO EUROPEO
Ufficio di collegamento in Italia
Il PE approva la sospensione dei dazi UE su tutte le importazioni ucraine • Le misure riguardano prodotti industriali, frutta e verdura, acciaio
• La sospensione è valida per un anno
• L’UE è il più importante partner commerciale dell’Ucraina
Giovedì, il Parlamento ha approvato la sospensione, per un anno, dei dazi doganali UE su tutte le importazioni ucraine, per sostenere l’economia del paese.
Tale liberalizzazione temporanea del commercio arriva in risposta all’impatto della guerra russa contro l’Ucraina che sta ostacolando la capacità commerciale del paese. La procedura è stata accelerata per consentirne l’adozione odierna in Plenaria.
Le misure prevedono la completa rimozione, per un anno, dei dazi all’importazione di prodotti industriali, dei dazi doganali di prodotti ortofrutticoli, nonché dei dazi antidumping e le misure di salvaguardia sulle importazioni di acciaio.
Il testo legislativo è stato approvato con 515 voti favorevoli, 32 contrari e 11 astensioni.
"Di fronte all’aggressione russa, l’Ucraina sta combattendo non solo per la propria libertà e sicurezza, ma anche per quella di tutta l’Europa. Pertanto, dobbiamo sostenere l’Ucraina a tutti i livelli con ogni strumento a nostra disposizione: non solo con armi e sanzioni, ma anche con il nostro potere commerciale. Dare all’Ucraina il sostegno di cui ha bisogno per difendersi non si esaurisce sul campo di battaglia, ma include la garanzia che l’economia ucraina rimanga solida e competitiva. Oggi dobbiamo dimostrare che il nostro sostegno all’Ucraina è assoluto, incrollabile e irreversibile, attuando queste misure di liberalizzazione commerciale senza precedenti. Slava Ukraini!", ha dichiarato la relatrice permanente per l’Ucraina Sandra Kalniete (PPE, LV).
Le relazioni tra l’UE e l’Ucraina sono regolate da un accordo di associazione. La zona di libero scambio globale e approfondito (Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area – DCFTA), parte dell’accordo di associazione, garantisce alle imprese ucraine un accesso preferenziale al mercato UE dal 2016.
L’UE è il più importante partner commerciale dell’Ucraina e ha rappresentato più del 40% del suo commercio totale di beni nel 2021. L’Ucraina è la destinazione di circa l’1,2% del commercio complessivo dell’UE.
* Prossime tappe
Il testo entrerà in vigore il giorno successivo alla pubblicazione nella Gazzetta ufficiale dell’Unione europea.
18 May 2022
THE BIG STORY: GUILTY PLEA IN UKRAINE WAR CRIMES TRIAL
What happened: In the first war crimes trial of a Russian soldier in Ukraine since Moscow launched its invasion 84 days ago, the accused serviceman pleaded guilty today, AFP reports. Sergeant Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was charged with the premeditated killing of a 62-year-old civilian in northeast Ukraine.
More context: The global food crisis stemming from Russia’s invasion could become “apocalyptic,” the governor of the Bank of England has warned, according to The Telegraph. Global food price increases and surging inflation “is not just a major worry for this country,” Andrew Bailey said, “it is a major worry for the developing world.”
Worth noting: Nearly 700 more Ukrainian troops in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks have surrendered, bringing the total to almost 1,000, the Kremlin announced today, Reuters reports. However, a Russian-backed leader in the region told local media that the main commanders inside the complex have yet to surrender. Ukrainian authorities are not commenting on the situation due to ongoing negotiations over the surrender, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said.
Central Europe and the Baltics
• Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan claims “organized crime” may be involved in the flow of refugees from the war in Ukraine with dual Hungarian-Ukrainian citizenship, many of whom are Roma, Romea reports. Rakusan met with his Ukrainian counterpart Denys Monastyrsky to request that Ukrainian police investigate if “people are perhaps being dispatched in an organized way to cross the border into the EU to take advantage of benefits to which they otherwise have no right," Rakusan said yesterday. Roma refugees with Hungarian citizenship are not eligible to receive benefits in fellow EU member Czechia, Rakusan said last week, Echo24.cz reported.
• A court in Latvia sentenced a man to five years in prison yesterday for spying on behalf of Russia, Baltic News Network reports. According to a report from the State Security Service, Valentins Frolovs passed on information about the location of NATO forces and other military matters.
• Food and energy shortages will make this coming winter in Serbia “the most difficult in the last 70 years,” partly due to the country’s refusal to join sanctions against Russia, President Aleksandar Vucic said Sunday, according to Index.hr. “We would be 10 times better off if we imposed the sanctions, but we won’t do it,” Vucic said in a televised address. “[W]e are losing billions because of this, not to mention the reduced direct investments and that seven American producers and actors refused to come to make films because we did not impose sanctions on Russia,” Vucic also said, according to N1.
Eastern Europe and Russia
• Ukraine has apparently conducted another military attack on Russian territory, The Moscow Times reports. Russian officials said a village and a sugar refinery were shelled in the Kursk and Belgorod regions late Tuesday. Kyiv has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for past strikes on Russian territory.
• Russia’s war on Ukraine could force a rethink of EU states’ military spending, Politico writes. The European Commission is expected to propose today that it help member states coordinate their defense spending and combine their purchasing bids in order to gain an advantage in the market. Meanwhile, Germany is considering seizing Russian Central Bank assets in order to fund Ukraine’s postwar reconstruction, Euractiv reports.
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