Friday

20th Sep 2019

EU-Russia summit to focus on climate and energy

Global warming and energy security are to dominate the EU-Russia summit next week. But Sweden is also keen to raise the more painful topics of North Caucasus and Georgia violence at the talks.

EU delegates at the lunchtime meeting in Stockholm on 18 November are to urge Russia to move far beyond its current promise to cut CO2 emissions by just 10 to 15 percent by 2020.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Russia's Dmitry Medvedev (c) with EU leaders at celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (Photo: kremlin.ru)

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and EU commission head Jose Manuel Barroso are also keen to ask Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to give clear political assurances that any fresh price disputes with Ukraine will not see gas cut-offs to EU states.

The summit priorities, set out in an internal EU document to be approved by foreign ministers next week, come less than one month before the Copenhagen climate change summit and amid rumblings of another gas crisis this winter.

The EU is keen for developed countries to pledge emissions cuts of 20 to 30 percent in the Danish capital next month.

Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (11 November) repeated threats that he will reduce gas supplies to EU transit state Ukraine if it does not make payments promptly.

Lower down the agenda, the Swedish EU presidency plans to tell Russia that its idea of joining the World Trade Organisation in a bloc with Kazakhstan and Belarus will seriously delay membership and undermine confidence at a time when foreign investment in Russia has dived by 45 percent over the past six months.

None of the three agenda items are expected to lead to a binding deal in Stockholm, with the potential summit "deliverables" limited to re-launching an Early Warning Mechanism on energy cut-offs, a pact on sharing classified information and new funding for cross-border programmes.

Sweden also wants EU foreign ministers to give it the green light to talk about assassinations of human rights campaigners and Moscow's non-compliance with French-brokered peace accords in Georgia.

The post-summit press briefing is likely to contain boilerplate EU statements about the need to respect human rights and rule of law.

But behind the scenes, Sweden wants to know more details about escalating violence in North Caucasus, the unpunished murders of prominent charity workers and journalists and Russia's covert military build up in occupied Georgian territory.

Havel plea for EU values

The summit venue was almost moved from Stockholm to Brussels during preparatory talks earlier this year, due to Russia's dislike of Sweden's harsh criticism of its invasion of Georgia in 2008.

The EU-Russia meeting comes at a time of sensitive recollections for many people in one-time Communist and Soviet EU countries.

Czech former president and dissident Vaclav Havel in a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday on the occasion of the end of the Iron Curtain 20 years ago urged the EU to remain on guard against creeping authoritarianism today.

"We need to show clear and unequivocal solidarity with anyone anywhere in the world confronted by a totalitarian or authoritarian government," he said.

Mentioning the murders of journalists in a clear allusion to recent events in Russia, he added: "If people stop talking about these things, it's not a real partnership anymore because its based on duplicity."

Analysis

How should the EU handle Russia now?

Should West help Russian opposition in its struggle against the regime, or make new deals with Putin, as France is keen to do?

Central European leaders demand Balkan EU accession

Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia have demanded to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania this year, as Hungary's man prepares to take over the enlargement portfolio.

Just 5% of Europeans trust Trump

European voters believe that EU's foreign policies should be more coherent and effective in order to remain neutral in potential international conflicts, since most EU citizens no longer rely on the US security guarantee, according to a new report.

News in Brief

  1. Austria to veto EU trade deal with South America
  2. Brexit minister asks EU for 'flexibility' to secure a deal
  3. Kovesi has 'sufficient majority' for prosecutor post
  4. France, Finland give UK ultimatum for Brexit plan
  5. Minsk talks bode ill for EU's peace summit on Ukraine
  6. Poll: Poland's nationalist rulers to win October election
  7. Irish lawyers clash with EU commission in Apple case
  8. NGOs take aim at EU smartphone pollution

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  2. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  3. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  4. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  5. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants
  6. Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'
  7. A new Commission for the one percent
  8. Juncker: No-deal Brexit 'palpable'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us