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Leaked EU files show Brussels cover-up and collusion on Putin’s Gazprom abuses

March 26, 2021

By Paul Homewood

 

 

The shambolic EU continues to lurch from one disaster to another:

 

 

 

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Vladimir Putin’s abusive stranglehold over European gas supplies has been laid bare by explosive EU documents, exposing deliberate violations of EU law and a pattern of political bullying over almost a decade.

The longest investigation in EU history found that the Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom has used its enormous power to pressure vulnerable states in Eastern Europe, and to fragment the EU’s unified energy market with coercive pricing policies.

The report suggests that Germany has been enjoying a sweetheart deal with Gazprom, gaining a competitive advantage in gas costs at the expense of fellow EU economies and leaving front line states at the mercy of Moscow’s strong-arm tactics.

Hundreds of pages leaked  from the European Commission paint an extraordinary picture of predatory behaviour, with Gazprom acting as an enforcement arm of Russian foreign policy. Bulgaria was treated almost like a colony, while Poland was forced to pay exorbitant prices for imported flows of pipeline gas from Siberia.

The stash of files slipped to Euro-MPs – in a very rare breach of secrecy rules – amounts a political bombshell. It is highly embarrassing for the EU’s exalted competition directorate. The papers imply that Brussels learned the full truth long ago, yet there are signs that officials may nevertheless be turning a blind eye as they prepare to reach a cosy understanding with Moscow, disregarding fundamental principles of EU law.

Leaked pages paint an extraordinary picture of Gazprom acting as an enforcement arm of Russian foreign policy

“This is a very big deal. What the documents show is that there was systematic abuse of dominant position, and that it was clearly done for political purposes,” said professor Alan Riley, an expert on EU energy law at the Atlantic Council.

“Gazprom was splitting the European energy market at every point. And now the Commission is minded to do a deal that treats the East Europeans as if they were not member states at all,” he said.

The political context is inflammatory. The competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has pursued an aggressive and controversial campaign against US technology companies such as Google and Apple, openly vilifying the Silicon Valley leaders as a threat to European democracy.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/04/12/leaked-eu-files-show-brussels-cover-up-collusion-putins-gazprom/

 

The construction of Nord Stream 2, the second gas pipeline which runs directly to Germany from Russia, has already created much controversy in Europe. Many have pointed out the environmental hypocrisy of Germany, who remain addicted to fossil fuels, despite demanding decarbonisation by others.

Politically though, many are worried that it provides a dangerous tool for Vladimir Putin to exert influence over the continent.

But this latest report underlines just how ready Germany is to throw European unity under a bus, if it suits its national interest.

The fact that the EU has seemingly colluded in all of this is even more shameful, though probably not surprising.

29 Comments
  1. Ian Magness permalink
    March 26, 2021 9:50 am

    Don’t be mean, Ursula von der Leyen says that all the EU wants is its fair share of Russian gas – just like it wants its fair share of British Covid vaccines (that it didn’t help develop, hasn’t paid for and isn’t contracted to receive but don’t work and are unsafe anyway, but apart from that…).

  2. Jack Broughton permalink
    March 26, 2021 10:13 am

    This is the Ambrose Evans Pritchard type approach to Russia I guess.

    If the gas line was not interfering with USA sales of LNG and its attempts to influence Ukraine’s politics, they would not be bothered about the change of gas route. This venture is pure capitalism in that Russia has to pay to send gas through various countries and is trying to avoid that cost, its sales have also been subject to the politics of Ukraine and Poland. It will now trade directly with what will become its biggest gas customer.

    This gas pipeline is the most sensible thing that the German Energy policy has allowed for decades, particularly now that it is getting rid of Nuclear and coal: at least they will have economical gas supplies: we won’t!

    The USA still has not realised that China is now its biggest threat in terms of world domination!

  3. March 26, 2021 10:37 am

    Now tell me that Russia did not help fund & support the anti fracking movement in the EU & U.K. Food & Water Watch which is based in the USA, with an office in Brussels, has been very instrumental in funding & backing Frack Free United. FFU claims to represent all Frack Free groups nationwide in the U.K..

    Winnoah Hauter, the Washington based CEO of FWW earns over £200,000 per annum. Ms Hauter made a special trip to the U.K. to stir up the anti fracking groups into taking action. FFW lobby our government & were involved with meetings held at all the major political party conferences in the autumn of 2019 alongside FFU.

    Why does this matter? Food & Water Watch receive funding from the Sea Change Foundation in the USA which has been reported as receiving Russian funding via a Bermudan shell company. They then distribute the funds to other environmental groups, FWW being one.

    American investigative journalist Kevin Mooney exposed the Russian connection. Look it up on line.

    Putin knows we will end up depending on his gas. He must be laughing his head off at our weak politicians who are falling onto their knees at the behest of the Green NGOSs. Environmental groups are now forcing us to stop all & gas exploration and production. The worst thing is, we are not going to stop using oil & gas for many decades. Putin is no fool.

    I do wonder where some of these environmental groups allegiances lie. Am I the only one?

    • March 26, 2021 1:53 pm

      ‘I do wonder where some of these environmental groups allegiances lie. Am I the only one?’ No you are not but like the rest of us you have no public voice. We have these blogs by people like the good Paul but when do our spokesmen ever go head to head with our enemies on Question Time et al? Our politicos are not that stupid. They, the politicos, know which side their bread is buttered and go with the flow. No politico who’s been in Parliament for five years doesn’t know the job. By default, all are treasonous parasites. As for banning fracking, the anti’s did the same up here in Lancashire with the Cuadrilla operation just this side of Blackpool. The other day the new Council Tax Invoice dropped through the door. the increases over last years figures were modest, our Ribble Valley BC was actually nil. At the bottom of the list was Lancashire Police UP 7.1%! That’s what the anti frackers cost us,

      • Nina Lorraine Allanson permalink
        March 26, 2021 3:20 pm

        Hi Paul, thank you for responding. I took a look at our domestic rate increase and our police charges have gone up 2% so yours is definitely affected by the protests. I believe the protests in my area cost over a £1million but over in Lancashire wasn’t it around £8million?

        It is ironic that much of the negative claims by the antis against fracking were that the gas companies would be incompetent, do shoddy work and not care about peoples safety. In our local paper this week there was an article about a skate park being repaired in a local town. It states;

        “A further programme of remedial works was therefore initiated in early 2019, and a contract was awarded to a local company, with the expectation that all such works would be completed by the end of that year. Regrettably, this contractor has performed poorly, and even before the impacts of the pandemic became evident more than 12 months ago, the completion of such works were overdue, and some aspects of the refurbishment still remain outstanding.”

        Highly damming of a local company, even more so when the owner and director is the man who formed Frack Free United, the national representative group against fracking. He has made many negative and scurrilous claims against the gas companies, he has toured the UK giving talks against shale gas and was even invited to speak to NAO. He also submitted to government a 190 page compendium against shale gas which one of his companies created, with the help of Food and Water Watch. Did they pay his company to do such a lengthy report?

        His company was paid around £22,000 for the work on the skate park, he wrote in his quote that it would last 20 years and save on maintenance costs and that he was ‘doing it for the kids’. He repeatedly said that. He covered the skate park ramps with perforated galvanised steel which was like a cheese grater if the children fell over. The welding was poorly done and it is in fact rusting in places where the children have worn the ramps. He left off cuts of the metal kicking about the site under the ramps and clearly never finished the work to the satisfaction of the town council.

        He is in fact a District Councillor and you would think that the local newspaper would be challenging him about all he said against the gas companies and how his own company has been incompetent by not doing a proper job, not finishing the work and one wonders if he ever really considered health and safety at all in his risk assessment. But the paper was always biased towards the antis and of course, he is a district councillor…..some of whom are without any morals.

      • March 26, 2021 11:53 pm

        Yes Nina, we have a problem, These people like the FFU bloke always, as in always, seem to have a free pass on their activities, it’s no coincidence..

        Yes the policing at the Little Plumpton fracking site near Blackpool was easily £8M plus. With bailiff costs on top. goodness knows how much was racked up.

  4. Bob Schweizer permalink
    March 26, 2021 10:45 am

    Perhaps Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is at last beginning to see the true folly of the climate change alarmists.

    • March 26, 2021 2:04 pm

      Importing vast quantities of gas and then imposing ‘carbon border taxes’ is yet another EU nonsense.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    March 26, 2021 10:58 am

    If only the UK had complete control over a source of dependable natural gas that’d insulate us from knock-on effects of disturbances within the continental gas grid.

    • March 26, 2021 11:19 am

      If only… they have now started to decommission the gas wells in the Vale of Pickering where I live. They have been exploring for & producing gas in the V of P for many decades.

      Then shale gas was discovered & the anti fracking cult took control of the agenda in our area. Outsiders, Green NGOs had more say than locals. It has been a long sorry saga. MPs ran with the utter hysteria the anti fracking propagandists belched out.

      Our own MP was in favour of test drilling to appraise the shale gas reserves. But he could not go anywhere without a childish & petty core group of about 20 people ranting at him & wafting daft placards claiming fracking kills or fracking causes cancer etc.

      Recently, Friends of the Earth were informed that the local generating station would stop using gas from under our feet & instead use gas from the national grid. FoE said that was fine as long as it wasn’t our gas. That was even when it was pointed out to them that it could easily be imported fracked gas in the grid. Frack Free United said the same.

      The insanity of our energy policy really will be catastrophic for any MP wishing to get re elected once the public realise they are being sold a pup by Putins puppets.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        March 26, 2021 2:26 pm

        Hi Lorraine, this clearly is not going to end nicely. A few years ago down here in the Kent Coalfield there were licenses to drill for Coal Bed Methane. Instantly groups of “green” activists swarmed down from London (where else).
        Local ex miners decided to confront them and the average Kent miner is not noted for his subtlety. Guess who got restricted and in some cases arrested – it wasn’t the greenies. The longer this madness goes on the angrier some people will become.

  6. Charles permalink
    March 26, 2021 11:48 am

    Great way to dispose of your carbon as the gas came from outside the EU — invisible.

  7. Mack permalink
    March 26, 2021 12:15 pm

    What is particularly interesting is that the Russians, unlike the gullible fools in the West, know full well that there is no ‘climate emergency’ and will happily use all of the economic and political weapons at their disposal to exploit our weaknesses to their national advantage.

    Out of the 29 major climate models relied upon by the IPCC, the Russian model has tracked closest to observed data and is the least alarming. Their scientists know full well that there is nothing unprecedented happening with the climate and that, in all likelihood, we’ll be entering a cyclical cooling period. With a stranglehold on a large part of reliable European energy supplies moving forward, the Russians will be in a perfect position to use our reliance on ruinous unreliables against us. And, if it helps their cause by funding useless idiots, corrupt policians, tame journalists and green groups in the west to destabilise our energy sector even further, so much the better. Any student of the Cold War will know that such tactics are straight out of the KGB playbook, an organisation that taught Putin everything he knows.

    • bobn permalink
      March 26, 2021 3:47 pm

      Agree Mack. You just left out that what the Russians are doing they learnt from us. We have manipulated, conspired against and interferred with them for decades. Now they dish us our own medicine. They launched RT modelled on the BBC and Voice of America propaganda networks.

  8. March 26, 2021 12:31 pm

    So the Germans, under sweet kind Mutti, are shafting the rest of the EU if it’s to their benefit. What a surprise, NOT!

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      March 26, 2021 2:16 pm

      “EU” is just an EUphemism for “German Empire”

      • March 26, 2021 3:46 pm

        What they couldn’t achieve militarily, the’re now achieving economically?

  9. bobn permalink
    March 26, 2021 12:46 pm

    Gives the game away that this report quotes (is leaked by?) the Atlantic Council. Thats the warmongering neonazi org that runs Western Foreign policy. So just another US hit job.
    Sure Gazprom exploits it near monopoly position in European energy markets – a position given to it by insane western Govt and econut anti-energy policies.
    No different to US Big Tech exploiting their near monopoly positions in communications. Apple, Google, Twitter et al have all used threats, extortion, and blackmail to promote their neo-con domestic and foreign policy positions globally. Big Govts make big monopoly’s that support big Govt. Monopolies Commission – what a joke.
    Scrap the House of Lardie Lords and Nuke the Davos crowd. Less Govt is Better Govt.

  10. iananthonyharris permalink
    March 26, 2021 12:47 pm

    Sick of hearing about the ‘climate emergency’ by credulous vocal idiots. The politicians involved will be long gone by the time the UK is turned over to useless and costly electric cars-and of course, the slave labour producing most of the necessary rare-earth elements don’t seem to bother them one bit.

  11. JimW permalink
    March 26, 2021 12:49 pm

    The ‘Grand Game’ of energy resources in central europe has been going on for decades.
    Germany’s pivot away from the US towards Russia and China partly because of energy resources and also export markets. The US trying to counter with LNG deliveries and pressure on defence capabilities/costs. Its no coincidence that its the ‘Atlantic’ spokesperson talking about Russian behaviour, just part of the ongoing psyop from both sides.
    The UK’s position in this, besides being almost immaterial, is insane. Rather than develop its own resources that are not dependent on weather, it moves further to be totally dependent on imports. of course a few people will get very rich following this path, the majority will pay many times over the present costs for an increasingly interruptable service.

  12. March 26, 2021 2:33 pm

    If the UK (and Scottish) politicians are aware of the risk of dependency on Russian gas, will they think about promoting UK fracking?

    • Russ Wood permalink
      March 26, 2021 3:29 pm

      Er, sorry, but you said ‘think’ in conjunction with the word ‘politician’. In the present day, that is apparently an oxymoron of a phrase. I mean, if anyone who actually THOUGHT in Westminster had read the whole ‘Zero CO2’ manifesto, there would (or, really, SHOULD) be decorations swinging from the lamp-posts of Whitehall and the Embankment. (We couldn’t just ‘tar and feather’ them, because ‘tar’ is actually from ‘fossil fuel’ (scream!) ).

      /sarc (in case you thought I was planning to overthrow the Government – or maybe write a ‘hurty’ Tweet).

  13. Jack Broughton permalink
    March 26, 2021 9:17 pm

    I wonder if the UK will be able to purchase the German gas at a decent price?

    While there is a lot wrong with Russian politics and their desire for a strong-man leader, the USA politicos are if anything more damaging to everyone else, ask Syrians, Iranians, Yemenis and Palestinians for good examples of what they will do to anyone who disagrees with their world-view. Who is leading the climate emergency junk-science but not following it? Who spied on mutti and is probably spying on all of us? ……….Rant over.

  14. March 26, 2021 10:02 pm

    Oh gosh! Russia is using its dominant position in the market to favour some customers over others for base political reasons! Luckily some whistleblower is on hand to leak this iniquity, and a chap from the Atlantic Council to comment on its gravity.

    Next you’ll be telling us that Russia has invaded four Middle Eastern countries and murdered millions of its inhabitants, including two heads of state (oh no, sorry, that was us.)

  15. paul weldon permalink
    March 27, 2021 8:54 am

    Paul, I have been following the progress of Nord-stream for the past 2 decades, and you are off the mark in your comments. The reference to Euronews is also off the mark, it is part of the US politics to stop Nordstream.
    The reference to European countries being against the issue stems from Poland and the Baltic States, who are still annoyed at not being listened to regarding the first pipeline. They argued against it being aid under the Baltic Sea on environmental grounds, in order to have it laid under land and hence giving them access to the gas and recompense for it going through their domain. That is probably one reason why Poland has to pay more. You should consider that no mention is given to ‘Turk-stream’, the southern equivalent which is the pipeline that would affect the Ukraine. Although the pipelines across Europe are inter-connected, I cannot see that what flows through Ukraine can be diverted so far north. Turk-stream started operating in January of this year, so all US attention is now focused on Nord-stream. So all the negative focus is against Russia getting a better deal than from the US.
    Germany is well aware that net zero is not feasible, as is most of Europe. Gas is essential to provide back-up for renewables and it would seem that only the UK thinks it can do otherwise.
    Turkey has also become a centre for gas transit, with a project taking gas from Azerbaijan to southern Europe called the Trans-Anatolian pipeline. I do not hear anything against this pipeline, so it would a appear to be anti-Russia politics..

  16. March 27, 2021 9:04 am

    ,Net is not merely infeasible but quite unnecessary and unhelpful.

  17. March 27, 2021 9:05 am

    “…net zero…”

  18. George Jenatsch permalink
    March 27, 2021 9:57 am

    In the mean time the US have been increasing their oil imports from Russia.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/The-US-Imports-Record-Share-Of-Russian-Oil-Despite-Tensions.html

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      March 29, 2021 7:49 pm

      This is typical USA “doublethink”. They wrecked Venezuela’s economy and oil exports to punish the people for not accepting their puppet governor. However, as they were a major user of Venezuelan oil, which they banned, they now have to import the oil from Russia.

      I used to think that the UKs foreign policy was poor, but now can see how really bad foreign policies “work”. I have visited Russia, USA, Syria etc many times and the people are terrific; how we all get these dangerous, nasty governments is the mystery to me.

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