Ministers, ambassadors and envoys from at least 15 countries, including Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission’s Vice President for the Energy Union, are gathered today in the Azerbaijani capital to discuss the progress on the Southern Gas Corridor, the largest energy project the EU is currently pursuing.
But over the past couple of months, it seems the European Commission’s justifications for this controversial undertaking have been crumbling by the day.
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia - Sakhalin Environment Watch (SEW), Bankwatch member group in Russia's far east, has been ordered by the Russian authorities to register itself as a 'foreign agent'. The group rejects claims it is engaged in any political activity, and intends to contest the decision. If the decision is not repealed, the group will consider shutting down.
The study explains why the Southern Gas Corridor, the EU’s new pet energy project, is not only unnecessary in light of gas demand projections, but also seems likely to fall short on the much flaunted goal of bringing energy independence from Russia.
The letters were sent shortly before the EBRD's board of directors are to approve a loan for the Naftogaz Emergency Pipeline Upgrade and Modernisation project. Since the project has not yet passed through all environmental and social procedures, Bankwatch asked the EBRD's president and its board in separate letters to postpone the board decision.
With Ukraine’s ongoing fight for sovereignty and integrity emphasising once more the country’s energy vulnerability in front of Russia, the need to radically reform the Ukrainian energy sector became crucial for the survival of the country. And yet, moves in this direction are way too slow. Despite positive rhetoric on the need to prioritise energy efficiency, some European donors such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development continue with business as usual, spending huge resources on large infrastructure projects that do not address the country’s immediate need for improved energy security.
The recent rejection to release Evgeny Vitishko's, an imprisoned environmental activist in Russia, illustrates the backlash against fundamental rights and freedoms in some countries. Multilateral development banks need to take notice of this trend and be more wary of the risk that their lending may strengthen authoritarian regimes.
CEE Bankwatch Network strongly condemns the Russian government's military invasion and annexation of Crimea and Sebastopol. We hope that in the end the voices of those who have been demonstrating for peace in Moscow and elsewhere, in both Russia and Ukraine, will prevail.
The European Union has already responded to the Crimean declaration of independence by announcing travel bans and bank account freezes for 48 individuals from Russia and Ukraine linked to the Crimean breakaway.
Paris, 24 June 2013 - Sherpa, Russie-Libertés, CEE Bankwatch Network and MOBO Princip, as well as members of Russian civil society such as the environmental activist Evgenia Chirikova, today submitted to the Public Prosecutor of Nanterre, France, a complaint relating to the conditions in which the NORTH WEST CONCESSION COMPANY - NWCC - , which is wholly owned by the French company VINCI CONCESSIONS RUSSIE, was awarded a public contract in 2009 concerning the construction of the highway between Moscow and Saint Petersburg.