Berlin and Moscow – What kind of trade is going on there? (slight upd.)

October 3, 2008

A chill in relations in August -September following the Georgian war, but as Europe is starting to turn on its heaters, back to business as usual in EU-Russian gas and business relations. France, and now Germany couldn’t wait much longer and rushed to patch up their strained relations with Moscow. News today:

FT announcement: big deal between Germany’s EON and Russia’s Gazprom. Gazprom even renounced access to downstream assets in Germany. FT reports:

“Significantly, the deal saw Gazprom drop demands for participation in distribution assets in Germany – a cornerstone of Russia’s call for reciprocity in granting direct access for European companies to its vast energy reserves. “

BNE reports today:

Merkel says Georgia and Ukraine not ready for NATO MAP
bne
October 3, 2008

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany still does not believe Ukraine and Georgia are ready to join NATO’s Membership Action Plan (MAP).

“As far as a specific step – MAP – is concerned, Germany’s position has been that the time has not yet come to grant it,” Interfax cites Merkel as saying at a joint news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Merkel said “the position has not changed” since April’s Bucharest NATO summit.

Hadn’t Merkel said something about Georgia’s place in NATO, back in August?

Russia seems to be valuing control of its former empire over Gazprom assets in Europe’s biggest gas market, which is Germany. Watch that space.

UPDATE a few minutes after publishing this post: And it looks like Russia isn’t exactly hurrying up to withdraw its troops from Georgia, as had been agreed with Sarkozy (courtesy Robert Amsterdam)

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