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Home arrow newsitems arrow Prime Minister Sanader to EuroFora on Croatia in EU/CoE Energy plans for Sea-River Transport

Prime Minister Sanader to EuroFora on Croatia in EU/CoE Energy plans for Sea-River Transport

Written by ACM
Thursday, 05 February 2009

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Prime Minister of Croatia, Ivo Sanader, speaking to "EuroFora" at the conclusion of his visit to EU Parliament, which just voted on "EU's Energy Strategy" strongly supporting Liquefied Gas and Sea-River Ship Transport, at the same time with an even more specific Motion by PACE's MEPs, revealed that he is discussing with EU Commission Zagreb's contribution to EU Energy policy, where "Ships are important".

Croatia will bring into the EU another part of Danube river, which crosses Vukovar, leaving Serbia as the last "Missing Link" for a Black Sea - North Sea network via Danube and Rhine rivers, open to big Ships since 2001, through EU's Industrial heartland. (See earlier EuroFora publication).


But it will also add a large portion of Europe's Seaside and Coasts : That's why, -"Yes, Ships are important for us", Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader replied with a smile to "EuroFora" question.

- "I spoke with EU Commission's President Baroso on the ways Croatia could serve Europe's Energy needs, and he just sent an Expert for detailed discussions", added Sanader

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    The Resolution adopted earlier this week in Strasbourg by EU Parliament on "Energy Strategy" strongly asks for "Liquefiied Natural Gas (LNG) capacities, consisting of Liquefication facilities", "LNG Terminals and SHIP-based regasification in the EU", which "should be available to all Member States... on the basis of a Solidarity mecanism". "New LNG Terminals" are "projects of European Interest, on account of their key contribution to the Diversification of Supply Routes", EU Resolution adds.

    In  a timely reply to any attempt by any Third Country to exploit Pipelines for implicit (comp.Ukraine - Russia economic differend) or explicit pressure on EU, (comp. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's political threats), MEPs also warned that, "relations with Energy Transit countries should in no circumstances take place to the detriment of EU's Values, with regard to respect of Human Rights", but only "go hand by hand with" that.

     - "Many European Countries are almost entirely reliant on natural gas from geographically very limited sources, ...transported ...mostly by Pipelines. i. e. only in fixed routes that cannot be simply modified in conformity with changing conditions of the Market and of the Psituation. Consequently, occasional Crises caused by various disturbances cannot be promptly and successfully solved", denounced meanwhile a Motion tabled at PanEuropean CoE's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE).

    At the initiative of EU Chair, Czech Republic's MEP Milos Melcak, and signed by many other MEPs from various CoE Countries, PACE's Motion concludes that ,"completely New solutions must be taken to diversify ..Gas transport".

    It supports "combined River-Sea LNG tankers of varied origin", from Russia or Asia up to "Algeria, Middle East, etc", for a "New Diversified System of Gas Transportation","using" mainly "the Danube River".

    For "long-distance Marine transportation,...at the moment there is a Boom in the fleet" of "special LNG carriers", "with a total of more than 140 vessels on order at the world's Shipyards...The majority of the new Ships under construction are in the size of 120,000 to 140,000 m³. But there are orders for Ships with capacity up to 260,000 m³", which "can carry 156 mil. m3 of gas".

    "Barges and vessels for River and canal transport of LNG ...have usually a capacity ..equivalent to ...2.4 mil. m3 of natural gas", with "a possibility to increase this..up to 12 mil. m3 of natural gas) on rivers offering sufficient heights of bridges".

    "Danube River is of great potential in this regard, as it offers bridges of sufficient height and permits vessels of advantageous size. Moreover, ...Danube... (added to Rhine, Rhone, a.o. adjacent Rivers) follows a course parallel to the transport flows of natural gas from all important sources of this fuel including Middle East, Algeria and countries overseas", so that this "enables a ... Diversification of gas Supply from one source to another".

    Moreover, Danube "connects with important Centers of Consumption: such as Chemical industry centers in Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Bratislava and Vienna"  (etc). And it can "offer direct transport to the huge underground Gas Storage facilities in Western Slovakia.. and Southern Moravia", "connected with main routes of Gas (pipelines)" linking "Central and Western Europe with Russia", as well as in Germany, at the junction with Rhine, close to France's Strasbourg."

    Adding to the already existing (since 2001) Danube - Rhine link, also a call to "accelerate" the "planned Danube - Oder connection" to big "Storage reservoirs", PACE's Motion "calls for an Urgent International feasibility Study",  "in ..conformity with PACE's Resolution 1473 (2005) on European Waterways",

    Experienced, former mainstream MEP, Konrad Schweiger of Germany, who has already highlighted a possibility to import Asia's Energy resources, mainly gas, directly into the EU, by Ship transports from Black Sea to Danube and Rhine rivers, already in his Report on Azerbaidjan, tabled as early as in 1996, topically reminded now to "EuroFora" that there are big possibilities for Gas storage and distribution "from the Danube-Rhine junction" and forward.

- "Croatia is on the right path to joining the EU from 2010", confirmed recently the President of EU Parliament's largest Political Group (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), French MEP Joseph Daul, who visited Sanader in Zagreb on 2009, following EU Commission's latest Enlargment Report (November 2008), largely positive.  - "We are confident of the outcome", said Daul, "urging" the Croatian authorities to do everything in their power ..in order to satisfy the conditions for accession, "notably in ..the fight against corruption", while the "Czech EU Presidency" would "overcome the .. dispute with Slovenia". "Gas" was discussed by Daul in Croatia among current concerns on "Economic" and "Middle East" crises.

    On Human Rights, in earlier statements to "EuroFora" while visiting CoE in Strasbourg, Sanader has expressed his personal commitment to the return of refugees and IDPs mainly of Serbian origin : - "We accept and shall do whatever possible to facilitate refugees' return. My Government's coalition had the support even of a serbian party. After all, refugees are also Croatian citizens".

    CoE's PanEuropean Commissioner on Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, said afterwards to "EuroFora" that "the return faces still difficulties in practice, particularly in housing and socio-economic reintegration. Things evolve slowly but positively, so that we hope that the number of refugees free to return will become higher.

    Croatia is due to join NATO in 2009, probably after its Heads of State/Government's Summit, April in Strasbourg.

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