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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU on Gas Crisis : Ship Transports to bypass Pipeline Blockades ?!

EU on Gas Crisis : Ship Transports to bypass Pipeline Blockades ?!

Written by ACM
Thursday, 15 January 2009
 (Updated 15 and 27 January 2009)

    The importance of Ship transports in order to guarantee EU's Energy independence, against the risk of more ..."Pipeline Blockades" by 3rd, Non-EU Countries of transit, simply by closing a tap, started to be felt by Top EU actors.

- "That's right : No blackmails or threat to block pipelines should be made for Political aims", replied to "EuroFora" France's New Minister for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire, shortly after Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's astonishing threat in Brussels to block the non-existent yet "Nabucco" gazoduc project if the EU insisted to ask Turkey to fullfil its commitments.

    - "Even if Nabuco is an important project, there are also others, (as "Sourth Stream", etc), or even Ships' transport, with new Technologies of liquified gas, etc. Thus, it's preferable to diversify Enerhy Transports, as much as possible, in order to achieve greatest Security and Independence in Europe's Energy supplies", Le Maire added.     


Meanwhile, the secrets of sudden phone calls by Romanian President BASESCU to Russian Prime Minister PUTIN during the Ukranian pipeline crisis, were not openly revealed by Romanian MEP Jean MARINESCU, EPP Group's vice-Chairman, while discusssing, in EU Parliament in Strasbourg, with German MEP Elmar BROK a Moscow Summit due to try to solve the pipeline problems.  

 But Basescu is well known as a strong supporter of Ship Energy Transports through Seas and Rivers, mainly via the Black Sea - Danube and Rhine Rivers' route, that he was 1st to cross with a big boat, since 2001, as former Minister of merchand fleet, as he replied to an "EuroFora" question, at an earlier CoE Press Conference in Strasbourg.  

 Thus, now, a series of EU politicians started to question a lobby's attempts to exploit the current Gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine in order to impose to the EU an old plan for a too long, expensive and vulnerable "Nabucco" controversial pipeline zig-zaging through troublesome Turkey, notoriously exposed to earthquakes and conflicts.  

 The move went beyond the competition by a new project for a "SouthStream" pipeline from Russia via the Black Sea to Bulgaria, and then Greece and Italy, or Serbia, Hungary and Austria : 90% EU Members".


    Various Top EU Politicians, questioned by "EuroFora", agreed that Gas SHIP TRANSPORTS should be urgently developed as a way to face the current Gas Pipeline crisis, and avoid to fall to the trap of any lobby which might exploit it in order to impose another Pipeline, through other troublesome 3rd countries, even longer, more expensive and vulnerable.

     The move started recently, after a Franco-German Summit  between German chancelor Merkel and French President Sarkozy, who stressed that the current Gas Pipeline  incites Europe to "diversify Energy Transports".
     - "There is a series of issues to ensure EU's Energy Independency, and this would very probably include also the development of SHIP Transports", added, agreeing witth a "EuroFora"'s question, Sarkozy's Spokesman on European issues, Pierre Jerome HENIN

     - "The necessary Diversification of EU's Energy imports concerns not only the Sources, but also the Routes and Means of Transport. One of them certainly are Ship transports of oil and mainly gas, and EU has prepared programs (fex. TENS) to fund both Ships and Terminals for Gas Liquification", replied also to "EuroFora" the President of EU Parliament's Political affairs Committee, Polish ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP, Jacek SARYUSZ-WOLSKI.

    - "Pipelines are OLD-fashioned. The Future belongs to Gas, and in particular to the LNG technology. The biggest Gas deposits in the World exist not only in Russia or Iran, but mainly around Quatar. So that Ship transports of LNG are certainly to be developed", replied also to "EuroFora" the experienced Finnish MEP Esko SEPANEN, member of EuroLEFT Group's Bureau.

    - "You are right : We (EU) must consider both the Costs and the VULNERABILITY of each kind of Energy Transports" :


  It's difficult to block or sabotage many Ships, but easy to block a pipeline !


     - "PIPELINES CAN BE totally BLOCKED by simply CLOSING A TAP, in case of any "Crisis", as we see now in the Russia-Ukraine row", replied EPP Group's Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Spanish MEP Jose SALAFRANCA to "EuroFora" Question, if he found that EU must avoid to be anew dependent to a Pipeline crossing any 3rd Country, which can be easily closed, under any pretext, (while Ship links cannot be easily sabotaged or blocked 100%)...  

   - "In consequence, Ship Energy transports should be also developed" by the EU in order to guarantee Europe's Energy Safety through Diversification, concluded Salafranca    

- "It's certainly an IMPORTANT issue the Diversification of Routes and Transports : In Future, our (EU) Priority must be to diversify our energy supplies by all means, including SHIP Transports, in order to ensure Europe's Security and Independence", replied also to a similar "EuroFora's" question the President of Latvia, Valdis ZATLERS.

    Last, but not least : Compared COSTS :


According to American Experts' sources, the cost of a Gas Pipeline becomes more and more expensive compared to that of Ship transports of LNG, particularly for long Distancies, starting from some 2.000 kms

This obviously proves that the controversial old "Nabucco" plan is too costly, since it should extend for more than ..3.300 kms (!), making Ship LNG transports cheaper..

In parallel and concording moves, EU Council and Commission presented recently a series of measures to ameliorate the working conditions of Seafarers.

EU Parliament already endorsed a Directive on an Agreement brokered by Shipowners and Transport Workers, hailed by Greek EuroMP Mrs Maria PANAYOTOPOYLOS-CASSIOTOU : 

- "The Seas around Europe are becoming more and more important for International Trade, and many Young People should see their Future in good jobs at the Shipping industry", she said.

Such moves could also contribute to a social Civilisation at the Seaside (and Riverside), able to revitalize Europe's Historic Cultural links to the Sea (and Rivers)", she added.

Typical of EU's Sea - River links, MEP Maria Cassiotou was born at Greek Island, but now lives with her Family close to Rhine River..




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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?

CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...


Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..


"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock


"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"


PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.


Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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