Breaking News -- European Union

Middle East European Union Israel Germany Earthquakes, Disasters what's new  
United Kingdom Far East United States Russia   home breaking news
 
Europe drafting joint response to Putin's message
The Voice of Russia

The draft of a joint response to the letter of Russia's President Vladimir Putin on the situation involving Ukraine's debt for Russian gas will be prepared on Monday, April 14, Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said.

He stressed that the work on the draft message is currently being done at the request of the European Commission Chairman Jose Manuel Barros, and that most likely, he himself will deliver it to Moscow. The Polish minister says that it is necessary, among other things, to agree on a "fair gas price" and also the terms for the transit of Russian gas across Ukraine to the EU member countries.

"The EU will preserve unity in relations with the Russians," he said, adding that a joint answer would be prepared to the Russian leaders' message addressed to 18 European leaders, TASS reports.

"It is important to us that the EU acts as a united force, and we are satisfied to receive information that all the European partners support a joint response, but not bilateral negotiations," Tusk said.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has sent letters to the leaders of 18 European states buying gas from Russia describing the situation which is emerging amid Ukraine's growing debt to Russia for its gas supplies and also the possible consequences for the gas transit for Europe.

Russia has not received a reply to President Vladimir Putin's letter to the European partners concerning gas shipments across Ukraine, said Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov.

"We have heard that a consolidated reply was purportedly in the making, but we have not received anything de facto," Peskov said in answer to a question from Interfax.

It was reported on Thursday that Putin had sent a letter to the leaders of European countries receiving Russian gas via Ukraine to say that Russia had spent $35.4 billion in the recent years on subsidizing the Ukrainian economy with discount gas prices.

The Russian president sent the letter to the leaders of Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Germany, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Austria and Italy.

Russia has not received a reply to President Vladimir Putin's letter to the European partners concerning gas shipments across Ukraine, said Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov.

"We have heard that a consolidated reply was purportedly in the making, but we have not received anything de facto," Peskov said in answer to a question from Interfax.

It was reported on Thursday that Putin had sent a letter to the leaders of European countries receiving Russian gas via Ukraine to say that Russia had spent $35.4 billion in the recent years on subsidizing the Ukrainian economy with discount gas prices.

The Russian president sent the letter to the leaders of Moldova, Romania, Turkey, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Poland, France, Germany, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Austria and Italy.

The EU will probably prepare a draft of a joint answer to a letter of Russia's President Vladimir Putin to European leaders concerning Ukraine by Monday, Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski says. On Thursday, Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency that President Putin has sent a letter to European leaders concerning Ukraine's debt for deliveries of Russian gas. Mr. Putin is very much concerned about this debt and suggests to take extra measures to solve this problem.

The Polish Foreign Minister says that by request of the head of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, on Monday, foreign ministers of EU countries will prepare a draft answer to President Putin's letter.

"European organizations – most likely, Mr. Barroso or President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy – will handle this letter over to Russia," Radoslaw Sikorski added.

Mr. Sikorski believes that Russia and the EU should, in particular, reach an agreement about a fair price on Russian gas and the conditions of transporting Russian gas via Ukraine's territory to EU countries.

The EU is taking seriously Vladimir Putin's letter to 18 European countries, in which he warned that Ukraine's debt crisis could affect gas transit from Russia to Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during her press conference after the talks with Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

"There are many reasons to seriously take into account this message and for Europe to take it in an integrated manner and deliver a European response in a cohesive way," according to TASS citing Angela Merkel.

She said that the EU foreign ministers would hold a meeting to discuss the issue on Monday. There will also be talks between Ukrainian, Russian, EU and US foreign ministers.

Merkel noted that the price on natural gas should be discussed. She also said that EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger and other representatives of European countries should talk to Russia’s largest extractor of natural gas and one of the biggest companies in the world, Gazprom.

"When we take all these steps, we can be sure that we have reached a joined response for the countries that encounter this problem because they get natural gas from Gazprom," Merkel said.

"We want to be good clients but it means that we can base ourselves on the supplies, and Ukraine knows this and should understand it," she added.

Merkel said that she also discussed this issue with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and there were no disagreements as for that decision.

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_04_14/Europe-drafting-joint-response-to-Putins-message-6604/


IMF's Thomsen says Greece not fully financed to 2016
AFP via ekathimerini

The International Monetary Fund's Poul Thomsen said on Sunday that Greece's public debt was still «exceptionally» high at 175 percent of output and that the country's ongoing bailout would need «more financing."

"In our view, (the bailout) is not fully financed the whole way to 2016 and one would need...to find some more money,» Poul Thomsen, the IMF mission chief on the Greek bailout, told Mega channel.

"We are not looking at a big amount...nothing compared to the past, but one would need to look for some more official assistance,» Thomsen said.

Greece is waiting for EU data agency Eurostat to confirm in late April its first primary budget surplus in years -- that is, a budget in surplus before counting debt servicing costs.

In return, the eurozone has pledged to help Greece make its public debt -- still enormous after a 2012 rollover -- sustainable in the long-term.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_14/04/2014_538964


Basque town votes in referendum on independence from Spain
RT

Citizens of Etxarri Aranatz in Navarre voted in an unofficial referendum on Sunday over whether they wished to be citizens of a separate Basque country and secede from Spain.

From 9am, nearly 2,500 eligible residents voted on the question: “Would you be a citizen of an independent Basque Country?”

The Basque country is made up of the regions of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, in Northern Spain. The area has had a long history of regional demands for autonomy along with Catalonia, and both regions have their own language.

Locals of Navarre celebrated over the course of the day with Basque songs and traditions. Support for Basque independence is particularly strong in Navarre.

“This is a significant and meaningful day today, not only for the Basques but also for the Catalans and also for all nations in Europe that actually are in the process of self-determination,” Anna Arqué, Catalan spokesperson for the 'European Partnership for Independence' (EPI) told RT.

Etxarri Aranatz is a town in the heart of Navarra and 40 km from Pamplona. The majority of its residents consider themselves Basque and speak the Basque language – which is only spoken by just over a quarter of all Basques.

While both Catalonia and the Basque Country have strong regional identities, they have very different roots and Catalonia’s language lies more strongly at the heart of its regional identity.

Last Tuesday, Spain rejected a proposal which would have allowed Catalonia to secede from Spain. The Spanish Congress debated a motion to allow Catalonia to be run by its regional government. Spain rejected the proposal - as anticipated - 299 votes against and only 47 in favor.

The United Left, Catalan pro-independence factions and Basque nationalists all supported the motion. A referendum is to be held on November 9.

http://rt.com/news/basque-country-referendum-vote-272/
 
(Disclaimer)        What to Look For in World Events:  Audio & Text  Video