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EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 22/06/2022

EsadeGeo Daily Digest, 22/06/2022

Financial Times – David Sheppard / IEA chief warns Europe to prepare for total shutdown of Russian gas exports

  • The International Energy Agency has warned that Europe must prepare immediately for the complete severance of Russian gas exports this winter, urging governments to take measures to cut demand and keep ageing nuclear power stations open.
  • Fatih Birol, the head of the IEA, said Russia’s decision to reduce gas supplies to European countries in the past week may be a precursor to further cuts as Moscow looks to gain “leverage” during its war with Ukraine.
  • “Europe should be ready in case Russian gas is completely cut off,” Birol told the Financial Times in an interview.
  • “The nearer we are coming to winter, the more we understand Russia’s intentions,” he said. “I believe the cuts are geared towards avoiding Europe filling storage, and increasing Russia’s leverage in the winter months.”
  • Reuters – Nina Chestney / Factbox: European measures in case Russian gas supply stops

Politico – Hans von der Burchard / Scholz adviser turns head with appeal to consider future Russian relationship

  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s top foreign policy aide raised eyebrows Monday night when he suggested Europe should focus more on preserving long-term relations with Russia and less on the specifics of German tank shipments to Ukraine.
  • In a rare public appearance, Jens Plötner — a long-standing architect of Berlin’s Russia policy — argued that the debates over Germany’s military support for Ukraine, which is frequently criticized for being too hesitant and slow, were “driven by a feverishness that misses the bigger questions in many cases.”
  • Specifically, he pointed to a long-running saga over whether Germany should supply the Ukrainian military with so-called Marder infantry fighting vehicles — which Scholz has so far refused to do.
  • “You can fill a lot of newspaper pages with 20 Marders, but larger articles about what will actually be our relationship with Russia in the future are somehow less frequent,” Plötner said.
  • Financial Times – Gideon Rachman / Farewell to Russia and to the Sinatra doctrine

Financial Times – Nadia Beard / Georgians turn against government after being put in EU accession slow lane

  • Tens of thousands of Georgians took to the streets of Tbilisi this week to show support for their country’s EU aspirations and protest against the government in one of the largest demonstrations in the nation in years.
  • The atmosphere was warm as friends and families, some carrying children or dogs on their shoulders, marched towards parliament on Monday night. When Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” blared over the loudspeakers, demonstrators held their phones in the air, their torches illuminating “We Are Europe” placards and the night sky above.
  • EU concerns over democratic backsliding have consigned the Caucasian country to the slow lane of accession. Last week, the European Commission recommended against giving Georgia EU candidate status and instead proposed a “conditional perspective” of membership that would depend on it passing reforms.
  • “Our government did everything they could for us to be denied candidate status,” said David Ghavladze, a student, at the protest. “We have to do everything we can to show them that they were wrong.” 
  • Euractiv – Alexandra Brzozowski / EU closes ranks on Ukraine, Moldova candidate status as decision looms

South China Morning Post – Jack Lau / When will China’s Fujian aircraft carrier be ready for active duty?

  • After years of peering at satellite images of Shanghai’s Jiangnan shipyard for a glimpse of China’s newest aircraft carrier, military watchers around the world have turned their attention to how long it will take before the Fujian is ready for active service.
  • The Type 003 carrier’s launch on Friday marked a milestone in the country’s push for a blue-water navy capable of operating far from Chinese shores.
  • The Fujian is China’s third carrier and the largest it has ever built, as well as the most sophisticated. Its three cutting-edge electromagnetic catapults promise to put a greater range of warplanes into action more frequently, along with more fuel and munitions.
  • But the Fujian is far from combat-ready. “It needs around 18 months of testing,” said Zhou Chenming, a researcher at the Yuan Wang military science and technology think tank in Beijing. “It’s a very complex set of tests.”
  • Foreign Policy – Sam Roggeveen / China’s third aircraft carrier is aimed at a post-US Asia

Today’s longer reads:

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and EsadeGeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.


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