Recent political events – from Trump’s election to the outcome of the Brexit Referendum - have somehow caught the world by surprise, and are contributing to a growing sense of concern or even alarm about the future of the Western world and, particularly, Western democracies as we know them.
Figure 1. Access to electricity and non-solid fuels in Africa (Source: AEEP Status Report Update 2016)
In a moment of geopolitical uncertainties, fluid changes on an international level, and increase fo-cus on terroristic threats, this article wants to discuss the possible risks for energy infrastructure and examine how grave they are. Speaking with representative of the industry, think tanks, and academia, we try to shed special light on the infrastructures in Turkey and in the nearby region.
In the last few months, lots of discussions have revolved around the economics and politics of the proposed Nord Stream II project. Nord Stream is a gas pipeline bringing Russian natural gas directly to Germany through the Baltic Sea, allowing Moscow to bypass European transit countries such as Poland, Belarus, and crisis-hit Ukraine. Nord Stream II would double the pipeline’s current capacity, from 55 to 110 billion cubic metres per year (bcm/y).
Last month, ISPI Energy Watch analysed opposite interests around Nord Stream 2 and the reasons why Nord Stream 2 could face hurdles. European laws were defined as the “main weapons” of those countries opposing the project.
What’s going on in the European arena? Regulators, trading venues, market participants, financial and commodity analysts and data reporting agencies are all debating on the legal and operational implications of the various recent financial and energy regulations in the EU, whose implementations are already in effect either fully or partly. The three burdensome regulations flapping commodity firms are REMIT (Regulation on Energy Market Integrity and Transparency), EMIR (European Market Infrastructure Regulation), and MiFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive ).
Imagine for a moment that the so-called Western Balkan countries were as rich and democratically consolidated as Switzerland, Norway or even tiny Iceland: would you doubt for a second that the EU leaders would not beg them to join the Union? Especially after Brexit has instilled so much impending doom into minds of the political class in Berlin, Paris and elsewhere. Accepting rich and politically straightforward new members would be a welcome remedy against Angst in the corridors of power throughout the continent!
Italy’s foreign policy has traditionally considered the Balkan region as a key area of political, economic and even cultural projection since its own unification process in the late 19th century. This made the history of Italy and of the Balkans increasingly, albeit often problematically, intertwined.
Involvement of international actors has been essential in resolving conflicts, rebuilding, and helping reconcile the Western Balkans in the last few decades. Throughout the 1990s, foreign intervention was meant to stop the bloodshed in the region after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, ending the wars in the region.