🇺🇸🇪🇺American-European journalist 📺Brussels Correspondent, France24 ✏️Senior Writer, Energy Monitor 👨💼Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
13 added to My Authors
Jul 20 • 14 tweets • 6 min read
BREAKING: In response to threat of 🇷🇺 shutting off gas taps, 🇪🇺President @VonDerLeyen announcing now a proposal to:
🙏Ask all EU countries to reduce gas demand by 15% from August to April
👇Give Brussels ability to trigger emergency alert require mandatory gas demand reduction
EU countries asking to benefit from the solidarity gas supply cross-border flows already agreed will be required to demonstrate that they have taken measures to meet the 15% gas demand reduction target. ec.europa.eu/commission/pre…
Jun 23 • 12 tweets • 7 min read
BREAKING: #Ukraine has just been given EU candidate status
It appears leaders weren't able to convince 🇧🇬#Bulgaria's PM Kiril Petkov (whose government just collapsed) to end his veto on starting 🇲🇰#NorthMacedonia's 🇪🇺 accession talks this morning
The Western Balkan applicants almost boycotted this morning's meeting over lack of progress
The rumour going around is that the Western Balkan leaders are very unhappy with how this morning’s mini-summit went. Several EU leaders didn’t even bother to show up.
The press conference by VDL, Michel & Macron has been cancelled, Weatern Balkan leaders about to hold their own
Jun 15 • 20 tweets • 7 min read
Today the EU fires back in a brewing 🇪🇺🇬🇧 trade war.
The Commission is expected to announce unfreezing of legal action against 🇬🇧 (and the start of new actions) following the UK government's tabling of legislation to undo the #Brexit divorce deal's Northern Ireland Protocol.
Both Brussels and national 🇪🇺 capitals were infuriated by Monday's bill from 🇬🇧 government which, if/when passed, would unilaterally terminate large parts of the NI Protocol by ending checks between Northern Ireland (in EU customs area) and Great Britain (not in EU customs area).
Jun 14 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
🇪🇺Parliament just rejected the #taxonomy list of investments considered green, which controversially included both #nuclear & #gas as a result of a delicately crafted compromise between national governments
76 members of ECON & ENVI committees voted to reject, 62 voted to accept
"Russia's invasion changed the thinking on this " one EP source tells me.
Here's the background of how we ended up with this 🇪🇺 proposal to deem nuclear & gas as green.
"🇪🇺&🇬🇧are partners facing same global challenges where upholding the rule of law is imperative. This relationship must be based on full respect of our legally binding commitments"
"After countless hours of intensive line-by-line negotiations, the NI Protocol was the one and only solution we could jointly find to protect hard-earned gains of the peace process in NI while addressing the challenges created by #Brexit and the type of Brexit chosen by 🇬🇧"
Jun 8 • 12 tweets • 5 min read
On the Whit Monday holiday I made a trip to #Rijeka Croatia (formerly Italian #Fiume).
This fascinating city is often called “the birthplace of Italian Fascism”. I wrote a screenplay about it at university so I wanted to visit.
The interwar period here has a complex legacy.
Fiume was part of 🇦🇹🇭🇺Empire and served as the only Hungarian port. After WW1 it was given to Yugoslavia despite having a majority Italian population.
Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio invaded the city and made himself dictator. They were filming a movie about him during my visit
This is a compromise that will only ban #RussianOil imports by ship, but keep imports via pipeline. That was the only way they could overcome the veto from Hungary's Viktor #Orban.
It is a political agreement, it will still need to be translated into a legal text in coming days.
May 30 • 12 tweets • 9 min read
Leaders now arriving for the #EUCO summit in Brussels.
The big question journalists will be asking: are we really close to a Russian #OilEmbargo agreement today, and what are the details of this compromise?
Entering #EUCO, 🇪🇺President @VonDerLeyen pours cold water on the rumours we are close to a #RussianOil ban deal.
"My expectations are low that it will be solved in the next 48 hours, but I'm confident that thereafter there will be a possibility."
May 30 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
BREAKING: We are close to an agreement on an 🇪🇺 ban on #RussianOil, and the aim is now to adopt this embargo at today's #EUCO summit, according to an EU official. Now added to agenda.
But we could still be in for some fireworks as Orban may hold out a veto on political agreement
This last-minute compromise understanding reached by national diplomats just now would exempt all Russian oil imports that come via pipeline. The ban would only apply to seaborne Russian oil (2/3 of Russian imports).
It also includes some additional temporary exemptions.
May 29 • 7 tweets • 2 min read
Twitter poll: Which of these four European capitals has the *least* fun nightlife?
Well the poll yielded what I expected based on peoples' preconceived notions. But I've lived in all 4 cities - IMHO 49.7% of you are wrong and 26.6% are right.
There's no question London & Berlin have better nightlife than Brussels. But Brussels nightlife is more fun than Paris
May 29 • 5 tweets • 2 min read
I do not recognise the America I see depicted in European media. Coverage is normalizing & embarrassingly reverential. Few here want to talk about the real systemic problems of their protector.
Breaking: 🇪🇺Commission right now proposing new law to confiscate and sell Russian assets in the union.
This is a big step beyond just freezing the assets, which is what they've done already.
The rules would target 🇷🇺 assets skirting EU sanctions, as part of a larger framework on targeting all assets from organised crime.
"Organised crime has become more international," says VP @MargSchinas. "70% of organised criminal groups now operate in more than one country"
May 24 • 8 tweets • 4 min read
🇪🇺President @VonDerLeyen at #Davos2022: "This war and this 🇷🇺 behavior has only strengthened Europe's resolve to get rid of Russian fossil fuel dependency."
"The climate cannot wait. But now the geopolitical reasons are evident too. We have to diversify away from fossil fuels."
"🇺🇦 must win this war" says 🇪🇺President VDL. "Putin's aggression must be a strategic failure"
"We will do everything we can to help 🇺🇦 prevail and retake the future into their hands. For the first time in our history, 🇪🇺 is providing military aid to a country under attack"
May 9 • 7 tweets • 3 min read
So why are the Nordic & Eastern EU countries opposed to treaty change and the Western & Southern countries are (increasingly) for it? Size matters.
Smaller countries don't want to lose their ability to veto EU laws (like we're seeing now with Hungary vetoing the 🇷🇺oil embargo).
So the battle lines are being drawn. Why did this all come to a head today? It started in 2017, when Macron had the idea for a citizen's convention to recommend reforms for the EU.
#Macron has taken the floor after receiving the recommendations of the citizens’ #CoFoE conference, including a call for treaty change.
He says Europe must unite, including in defence, in order to protect member countries from the Russian threat.
Macron says the conference’s proposals will be evaluated in September and then acted upon [possibly with a convention drawing up treaty change, for instance].
He says the conference will not be just a talking shop. He promises EU reform.
May 9 • 7 tweets • 3 min read
The closing ceremony of the #CoFoE conference recommending 🇪🇺 treaty change has started with an interpretive dance recital and I’m really confused. audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/ebs/live/2
Now Guy Verhofstadt is speaking in French and I’m really confused!
Never seen him speak in anything other than English in this hemicycle.
May 9 • 4 tweets • 2 min read
How immensely typical.
EU national governments ask citizens to recommend reforms for 🇪🇺. Then, when they don't like what's been recommended (treaty change), 10 of them write a letter scolding the citizens: 🇩🇰🇸🇪🇫🇮🇪🇪🇱🇻🇱🇹🇸🇮🇧🇬🇨🇿🇲🇹politico.eu/newsletter/bru…
But not every country agrees with these 10 reactionaries that 🇪🇺 works perfectly fine.
🇮🇹PM Draghi endorsed treaty change earlier this month.
Speaking after the emergency meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels, French minister Barbara Pompili says ministers agreed that the conditions of their contracts should be respected.
She says the Commission provided guidance on legality of paying in rubles.
Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson says she explained to ministers that payment in rubles constitute a clear violation of sanctions against Russia, "and cannot be accepted".
"Countries should not have any illusions they can rely on the good faith of Gazprom in this matter"
May 2 • 15 tweets • 9 min read
Waiting for the 🇪🇺 energy ministers to arrive for the emergency summit to agree an oil embargo against #Russia and a united stance on #Putin’s demand to pay for gas in #rubles.
The decisions taken today will have ripple effects throughout the global economy. @BarbaraPompili,🇫🇷French Minister for Ecological Transition who convened this emergency meeting of energy ministers, stresses upon entering that the purpose of today's summit is to respond to Russia shutting off the gas taps to #Poland & #Bulgaria, not to discuss the #OilEmbargo.