Ukraine resumes shipments to Europe’s leading grain port

Brussels (BELGA) – A grain ship from Odessa has docked in the port of Ghent for the first time since the start of the war in Ukraine. The arrival meant the  transhipment of grain from Ukraine was resuming, said port operator North Sea Port. On Wednesday morning, the ‘Zhe Hai 505’ moored at the transhipment company Euro-Silo in the port of Ghent. The vessel left the port of Odessa with 30,000 tons of rapeseed on board.

Ghent is considered to be the most important cereal port in Europe. Half of all European grain passes through it. Exports from Ukraine have started again thanks to the humanitarian corridor for grain ships in the Black Sea. This is vital for world grain markets. The storage and transshipment company Euro-Silo normally receives 4.5 million tons of grain, seeds and derivatives annually. Before the war, about 25 to 30 percent of that came from Ukraine. But the blockade of the ports had brought shipments from Ukraine to a complete stop.

“There will be more ships with Ukrainian agricultural products to follow,”

said Thierry Cardon, Commercial Manager of Euro-Silo.

More vessels are scheduled for mid- and end-September, which means that the transhipment of grain from the Ukraine will start up again. (September 6)

Von der Leyen wants to cap the price of Russian gas and impose a solidarity tax on energy firms

Brussels (Europa Press) – The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has presented European governments with her proposal to reduce energy consumption and cap rising prices. The goal is to limit the price paid for Russian gas, thus reducing Moscow’s income to finance the war against Ukraine. Furthermore, von der Leyen advocates applying a solidarity tax to large European energy companies and supporting vulnerable businesses and households.

Meanwhile, Europe is looking for alternatives to cover its energy needs and is focusing on countries such as Algeria and Qatarand becoming more favourable to nuclear energy, as in the case of Germany. On the other hand, Spain’s commitment to MidCat does not currently have the support of the European Commission. MidCat is a gas pipeline that would link the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of the European Union through the Pyrenees. After France rejected the proposal, Brussels has said that it needs to get more data on the viability of the project. (September 5 and 7)

Turkey and UK should be invited to meeting of European Political Community, say European sources

Brussels (AFP) – Turkey and the United Kingdom “should be invited” to the first meeting of the European Political Community, which is due to bring together the leaders of the 27 EU member states and those of candidate countries or neighbors of the bloc on 6 October in Prague, European sources said on Wednesday.

In addition to the EU member states, the leaders of the six West Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia), the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Ukraine, Moldova, Iceland, Georgia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein are expected to receive an invitation “soon,” according to one of these sources.

This project for a platform for political dialogue and cooperation was launched by French President Emmanuel Macron and endorsed by an EU summit in June. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reaffirmed his support for the initiative at the end of August. (September 7)

Eurobarometer: Slovenians satisfied with the state of the economy, high confidence in the euro

Brussels (STA) – Concerns about the state of the economy are growing among EU citizens, according to the latest Eurobarometer survey. The vast majority of those surveyed consider their national economy to be in a poor state. The picture in Slovenia is very different, however. In the survey, 64 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with the economic situation in their country.

In Slovenia, support for the European Economic and Monetary Union with a single currency is significantly higher even than the EU-wide trend of increasing support for the euro, which has reached a high of 72 percent, according to the Eurobarometer survey. Slovenia stands at 88 percent.

While 57 percent of respondents at EU level are satisfied with the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine, this percentage is lower in Slovenia. 45 percent of respondents expressed satisfaction with Brussels’ response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Just over two-thirds of respondents support the supply of military equipment to Ukraine, compared to only half in Slovenia, and Slovenians are less in favor of sanctions against Russia than the European average. (September 6)

Turkish President Erdogan visited BiH for talks focusing on economic cooperation

Sarajevo (FENA) – The President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visited Bosnia and Herzegovina with a large delegation and met the chairman and members of the Presidency of BiH and members of the collegium of both houses of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH. At a press conference in Sarajevo, the leaders said relations between Turkey and BiH were exceptionally good, and that in addition to political, military and economic ties, the countries’ history, culture and personal ties made the relationship even stronger.

Erdogan said Turkey continued unquestioningly to provide development aid and that talks were underway to enable citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey to travel between the two countries using their identity cards. He emphasized that Turkey paid great attention to the peace, prosperity and stability of BiH, and that it supported its territorial integrity and sovereignty. He said he hoped that the election outcome would be beneficial for the whole of BiH. He underlined that Turkey was against any intervention of the high representative of the international community in BiH, Christian Schmidt, regarding changes to the Election Law of BiH, because that would run counter to democratic principles. “The decision on this should be made by the leaders. We have a period that is shorter than a month, and during that period any interventions by the high representative are interventions related to the democratic process of BiH. We are against any intervention,” Erdogan said.

He said discussions were also held on improving bilateral trade, which reached 876 million dollars an increase of almost 35 percent compared to the previous year. Both sides attached great importance to the construction of the Sarajevo-Belgrade highway. “It is a peace project that will connect not only the countries of the region, but also the peoples, and I believe that with this visit we have given new momentum to that strategic project,” said Erdogan. (September 6)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Wednesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.