Italy plunges into the unknown after the victory of Giorgia Meloni

Rome (AFP) – On September 26, a period of uncertainty started for Italy and the European Union, following the victory in the Italian legislative elections of Giorgia Meloni, who leads a right-wing/far-right coalition. The coalition will face considerable challenges.

With an absolute majority in Parliament, Meloni, leader of Fratelli d’Italia party (post-fascist), will try to form a government in the coming days with allies Matteo Salvini of the League (anti-immigration) and Silvio Berlusconi of Forza Italia (right-wing).

In her first statement after the vote, Giorgia Meloni was keen to reassure, both in Italy and abroad. French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne warned that France would be “attentive” to “respect” for human rights and the right to abortion. Showing more concern, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs said that “populism always ends in disaster”, because “its answer is always the same: let’s close ourselves off and go back to the past”. (September 26)

New energy supplier: Germany receives liquefied natural gas from the Emirates

Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz (SPD) geht auf dem Flughafen von Doha die Gangway am Airbus A340 der Luftwaffe hinunter. Nach Saudi-Arabien und den Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate ist Katar die letzte Station der Reise.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz at Doha airport. After Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Qatar was the last stop on the trip.
Photo: Kay Nietfeld/dpa

Abu Dhabi (dpa) – Germany is to receive liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United Arab Emirates as a replacement for energy supplies from Russia. On September 25, energy company RWE, during a visit of German chancellor Olaf Scholz to the gulf state, signed a contract for an initial delivery of 137,000 cubic meters of LNG. It is expected to arrive in December of this year and will be the first shipment to the new LNG terminal in Brunsbüttel near Hamburg. According to RWE, a memorandum has been signed for multi-year deliveries starting in 2023.

For comparison: According to the operator of the pipeline, prior to the aggression on Ukraine, gas with an energy volume of approximately 1.76 billion kilowatt hours flowed through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline on February 1 alone. The first delivery of 137,000 cubic meters of liquefied natural gas for RWE from the United Arab Emirates equals approximately 0.95 billion kilowatt hours.

During his visit, Scholz announced his intention to further advance cooperation with the Emirates in the energy sector. The German chancellor said in Abu Dhabi that “a whole series” of diesel and liquid gas projects had already been advanced with the gulf state. In terms of energy supply, he added, it was necessary to distribute the demand among as many suppliers as possible. Dependence on one supplier “will certainly not happen to us again”, Scholz stressed. According to Sunday’s agreement, state-owned Emirati company ADNOC is also to supply up to 250,000 metric tons of diesel fuel a month to Germany from 2023. The agreement on this was concluded with energy company Hoyer. (September 25)

North Macedonia’s assembly continues to discuss the energy crisis

Skopje (MIA) – The session of the Parliamentary Commission for Defense and Security continues in the week of September 26 in the assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, with two proposals related to the energy crisis on the agenda. After the discussion in the home affairs committee, parliament is expected to vote for the extension of the state of emergency in the energy sector by another six months on September 28. The state of emergency has been in force since the government decision of September 1.

According to the government, declaring a state of emergency will set off mechanisms to deal with the crisis. Meanwhile, opposition party VMRO-DPMNE believes that the reasons for North Macedonia’s electricity crisis are non-domestic operations and reduced electricity production. (September 26)

Ukraine: EU works on joint handling of Russian fugitives

Brussels (APA) – The question of how to deal with Russians fleeing the partial mobilization is preoccupying the European Union. “This is an unprecedented situation, we are looking at it from a security point of view,” said an EU Commission spokeswoman in Brussels on September 22. She stressed that concrete decisions on visa matters are partly in the hands of the individual EU member states.

The EU Commission spokeswoman evaded the question of whether there will be a different solution for Russians fleeing the draft. Border management, she said, must be carried out by EU member states in accordance with international and European rules. The Schengen Code allows refusal of entry for security reasons. The EU Commission is currently in contact with EU states to monitor the situation, she said, adding that the Commission supports them and is trying to “prepare the next step”.

Since the outbreak of the war, however, the Commission spokesperson said, half a million people have fled Russia and found their place in Europe or elsewhere. The spokeswoman also pointed out that EU law offers protection to people who ask for asylum. But each case is examined individually at the borders, she said. EU states were working on a common approach. About ten days ago, EU countries agreed to raise the hurdles for granting Schengen visas to Russians. The visas are now more expensive across the EU and the application process takes longer. The Schengen area includes 22 EU countries plus Switzerland and three other states.

On Wednesday, Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen suggested a humanitarian commitment, including for Russian citizens. “We are a safe place for people from Ukraine, and we should also be for Russians who are forced to leave their homeland now,” he said. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) said on the Austrian news program ZiB2 that he was clearly against a visa ban for Russians. Austrians in particular should be able to “distinguish between Putin and his henchmen and the Russian people”.

According to the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior, 160 persons from the Russian Federation (84 men and 76 women) have been granted protection in Austria this year. (September 22)

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.