There’s been a leak from the European Commission which shows that gas sales by Russia favour Germany over other EU nations in central and eastern Europe (CEE). Russia is using its near monopoly in gas supply to exert control over its old empire, the ex-Warsaw Pact countries Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia. The delivery costs to these, mostly nearer, countries should be lower yet Poland pays nearly double: $350 per 1,000 cubic metres against Germany’s £200. Russia’s state-owned Gazprom also restricts the re-export of its gas, against the EU’s internal market rules. Despite its illegality the Commission planned to do little except hush it up. The Polish government is under pressure from the EU concerning its legal system so naturally they are unimpressed by this revelation.
The EU is happy to use its legal muscle against Brexit Britain, American corporations it doesn’t like and less ‘important’, deviant member nations while overlooking blatant German malpractices. Germany (and France) were let off the hook when they ran deficits greater than permitted under the Growth and Stability Pact (and then pressured the EU into changing the rules to suit themselves). Germany has run illegal trade surpluses for years and refused to take appropriate measures, thereby impoverishing fellow member states. The dirty diesel scandal didn’t provoke the EU and it hasn’t raised a metaphorical eyebrow at Germany’s increasing use of coal but is ready to fine Britain if it doesn’t meet its target reductions. Now it is willing to accept Russia’s politically-motivated policies, because they suit its principal member.
Germany has sounded supportive of Western action against Russia for the Salisbury poisonings yet it colludes with Russia when its own interests are at stake. It also plans to allow a new gas pipeline (NordStream 2) to bypass all CEE (Central & Eastern European) territories, though perhaps US financial sanctions against Russia will prevent this. The EU fosters an illusion of multinational solidarity.