Croatian President Boosting Prospects For EU Independence From Russian Energy Supplies

First Meeting in New York of Adriatic-Baltic-BlackSea Group initiated by Croatia's President 29 September 2015 Photo: predsjednica,hr

First Meeting in New York
of Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group
initiated by Croatia’s President
29 September 2015
Photo: predsjednica,hr


While the hopeless, destructive, narcissistic and redder than red Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said maliciously, commenting on President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic’s attendance of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in late September 2015, that he had “better things to do than go shopping in New York”, Croatia’s President Grabar-Kitarovic was hosting the activation into practice of her initiative and idea for the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea cooperation. The first meeting (convened on the side-lines of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly held at the UN in New York on 29 September 2015) of the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea cooperation forged with the participation of 12 countries at the initiative of Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic decided to maintain this form of cooperation and to hold their next meeting in Zagreb in 2016. The group, comprising of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland and Romania would seem ideally positioned to strategically and effectively shake the rug under the Russian control of gas energy supplies in particular as well as being an ideal circle of states that can bash out the negative and economic progress-stifling remnants of the former communist regimes in that part of the world. It’s important to note that this group is not a new formal political organisation, though, but a frame within which the already existing avenues and networks of cooperation will be channeled in a more focused and concentrated manner in order to achieve the most effective outcomes for the three areas of concern.

Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group countries map

Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group
countries map

The meeting in New York resolved to focus on three areas – energy, transport and telecommunications – and create/develop a Central-European region’s north-south-bound infrastructure in these fields of energy, transport and digital communication, through joint action for the acquisition of EU funds and talks.
Furthermore and with regards to the suffocating refugee crisis Europe is currently hit by and politically buckling under, the meeting reached a palpable consensus to pursue the line which insists that Europe alone cannot be solely responsible to solve the crisis but that it is a global matter and call for a global response.

Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic hosting the 29 September 2015 Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group meeting at UN

Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
hosting the 29 September 2015
Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group meeting at UN

The Baltic states can set a perfect example for the Adriatic and Black Sea regions of how to strengthen regional cooperation and create a common market in the context of economic and administrative reforms,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius. According to the head of the Lithuanian diplomacy, the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Sea regions have many opportunities to deepen their political cooperation and to coordinate actions more closely, in particular in the fields of energy and transport: exchanging experiences in diversifying energy supplies, creating an integrated European energy market and more actively developing the North-South Transport Corridor.

Croatian President at Visegrad V4 2015
On 8th/9th October 2015 Croatia’s president Grabar-Kitarovic attended in Belatonfured, Hungary, as special guest the meeting of the heads of states of the Visegrad V4 Group (The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia). Topics discussed at this high-level meeting included migration, climate change, energy, security and stability in the South-East Europe area. President Grabar-Kitarovic emphasised that the acceptance of linked goals in sustainable development from the climate change agenda achieved in New York for the post-2015 period was a significant step forward. She said that energy-related connections between the countries in the Group was mutually beneficial and that energy efficiency and energy independence were important elements of national security and political stability of every country, its economy and its citizens’ standard of living.
With the building of the LNG terminal on the Island of Krk and our linking with the Visegrad group countries, but also within the framework of the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea initiative, which I have recently presented, we would secure not only the energy independence for our countries but also the political and economic ones and thus shield our countries from possible manipulations such as the closures of gas supplies or the manipulation with pricing,” stated Grabar-Kitarovic.
Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 accelerated and underscored the need for the EU to do more to safeguard energy supply to Europe, which relies on Russia for about a third of its gas, almost half of which is piped via Ukraine. Under the European Commission initiative on Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European Gas Connectivity (CESEC), the countries will also focus on making the best use of existing infrastructure by allowing reverse flows. Projects, such as the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is set to bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, an LNG terminal on island of Krk, Croatia, and system reinforcement in Bulgaria and Romania, have been identified as top priorities.
LNG Croatia has extended its deadline to year-end for bid submissions from equity investors to build its import terminal on Krk Island. The company has extended the deadline from December 15 to December 31, “in agreement with the European Commission at the request of companies for which the LNG business is not a primary one”.
LNG Croatia’s planned €600 million, 1.6-2.4 million tonne a year LNG terminal has been designated a strategic investment project, supplying gas to EU member states in the Central Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe and beyond, to reduce reliance on piped Russian gas. LNG Croatia plans to start construction next summer, for completion in 2019.

UN, New York, 29 September 2015 First meeting of Adriatic Baltic Black Sea Group hosted by Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

UN, New York, 29 September 2015
First meeting of
Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group
hosted by Croatia’s President
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

It has been said over and over again that it is unlikely Europe could significantly reduce its overall dependence on Russian gas any time before 2030 for both existing contractual and supply/demand reasons. While contracts are legally binding the latter is particularly an interesting aspect of this unhappy relationship defined by dependency, alternative sources for gas can be developed particularly for countries in the Baltic region, Central East Europe and Central South Europe that are wholly or heavily dependent on Russian gas. Europe has spent years trying to wriggle free from its dependence on Russian energy and the whims of its volatile president, Vladimir Putin. So, having in mind the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group developments one needs to ask why is the continent considering signing up for a new gas pipeline that will keep Europe hostage to Russian energy shenanigans and outright blackmail for decades to come? The agreement revealed at the beginning of September 2015 between Russia’s Gazprom PJSC and European companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, EON AG and Engie to expand the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea (designed to shift gas into Western Europe), completely neglects and defies the interests of Eastern Europe and in particular the fact that Poland and Slovak leaders have called this deal a betrayal to European unity! Russia’s multi-billion-dollar plans to expand the capacity of the existing Nord Stream pipeline across the Baltic Sea to Germany seem to be taking shape faster than most observers expected — and stand in stark contrast to the bevy of other stillborn energy projects Russia keeps announcing. In conclusion, it seems clear that there is a front of western companies willing to push forward the expansion of the pipeline connecting Russia with Germany, while politicians and companies from Eastern Europe are ready to equally table their requests and a push for locating new sources of gas within the EU geographical span. The interests of Western and Eastern European blocks are clearly diverging. If not carefully handled, that could be a problem, especially in a moment where migrations and complex geopolitical moves seem to already be fracturing Europe. The Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group initiative seems to have given the Eastern European block new stronger wings in the pursuit of achieving independence from Russian gas supplies and may indeed be a factor that will help slow down if not thwart Nord Stream 2 project and turn the European companies into exploring new sources of gas on the continent rather than tightening ties with Russia. Of course, it all depends how strong the political resolve is in the EU to actually phase out its dependence on Russian gas. If the resolve is high and real we will perhaps see more LNG terminals across Europe mushroom, lifting up local economies in the process.

Possible Gas Pipelines from Krk Island LNG Terminal Croatia

Possible Gas Pipelines from
Krk Island LNG Terminal

The pathway to reducing or phasing out dependence on Russian gas is precisely dotted with new LNG terminals and pipeline connections and the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has scored an enormously positive mark in this by initiating the Adriatic-Baltic-Black Sea Group. And yes, she did go shopping in New York: shopping for stronger cooperation between countries affected by energy dependence on Russia. No wonder Croatia’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic – a die-hard communist idealist who keeps his government’s sights fixated at mollycoddling Russia rather than looking more Westward – didn’t like the President’s latest visit to New York! Perhaps Croatia will score an even more positive mark in the upcoming general elections on 8 November and vote the incompetent Social Democrats out of government. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. The Central European North-South Infrastructure Corridor is a key enabler for completing the European integration process by bolstering the connectivity, competitiveness and security of the EU-11 and the European Union overall. Successful implementation of the Corridor would be a historical milestone in European integration, yielding enormous political, economic and social benefits. Of all sectors, highest priority is given to the further integration of Energy infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe. The North-South Corridor comprises a set of interrelated gas, electricity and oil transmission infrastructure projects which connect Central and Eastern European markets from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The Corridor seeks to overcome historically rooted East-West biases in cross-border transmission systems by implementing complementary North-South connections and thereby increasing the density, robustness and competitiveness of overall networks. At a time when energy security is at the top of the political agenda and infrastructure investments are widely acknowledged as a powerful driver of growth and competitiveness as well as a fundamental pillar of European integration, various grand political plans are discussed in Europe’s policymaking circles. However, many of these ambitious plans have little chance of ever becoming reality. The North-South Corridor must not become another such project, for it is too important to Central and Eastern Europe and the EU. Thus, this paper goes beyond reaffirming the sound political rationale of the Corridor and sets out to answer the fundamental question: How can we make it happen? Our analysis looks at selected specific energy transmission projects which are part of the backbone of the North-South Corridor, i.e. the implementation of a North-South Backbone Natural Gas Pipeline connecting various Central European markets and tapping new upstream supply from e.g. LNG terminals in Poland and Lithuania as well as a future Adriatic LNG hub (e.g. Krk, Croatia). Moreover, we assess the implementation of additional high-voltage transmission lines to connect the energy island of the Baltic States via Poland with other countries, and major oil pipeline projects in the region. To facilitate an understanding of how critical parts of the Corridor can be financed and eventually implemented, the report reviews technical and financial project characteristics as well as the merits of their underlying business cases.

    • Indeed, Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources the plan and cooperation along the North-South lines need to work and every possible way utilised to do it. That’s why Croatian President’s initiative is so very important. Thank you for the link, also – much appreciated

  2. Walterous says:

    A current lack of alternative energy sources does not leave Europe without options; the continent contains an indegenous natural resource that has been, until recently, uneconomical to harness. Shale gas provides Europe with a transitory energy source that will diversify its energy sources, support the EU’s longing for energy security and allow for breathing room to move towards the Energy Roadmap 2050 goals and the ultimate goal of developing renewable sources of energy as the primary sources.

  3. I am so proud of Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of her work on the international scene. It’s politicians of substance like that Croatia needs and not the wimps one tends to see almost everywhere. Good article and I too wonder about whether there will be unity on these issues across the EU. Whether everyone will put their money where their mouth is when it comes to repulsive Russian leaders

  4. Matt Weir says:

    The President is doing the job of both the government and the opposition it seems. Hopefully we will see some more politically aggressive material from the HDZ opposition otherwise Croatia is screwed if Social Democrats get a lead in coming elections.

  5. Nada Lubay says:

    it is ok only if Adriatic and Croatian tourism would not suffer (spillages and shortage of visitors on Adriatic)
    Croatia must spare her Adriatic coast…this is highly risky…I like Kolinda very much…and hope this is not her self-promotion nor policy imposed by a greater “player” ..Croatia is tiny, poor, in huge debts and birth-rate is constantly declining..More than 104 thousands young intellectuals have deserted their homeland (especially during the SDP rule)..we have poor, jobless, homeless, poor..we need organic agriculture, shipbuilding, tourism, and we should also provide intellectual services..Industry which cause pollution and/or possible ecological disaster is not welcome here -regardless ” wise” different opinion.

    • Of course, Nada, pollution is the worst however Croatian people do need energy as do others, the LNG terminal would be a distributing station so to speak, storing gas to distribute into continent and Croatia…worrying about energy/gas supplies is not a new thing what is new are some ways of trying to achieve a best possible result, Croatia’s poverty has nothing to do with this as investments would be secured but job creation has a great deal to do with Croatia’s benefit. Cheers

  6. Your president sounds like an intelligent and forceful lady. I hope the co-operation she suggests gets off the ground, not just about energy but other issues. All positive, peaceful international actions are valuable.

    • She definitely is intelligent and assertive, EAM Harris, that’s for sure. Croatia is lucky to have her at the head – if only the government cooperated better with the president it would be a dream and most of us would not need to bang on about other pressing issues such as corruption, red tape, nepotism…lack of initiative and real ideas for economic recovery etc etc But, these are all things possible and patience needed 🙂

  7. From Facebook: Ina, you should see the amount of money the Russians are spending to hamper the development of the outbound LNG projects in the Brownsville/Port Isabel port complex which is one of the major ports for Texas and northern Mexico. The region served by the port has enough natural gas to supply the world at its present usage rate for at least 800 years. The Russians are absolutely desperate to stop the flow of this gas from here to Europe and they have set up meetings full of hysterical people sure that these plants will destroy the environment to try to halt construction. So far they haven’t had any success. If Kitarović can scare the rooskies that badly, she must be on to something.

    • Kitarovic’s initiative strengthens the argument and tactics against dependency on Russia’s gas which is good and yes, David, I can imagine Russia will fight tooth and nail to retain the market..

  8. Beate Dunn says:

    From Facebook: It is OK only if there will not be ecological disasters (huge ships carrying gas usually dispose of their “dirty” water in the Adriatic and an accidental spillage can occur, as well)..Croatia must protect Adriatic and it’s tourism under any cost….Great “players” should not use tiny, poor, indebted,etc. Croatia for a “greater cause” and ruin it’s most valuable resources….Compensation means nothing if Croatian Adriatic flora and fauna and natural beauty and tourism are destroyed…..So BEWARE

    • Utmost care must be taken, Beate, that is for sure but Croatia just as other countries needs energy and it must come from somewhere. Let’s trust the beauty of natural environment will be preserved.

  9. No doubt a naive question because my knowledge of the area’s history and geography is very sketchy, but why not go all in with Putin and Russia. To me, the way I see it, Putin is a strong allie. He has a reputation for never breaking his word. The only downside I see with making a close relationship with him is in the event of his assassination. But Russia has the energy and the military might that the smaller countries need. You can’t trust the US or NATO for anything. Putin’s foreign policy is far superior. Russia would also be a great deterrent from Serbian aggression. (Then again, I don’t know much about what I’m commenting on–except that Putin impresses me immensely.

    • I’m sure Putin impresses many and all his/her own. As to the size of the country, Donald, there’s the old saying “it’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog” that’s important. So a small country can achieve the same as a big one because at the end of the day the success of a country is measured by the life or living standard and style of a single citizen and while Putin may be a clever politician, a strategic one, etc at the same Russians (apart from the rich) are no measure of success to boast about. The importance is not to be dependent on others for energy and countries outside Russia are quite rich in resources they could tap into. Putin will keep control over his country as long as he can… as far as I’m concerned Serbia is welcome to stay friends with Putin. I disagree with you regarding US and NATO countries – I think they can be trusted

      • Just chatting. (Maybe I should make it a post on my own site, but I am a fan of Putin’s.) So far, he’s been right on just about everything in the Middle East and the US has been *dead* wrong. He has a near 90% approval rating in Russia. In modern times, Eisenhower had a 67%, the highest for a US president. Russia has come a long way since good ol’ “Buy me a beer,” Yeltsin–God rest his soul–handed the mess over to Putin.
        (Didn’t know Serbia was on good terms with Russia.) 🙁
        I was watching an extremely impressive video the other day about low-flying Russian jets taking out ISIS. The Russians, evidently, have the best Jihadi Martyrdom System in the world. JMS is a term I invented. hah-hah. Clever, huh?
        The quality of life in the US is declining every year. The one percent rule the whole thing with impunity. Sad.

      • I reckon ordinary Russians are too scared to say they don’t like Putin. But, hey, the man knows his politics. Early days yet to see his success in Syria but it is an interesting move from his part politically although it might just be to lock horns with the US. Whichever way one looks at it Assad is a nasty mass murderer of his own people but then Putin probably likes Stalin also 🙁

      • If this is a conversation you’d rather not have, I understand. But here’s my counter-points:
        There is a great deal of propaganda being waged. Most of it is complete bolderdash. The Russians weren’t afraid to make it known they were displeased with Putin not long ago. The populous is fickle. Now, as I mentioned, I’m quite impressed with Putin — how he conducts himself, how well he knows what he’s doing, and how he never says anything the least bit stupid during his interviews. He seems like the picture of sanity to me. BUT you must realize that I live in a country where a viable candidate for Vice President was someone who thought Africa was a country. AND George Bush, the man who started this mess to begin with, did not know or care that there were Shias and Sunni Muslims. Evidently, they all looked alike to him, but not to worry (SIGH) God told him that there would be no US casualties and the war would be over soon. (Not making this up, a preacher friend of his was told this by Bush himself on the eve of the invasion.) And they say that Iran shouldn’t have nuclear weapons! The Iranian leaders seem like statesmen. But when a country such as the US is being run by a group of children, there’s plenty to worry about.
        Can’t remember whether I mentioned it or not, but two US presidents said that Putin didn’t break his word once. Don’t know if they’ve asked that of Obama (about Putin). Lying is par for the course for the US. Anyone who believes our leaders is a damn fool, which brings me to Assad. I don’t think he’s a damn fool. He wants to live, and it’s been made extremely clear in no uncertain terms that the US wants him dead. (Can’t blame a guy for wanting to live — or at least I can’t.) I NEVER heard Putin make as serious and arrogant a mistake as Hillary did when she gloated over the death of Muammar Gaddafi: while being video taped in an interview she said, “We came, we saw, he died!” Now Assad probably has cable TV. 😉
        So it’s a safe bet that he knows what she said. Why would he trust the US? When NATO killed Gaddafi, Putin stated, “What right did NATO have to kill Gaddafi?” Good question. (And look at what a heck of a mess that country is in since his killing.) One “brilliant” move after another by the US.
        So, at least by contrast, Putin looks like a genius, nor does he appear insane, as does the US leadership. I have photos of what the Israelis did to the Palestinians, most of the victims being children. Pictures too gruesome to describe. When Israel ran out of ammunition, the US sent them more. These were horrific war crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, and the US was complicit in them.
        The suffering that the US and Israeli policy has wrought on the people of that region is historic, one might say of Biblical Proportions. That’s why Putin is becoming active in Syria. Those radical Islamists that are flooding into Europe and his region are a very real threat to Russia — China as well.
        I’d also point out that the Russians directly warned the US in a very professional way about the Boston Marathon bombers weeks before they made their terrorist attack. The US did the same thing they did when the CIA warned the Bush Administration, “Al-Qaeda Determined to US Aircraft as Weapons.” The same thing was NOTHING.
        So, I’m not pleased with US domestic or foreign policy. . .

      • Well Donald, I fully understand where you are coming from just as I understand where I am coming from. As to US presidents people elect them so what does that say about the people or majority who vote? I tend to like American people and I think they vote for who they like and I respect that

      • Okie Dokie, my friend.

      • 😀

  10. KGK thinks strategically and long-term. She understands competitiveness and resourcefulness.
    So unlike the lunatic, self-serving reds in power in Croatia for such a long-time.
    Nice to see strong women kick butt in politics, not idiot women who embarrass us like Pusic and Holy.
    Thanks for posting Ina. Kraljica Hrvata u Australiji!

  11. Great what will Croatia receive in return ,more Islamic refugee quotas forced upon them by the E.U.?

  12. It’s remarkable that polls indicated a very close election race in Croatia. This bewilders me. We have a PM and government that is aloof, incompetent and arrogant that lives in yugonostalgic past, and yet voters reward this incompetence with votes. What kind of head of government so sarcastically and arrogantly dismisses what the president of the a country does to further the interest of the people and state? It tells you about his character, just that alone should be reason for people to vote him out of office; he works against their collective interest and that of the state’s sovereignty and prosperity.

    • I do expect the polls to turn more blue and bluer towards the conservatives as we draw nearer to elections Sunman.

    • Well Sunman, it seems that worldwide, socialist brainwashing techniques are working. Appeal to social issues and you’ve gained a chunk of votes from the “enlightened”, “modern” crowd (including celebrities) who think the way to fix a nation is only through welfare and letting the government have more say about moral/social issues and how people should live their lives, what they should teach their kids, etc. Appeal to the senile Tito worshipers and there’s another chunk of votes. And then of course there’s still the heavily left leaning media & other cronies of the SDP in various institutions who are only in it due to what they can get out of it, and there you have it, more votes.

      On the other hand, you still have people who are feeling a lot of distrust for HDZ due to past issues and this will not go away easily. SDP buddies in the media further ignite this distrust through articles, internet commentary, etc, toting the good old collective guilt of HDZ/HDZ supporters, but of course they firmly keep under wraps (or gloss over) any SDP connections to corruption, fraud and despicable individuals. But really, given how utterly disastrous Milanovic’s handling of the refugee crisis has been, you’d think people would be demanding the polling booths to open right now so they can kick him to the curb once and for all.

      • Sadly you’ve hit the mark with your assessment – I agree. It’s a terrible situation. It can only be described as a nightmare. When you think back to the homeland victory and the energy and optimism for the future. Yes we suffered heavily during the war, but the price we paid in blood and treasure should have been the rock solid foundation for a new united and prosperous and independent state of Croatia. But the reds, the communists slowly but surely and systemically stole our victory and plunged Croatia into these dire straights. They achieved the unimaginable – they turned a valiant and honourable defence of Croatia into a war crime and allowed Serbian propaganda to seize the agenda and created a zeitgeist of division, doubt, mistrust and confusion that has quite literally destroyed Croatia. If their aim was to make Croatia look better when it was part of Yugoserbia, then they their goal is within their grasp.

  13. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


  1. […] Source: Croatian President Boosting Prospects For EU Independence From Russian Energy Supplies […]

  2. […] make Iran a serious Balkan gas player, especially if Zagreb succeeds in its plans to build one or a few regional pipelines branching out from the coast. Additionally, Iranian supplies through Lithuania […]

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