Conversations (4)


I find little to argue with you about other than your comment about an "ill-conceived referendum".

On constitutional matters, however, I would argue that the people should have their say. And the entry of the UK into the then 'Common Market' was carried out on the understanding that there would be no transfer of sovereignty. As this proved not to be the case, then surely the people - and I write as one who was too young to have a say on the matter in the 1970s - should have a say.

I think that the referendum was essential. Or do you you believe that the political elites know better than the people?
Theresa May's decision to call a snap election has unsettled the UK political establishment - the opposition parties appear confused and rather lost about the position they find themselves in.

But despite the somewhat dismissive rhetoric, the European Commission must surely realise that a Conservative landslide victory in the UK would send out a strong message to the political elites in the other 27 member states that Euroscepticism wins votes, and the question of 'withdrawal' is no longer a subject confined to the political fringes, as it was in the UK until very recently.

The times they are a'changing...

Imagine trying to care and provide for your family, or starting a new business venture, if you had no access whatsoever to electricity.

Many of these people live in developing economies, often in very small rural communities, and are still reliant for biomass, that is burning wood that they forage for, for cooking and cleaning.

How do we as a global community help to address this situation, and what should the role of the powerful energy industry be?

Thank you for the invitation to this debate on an important matter that touches upon different spheres like climate and development policy.

As Victoria said, the year 2015 was decisive for a higher global equality in living conditions and environmental justice since both the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate action were adopted. This shows both the responsibility and willingness of the global community to act on existing problems like lacking access to clean energy. The next step especially for the richer countries is now to stand by their word and implement the generic targets on the ground. The EU for example needs to integrate the SDGs and the Paris commitments into its climate and energy legislation. But more importantly, the developed countries need to fulfill their obligation for funding to build infrastructure in developing countries, like Victoria mentioned.

It is true that there are problems with the administration and distribution of funds, but new initiatives are often addressing these already. For example, during the UN climate conference in Marrakesh 40 developed and developing countries as well as organizations launched a global partnership that will tie countries closer together on the implementation of national climate plans and support developing countries in financial and technological terms. A secretariat is also put up for the partnership that shall help with the planning processes of clean energy projects.

I agree that relying on biomass will lock in further environmental problems in those regions. It is important that there is a diversity of energy sources. The solar power plant Ouarzazate in Morocco for example received support from EU and member states like Germany and has been the largest plant of this kind for some time.

Thank you Gary for inviting me to join this conversation.

My view of the issue is extremely simple. Russia, when it annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine with a hybrid force (irregulars comprising volunteers and mercenaries) committed a crime. This crime is a threat to the member states of the EU - it undermines international law regarding borders and could potentially lead to conflicts within the EU. Russia is destabilising the Union itself by using deniable assets- politicians and others who are incentivised by various means including payments and loans via banks, oligarchs and media channels.

If the EU does not support the enforcement of international law in Ukraine it will face an increasing threat within its borders. Russia's aim is to splinter the EU and to sever the transatlantic alliance. So extending sanctions is morally justified and imperative for the security of the EU. In addition, the EU must act to secure the threat from deniable assets in particular the "red brown" alliance sponsored by Putin. Finally, all RU promoted narratives blaming the victim must be eschewed. 

You touched on the relationship between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. I am a Londoner. My grandmother nursed my father (he was born in 1939) in an air raid shelter. The Nazi bombers that were dropping those bombs on London's civilians were flying with engines provided by Stalin's Soviet government. And that was not the only help the Kremlin provided to Hitler. 

Is there Russian lobby in the European Parliament? If yes, how it works? Does Russia sponsor particular political groups in the Parliament and MEP’s?

I presume that there is a Russian lobby in the EP. However, I did not come across it. Therefore I cannot comment on their activities.