• 26 March 2014


The Hellenic state-owned company responsible for the distribution of gas, the Depa , began studying the feasibility of a conduit to transport natural gas from fields in the eastern Mediterranean ( off the coast of Cyprus and Israel) across the island of Crete and Greece to the rest of continental Europe. The announcement of this initiative came from the Greek Ministry of Environment .

The Depa , in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy , Trade and Industry in Cyprus have called the plan ” ‘Gas pipeline in the eastern Mediterranean .” The European Commission has been very interested in the project and called it a ” project of common interest .”

The total cost of the work will be covered by the Depa and other companies involved in the project (or organizations involved in exploration and exploitation of natural gas in the basin of south-eastern Mediterranean ) . The Depa has also requested funding from the European Union .

According to the original design, ” the pipeline will have a capacity of eight billion cubic meters per year and will be divided into six sections : a section underwater 150 km from the fields of plant Vasiliko , on the southern coast of Cyprus; an underwater section of 650 km from Vasiliko the east coast of Crete ; an underwater section of 400 km from Crete to the south-east coast of the Peloponnese ; a 260 km section of the earth that passes through the Peloponnese ; an underwater section that crosses the Gulf of Patras , and finally , one last terrestrial section of 220 km from the coast in the region of Aetolia- Acarnania to that of Thesprotia . ”

From the feasibility study will be gathered more detailed technical data for the construction and operation of the pipeline and then you will be able to draw the economic and commercial considerations necessary for its sustainability.

Energy supply : European problems

  • 10 March 2014


Energy security can be considered from two points of view : on one hand, with regard to energy-importing countries , the concept is related to the ability of these countries to have a steady stream of energy at reasonable prices; on the other hand , as regards the exporting countries , energy security is directly linked to the market prices of energy and the ability to export at prices that will enable them to obtain regular income sufficient to meet the domestic needs .

Turning now more specifically interest to Europe , the issue of energy security has emerged in all its evidence when international events have cast doubt on the continuity of gas supplies from Russia . On that occasion, the countries of the European continent have faced the same problem in different ways, and this has helped to highlight the differences between two types of possible approach to the issue of energy security by importing countries. The Western European governments have tended to confine the story to the chapters of economic policy, and have often treated with producing countries (mainly Russia, Algeria and Libya) and their firms pursuing the objectives of limiting the price. The governments of these countries tend to consider the political problems that arise between Russia and transit countries as disadvantageous to them how to Moscow, and aim to rapid resolutions of contractual disputes , while at the same time to minimize the appearance of claims related ( often political ) that would result in the continuation of the dispute.

The countries of Eastern Europe and Central and Eastern Europe ( the Visegrad Group – Poland , Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary – Ukraine and Belarus ) have instead been influenced by political concerns that sink in cultural and historical disputes and other more political – strategic , both because of their Soviet past (which alters their relations with Russia , making them the most tense and wary ) , both for their fundamental characteristic of a transit country for Russian gas . For these reasons, the governments of these countries not only demonstrate greater willingness to oppose the imposition of contractual Russian counterparts , but together they can count on a greater negotiating power as key countries for the gas flow to the major consuming countries of Western Europe .

This rift between the two ways of thinking about energy security to the formation of a compact face of consumer countries , and in the past has often risked undermining the intra- European solidarity . On the other hand , Russia has every interest in keeping disunited group of countries consumers of gas, so we can deal with each state and dilute the weight of European energy security in dozens of national cases .

No government in the world has ever been able to ignore the issue of energy security, because the operation of the state machine and the well-being of its citizens depend on the level of satisfaction of the domestic energy demand and the predictability of trends in the amount of energy available in the future. However, with the increasing dependence on gas and oil for industrial use , heating and transport , and because of the unequal distribution of hydrocarbons in the various countries of the world, international tensions and issues of energy security have been growing .

Between 2001 and 2008 , in addition, four factors of political and economic nature have combined to produce an overall sense of energy insecurity in western countries , and especially in Europe , which until a few years before they enjoyed a privileged position in world markets from the point of view of the possibility of purchasing and accumulation of inventories held :

• increase in the price of hydrocarbons. if the average price of gas in 2001 was $ 2 per MMBTU ( one million British thermal units , the unit of measure that allows the comparison of different energy sources through their heat output ) , in 2008 it was more than fivefold , and touched $ 11 fee . Similarly, the price of oil, which in 2001 was assestava around $ 5 per MMBTU in 2008 had peaked at $ 22 . The rapid rise in prices is forcing countries that depend on foreign countries for a large proportion of their energy supply to squeeze disposable income per household with equal energy (compression indirectly through a tax increase or a destination of a majority stake State budget to the satisfaction of energy needs , or direct cause of the increase in price of petrol , gas and industrial end-users) .


• ‘ gas crisis ‘ in Eastern Europe. For Europe, high energy prices risked further growth , and gas supplies to be interrupted , because of disagreements between Naftogaz , the national gas company of Ukraine and Gazprom , its Russian supplier , which peaked in early 2006. European Union countries depend on Russia for about 38% of the total supply of gas, and 80% of that gas reaches Europe transiting Ukraine. In the dispute between Gazprom and Naftogaz , Russia demanded that the Ukrainian company or its government intervene to settle the debts accumulated by Gazprom , and at the same time was eager to renegotiate upwards (compared to the low price of favor ) the multi-year supply contract , or alternatively revise downward the costs of transit through the territory of Ukraine. The interruption for three days ( 1 to 4 January 2006) of all gas supplies to Ukraine – and , consequently, to Europe – European governments are intimidated and forced them to put their hands to their energy supplies . In 2007 he returned to intensify a similar crisis with Belarus (formerly occurred in 2004 ) , and in the meantime the dispute between Moscow and Kiev dragged on through thick and thin until the end of 2009, with two peaks of reduction disbursement of Russian gas in March 2008 and again in January 2009 that forced some European countries to rely on domestic stocks .

• competition from China . Since 2001, the growing Chinese energy needs have led Beijing to direct new investment into the hydrocarbon-rich Central Asian countries , such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and to seek to enter into new supply contracts with them , putting at risk the future possibility of supply on the European side . In particular, Beijing is funding the Turkmenistan -China gas pipeline , which went into operation in 2014 and will carry up to 15 bmc / y ( billion cubic meters of gas per year .)

• attention to climate change . Although the variables which have a more significant effect on European energy security are constituted by energy prices , political instability and the emergence of new competitors , the importance that the issue of climate change has acquired the political agenda of European governments exerts a significant influence. The attention of the public and the more accurate scientific predictions push in favor of renewables. This drive may still not be in contradiction with some precautions energy diversification that have already been adopted by European governments .

The result of the interaction of these four factors , broadly contemporary , led Western governments to better specify their energy policies to try to keep the perceived safety of a stable level over time. The policies go in different directions , but particularly place emphasize on the need to :

1. The internal diversify the energy mix , that the national share of electricity generated by different energy sources . The goal is to become less dependent on fossil fuels ( coal, oil and gas ), which would need to be imported, and to develop other sources of energy in the country ( nuclear , hydroelectric, solar, wind , etc.). .

2 . Diversify suppliers – what is often impossible , since the cost of transportation of hydrocarbons and the geographic concentration of reserves make the naturally oligopolistic energy market – or at least the routes of supply . For this reason, European governments have launched independently or in collaboration with Russia, the Nord Stream gas pipeline projects ( which, starting from Vyborg , Russia , Germany would reach through the North Sea) , Nabucco and South Stream ( which, passing Turkey or its territorial waters would reach Bulgaria and from there to European countries) . These pipelines would transport Russian gas to Europe without having to transit countries for their problematic relations with Russia , such as Ukraine , Belarus and Poland .

3 . Reduce domestic consumption and / or increase energy efficiency. It goes without saying that a country that consumes less energy is less dependent on its imports from outside. In this sense, the European Union has acceded to the Kyoto Protocol in 2006 , and his promise to cut energy consumption by 20 % by 2020 and 19 May 2010, the EU Council and Parliament adopted a directive on the minimum standard of energy performance of buildings (inside of which is used about 40% of the total energy consumed ) .

Internationalize in Serbia

  • 4 March 2014



Serbia is considered the new frontier of the internationalization of Italian enterprises. It is proving to be a favourite for Italian companies that decide to relocate their production activities abroad.

Over the last decade the Italian investments in the Balkan country has increased rapidly . Currently Italy is in second place for the number and size of projects in different productive sectors.

The economic opening of Belgrade to the rest of the world, has been an acceleration in the last five years. This was done through legislation in fact, with far fewer restrictions on the use of the labor force and respect for the environment than those set by the European Union and Italy. For more Serbia has focused on an aggressive campaign of government grants and tax breaks to companies that invest in its territory.

The trend of recent years, says that the number of Italian companies that have decided to internationalize in Serbia has tripled. In a comparative study (Source Siepa ) during the years 2001/2011 , Italy as investor country ranks second for overall value , behind Austria, with a share of 11 , 1 % . The same position in terms of number of projects ( 14% ) . So the volume of trade between them is strengthened : our country globally in 2011 was the third partner of Serbia , the second ( after Germany ) , considering only the export . By analyzing the presence in various sectors by number of active enterprises, the main slice , more than a third , it is up to the textile and clothing ( 36.60 %) , followed by metallurgy ( 12.20% ) , finance (9.80 %) and automotive (9.80 %).

In 2013 the data on the local presence of our companies , estimate around .

With the passage of time, however, there was some structural weaknesses of the Serbian economy .

The Serbian economy is driven by exports (for the majority of Fiat ) and even though according to the forecasts of the central bank will increase the GDP in 2014 to a rate close to 1% ( in 2013 it was increased by 2%), domestic consumption remains low while unemployment remains an economic and social problem .

In fact, the jobless rate is around 25% and has grown steadily since 2008.

Serbian citizens , therefore , do not enjoy the benefits created by foreign investment .

The other structural weakness relates to the stress that the public finances of the country have had to endure , mainly because of the effort to stabilize the fluctuations of the currency (victim inflation since 2011). The budget deficit is 7.1% , and the World Bank would like to see reduced to 6.5% of GDP in 2014.

Important reforms have not yet been made ​​by the government are those concerning labor law (which you would want more flexible ) and on the bankruptcy proceedings.

In its latest report edited by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness , the main difficulties reported in doing business with Serbia corruption (13.8% of respondents) , an inefficient bureaucracy (13.1% ) , lack of ability to obtain credit (11.1%) , political instability (10.9%) , inadequate infrastructure (7.3%) .

The political situation is unstable and the proof is the calling of early elections ( scheduled for mid- March).

Regarding the infrastructure chapter , however , Serbia seems that there is still a long way especially in energy and transport on rails. In both cases , the country does not have adequate facilities to support its economic development .

To try to make up ground , Belgrade, is among the main beneficiaries of any funds made available by the EU and has obtained financing from China and Russia . It will , however, a process that will take a long time : on the whole, these structures will not be modernized before 2020. The date that the intention of Belgrade, could apply joining the European Union.