Assignment 9, Matthew, Lucas & Felicia

What are we doing?

The Southern Gas Corridor is as BP calls it “arguably the global oil and gas industry’s most significant and ambitious undertaking yet”– a chain of gas pipelines stretching from Azerbaijan to Italy to bring Azerbaijan gas to Europe. It’s advertised by the EU as the “silver bullet that will free Europe from its dependency on Russian gas”. This, however, has been questioned.

Fredrika Mogherini – EU:s foreign minister: “It’s more than just a pipeline”…It is also about enlarging and deepening political, economic and social ties with a number of partners in a wider region… Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Albania.”

Firstly, there is an argument that Russia will use TAP – Russia & Turkey have already agreed on Russia being able to use the Turkish part of the southern corridor

Secondly, there is an argument of bribery – azerbaijan bribes the EU to them being more positive about the country (laundromat scandal) and this could also have an effect on the EU being more positive about the pipeline.

European Investment Bank is mulling over the decision on giving a 2 billion USD to finance the last part of the Southern Gas Corridor – the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. The loan would be the largest in the banks history.

They have not yet decided on whether or not they will give the loan – they have been mulling over it since 2015.

What factors are hindering them from giving the loan? Who’s lobbying for and against the loan?

 

Angle?

Is EIB’s biggest ever loan, of which the decision is still being mulled over, really going to a contentious fossil fuel infrastrastructure?

According to several climate associations, fossil fuels should be phased out to make way for actual verified renewable energy sources found within wind, solar, geothermal and electricity.  Instead an infrastructure which taps and transports LNG is steamrolling ahead, locking Europe into a system that may be worse or at least equally as harmful in regards to greenhouse emissions.

 

Hypothesis?

There are serious concerns and disagreements within the EIB on giving the loan to TAP. Lobbying is a serious factor when it comes to the decision on the banks biggest ever loan.

 

Originality?

We haven’t seen any reports on the lobbying around EIB:s decision from the larger news outlets.

 

Need?

A lot of EU-money going into the project. Our money. And it’s the biggest loan the EIB have ever given.

Sweden’s biggest gas-provider, Swedegas, owners are huge shareholders in the project.

 

Scope?

Too broad at the moment.

 

Maximum outcome?

Expose how multinational corporations are lobbying the EIB.

 

Minimum outcome?

Show why people argue so much in the EIB.

 

Methods?

We will look at the lobbying carried out by gas companies in Brussels. Do the companies who owns TAP lobby, and if so, with how much resources? Through the transparency register, which unfortunately is not mandatory to sign up to, we can get a picture on the lobby groups’ budgets and the sizes of their staff. By looking at the commissioners’ official agendas it is possible to count how many meetings the gas lobby has had with the commissioners and their cabinets. We will also look if experts related to the gas lobby have been in the commission’s advisory boards.

 

Sources?

Politicians, ex-EIB-members, documents, companies, NGO’s, members of EIB.

 

Images/Presentation/Outlet

Text for a big European paper – Financial Times or The Guardian. If we find a Swedish angle (we have our eyes on a local company involved in the building of TAP) we may write the story for Dagens Industri or Dagens Nyheter.

Assignment 2 Marta & Veronika

Subject

Coffee imported from Brazilian plantations contains toxic pesticides forbidden in the EU.

 

Hypothesis

Many coffee chains in Europe buy coffee from plantations in Brazil (main coffee exporter) that use pesticides and toxic substances that are forbidden by the EU.

 

Need

In the EU, it is illegal to use pesticides that contain terbufos, because the chemical is so toxic. In Brazil, however, it is often used to fight insects. The chemicals that are used on Brazilian coffee may also cause cancer.

According to DanWatch, in 2014, over 364.000 kg of pesticides containing terbufos were sold in the state of Minas Gerais that are home to most coffee plantations.

Europe imports a majority of coffee from Brazil and the coffee intake in Europe is extremely high. Therefore they need to comply with the rules from the EU when they are exporting to us. Pesticides used on the plantation are not only dangerous for the workers on location, who use the chemicals without protection, but also affect the quality of the coffee in retail.

 

Scope

We intend to approach the subject from a European point of view but focusing on what is happening on location in Brazil. We intend to do a follow up on a story published 2016 by the news outlet “DanWatch” about the conditions on coffee plantations in Brazil and how several coffee chains in Europe purchase their products despite the misuse of pesticide and abuse of the workers.

 

Methods

  • Contact journalists in Brazil and also from DanWatch
  • look into EU regulations
  • contact coffee buyers
  • look into statistics

 

Sources