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Merkel: Last-minute decision on Euro 2012

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would be making a last-minute decision on whether to attend Euro 2012 in Ukraine, amid tension over the treatment of the country's jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Merkel: Last-minute decision on Euro 2012
Photo: DPA

She told regional newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger on Thursday that the law in Ukraine was a “cause for concern.” But added that, “I always decide on such things at short notice.”

Ukraine has come under intense pressure amid mounting concern for Tymoshenko, who was jailed for seven years in October in a controversial case that immediately damaged Kiev’s ties with the European Union.

Tymoshenko, 51, launched a hunger strike on April 20 to protest an alleged beating she received in prison.

Merkel stressed that it is important “to do everything” for Tymoshenko to “receive the appropriate treatment for her illness quickly.”

German media had earlier reported that the chancellor is preparing to instruct her ministers to stay away from the football tournament.

The Austrian government said Wednesday it would boycott all Euro 2012 football matches in Ukraine after the country’s chancellor announced a similar move.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso has “no intention” of travelling to Ukraine, his office has said, following a similar decision by EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding.

AFP/jcw

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ENERGY

Germany raps US over ‘astronomical’ gas prices

Germany's economy minister on Wednesday accused countries including the US of charging too much for gas as Europe's biggest economy struggles to rebalance its energy mix without Russian supplies.

Germany raps US over 'astronomical' gas prices

“Some countries, even friendly ones, are achieving astronomical prices in some cases,”

Robert Habeck told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper. “This naturally brings problems with it, which we have to talk about,” he said.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a dramatic energy crisis in Germany, which previously relied on Moscow for 55 percent of gas deliveries.

Russia has been gradually squeezing supplies since invading Ukraine in what Berlin believes is retaliation for its support for Kyiv.

To fill the gap, Berlin is investing in more expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Germany and other European countries have thus turned to the United States, which now provides 45 percent of European LNG imports — up from 28 percent in 2021.

“The US turned to us when oil prices shot up, and as a result national oil reserves were also tapped in Europe,” Habeck said. “I think such solidarity would also be good for curbing gas prices.”

Habeck also called on the EU to coordinate gas purchases to help bring prices down.

The bloc should “bundle its market power and orchestrate smart and synchronised purchasing behaviour among EU states so that individual EU countries do not outbid each other and drive up world market prices”, he said.

Germany last week announced a 200-billion-euro ($199-billion) fund to shield consumers from soaring energy prices.

However, the plan has been criticised by France and key members of the European Commission, who are calling for EU-wide solutions to the energy crunch.

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