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Why was Slovakia's Prime Minister attacked?
Why was Slovakia's Prime Minister attacked? | Europe In: 60

Why was Slovakia's Prime Minister attacked?

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden and co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, shares his perspective on European politics from Tallinn, Estonia.

What was the background to the attempted assassination of the Prime Minister of Slovakia?

Well, we don't know everything. A person, 71-year-old man has been apprehended. But the background seems to be that the attempt was triggered by the climate of polarization that has been there in Slovak policies for quite some time, notably this year with elections, presidential one, last year with parliamentary elections, but even before that. So the lesson of this horrible act is that we have to be careful with the political culture and the political climate in our democracies. Otherwise, there's a risk-averse, triggering actions by individuals of this sort.

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A natural gas pipe in front of EU and Russian flags.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

What We're Watching: Russia-EU pipeline repairs, AMLO in the (White) House, Sri Lanka's new leader

Will Russia turn the taps back on?

“Trust us,” Russia is saying, “we’re just doing routine maintenance.” Moscow has just shut off its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, a major source of natural gas for Germany, for 10 days of summer repairs. Annual checkups to these pipelines are normal, but this is no normal year. Berlin worries the Kremlin might leave the pipes closed as a way to retaliate against the EU for the bloc’s Ukraine-related sanctions. Nord Stream 1 carries about 55 billion cubic meters of gas annually to Germany, equaling about half of the country’s yearly consumption. If Moscow keeps the line shut, Europe would struggle to store up enough gas supplies ahead of next winter. Natural gas prices in Europe are already soaring, and although the EU is moving to wean itself off of Russian energy, any further shortfalls would further stoke already-high inflation, with unpredictable political consequences across the continent. Putin, of course, knows this. Keep an eye on that “closed for repairs” sign hanging on Nord Stream 1.

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