Russia confronts London with 14 questions on the “fabricated” Skripal case

The Russian embassy in London has sent a list of 14 questions to the British Foreign Office and demands that it reveal details of the investigation into the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

The questions, which are fully listed below, include the requirement to clarify whether samples of the nerve poison А-234 (also known as “Novitschok”) have ever been developed in the UK. The embassy’s statement calls the incident that triggered the recent diplomatic dispute a “fake case against Russia”. The questions are:

1. Why was Russia denied the right of consular access to the two Russian citizens who were harmed on British territory?

2. What specific antidotes and in what form were injected to the victims? How did such antidotes get into the possession of British doctors at the scene?

3. Why was France involved in technical cooperation in the investigation of the incident in which Russian citizens were injured?

4. Has the United Kingdom informed the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) of France’s participation in the investigation into the Salisbury incident?

5. What has France to do with the incident involving two Russian citizens in the United Kingdom?

6. Which rules of British procedural law allow a foreign state to participate in an internal investigation?

7. What evidence has been provided to France to investigate and conduct the investigation?

8. Were the French experts present at the sampling of biomaterial from Sergei and Yulia Skripal?

9. Was the examination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal’s biomaterials carried out by the French experts and if so, in which special laboratories?

10. does the United Kingdom own the materials involved in the French investigation?

11. have the results of the French investigation been submitted to the OPCW Technical Secretariat?

12. On what properties was the alleged “Russian origin” of the substance used in Salisbury established?

13. does the United Kingdom have control samples of the chemical warfare agent known as “Novichok” by British representatives?

14. were the samples of a chemical warfare agent of the same type as “Novitschok” (according to British terminology) or its analogues developed in Great Britain?

A similar list of 10 questions was sent to the French Foreign Ministry by the Russian Embassy in Paris. According to the document, Moscow wanted to know why France was involved in the British investigation into Skripal poisoning.

She demanded that Paris reveal what kind of evidence France was handed over by the United Kingdom and also asked whether French experts held samples of the nerve agent А-234 (also known as “Novitschok”) or biomaterials belonging to Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Russia also asked for explanations of what led French experts to conclude that the substance used in the attack in Salisbury was a nerve gas: there was also critical questioning about how А-234 and a Russian origin were concluded. The last question on the list was: “Were the samples of such a chemical warfare agent or its analogues developed in France and, if so, for what purpose?

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were discovered on a bank in Salisbury in early March, with the United Kingdom claiming that a nerve gas designed by the Soviet Union was used against them. Without a proper investigation being conducted, London said it was “very likely” that Russia was responsible for the attack. The British government shortly thereafter introduced sanctions against Russia, including the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Moscow has rejected all accusations as “provocation” and demanded evidence from the British side. However, London refused to cooperate with Russia in this case by denying Russian consular staff access to Russian citizen Yulia Skripal and rejecting the request for a sample of the toxic substance in question.

Europe’s economy is becoming significantly stronger

The financial crisis in Europe seems to be a distant past: the EU Commission has once again raised its growth forecast for the euro zone and the EU as a whole. In 2017, 2018 and 2019 the economy is expected to grow faster than initially assumed. The open outcome of the brexite negotiations, the possible intensification of geopolitical conflicts – for example with North Korea – and US President Donald Trump, on the other hand, create uncertainty.

Europe as a whole, and the euro zone in particular, have had years of crisis with weak economic activity and even shrinking economies behind them. Now the situation looks better than it has been for 10 years. In 2007, growth in both the single currency area and the EU as a whole was 3.0 percent, and from 2008 onwards it was rapidly declining.

This year, the EU Commission expects gross domestic product (GDP) to increase by 2.3 percent in the 19 countries that have the euro as their currency. In the autumn, it had still assumed a figure of 2.1 percent. For 2017, the Commission is now even expecting GDP growth of 2.4 percent (autumn report: 2.2 percent). In the EU as a whole, the Brussels authorities are forecasting growth of 2.4 percent for 2017 and 2.3 percent in 2018 (autumn forecast: 2.3/2.1 percent).

The positive trend should largely continue in the coming year. In 2019, growth in the euro zone is expected to be 2.0 percent, and in the 27 EU states excluding Great Britain 2.1 percent. The United Kingdom is expected to leave the EU at the end of March 2019. The prospects for the UK itself look rather gloomy. For 2018, the EU Commission expects growth of 1.4 percent, and in 2019 it is expected to slow to 1.1 percent. However, these are estimates based on the assumption that trade relations between the remaining 27 countries and the island remained unchanged, it was said. The EU-27 and Britain are currently negotiating the modalities of EU exit and the period thereafter.

The EU Commission continues to expect robust growth rates for Germany. Strong private consumption and strong demand from abroad resulted in GDP growth of 2.2 percent in 2017. Brussels expects 2.3 percent in 2018 and 2.1 percent in 2019. This year, Romania, Ireland and Slovenia are likely to see above-average growth of more than 4 percent.

Satisfaction and warning in Brussels

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici expressed his overall satisfaction: “The euro area can look forward to growth rates such as those seen recently before the financial crisis. Moreover, the growth rate across Europe is more balanced than it was ten years ago. However, EU Finance Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis warned: “We must continue to ensure that this growth reaches all Europeans. We must use this window of opportunity to make our economies more crisis-proof and deepen economic and monetary union”.

The background to this development is, among other things, a better labour market situation as well as a strong global economy and booming world trade. In addition to brexite, there are geopolitical conflicts – for example on the Korean peninsula – and the establishment of global trade barriers such as Trump. This could still dampen the growth prospects. The EU Commission is therefore pressing for reforms of economic and monetary union in Europe, also against the background of persistently low inflation.

Inflation rates remain below ECB target

For 2017 and 2018, the agency expects inflation rates of 1.5 percent in the euro-zone. By 2019, it should be 1.6 percent. This would still fall short of the European Central Bank’s target of an inflation rate of just under two percent. This would not send a clear signal that monetary policy, which remains very loose, would be restricted.

Among other things, the EU member states are currently struggling to develop the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) into a European monetary fund, which could also act as a so-called “last resort” in the event of banking imbalances. In addition, there is also renewed discussion of a European system for securing savings. The Commission proposal has been on the table since 2015. Germany in particular has serious doubts about this. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had recently announced her intention to coordinate with France in spring.

Online Gambling Laws in Europe

Although one might expect it to be general legislation regarding online gambling across Europe, this is not really the case. Although the European Gaming and Betting Association, which does online gambling for casinos, sports betting, Bitcoin Casino and online poker all over Europe in some way, each European country has its own laws that also regulate in factor.

Europe is unique due to the fact that it is home to a number of online gambling jurisdictions, including the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Malta and Alderney. Some are subject to the rules and regulations of the European Union, but some of them are independent. Each jurisdiction is responsible for approving the licensing for gaming sites that is required for the sites to legally offer their services. The operators are also regulated by these countries.


Germany’s gambling laws are quite complex. In 2008, unlike in the case of horse racing, there were laws that banned all online betting and gambling, which was not offered by the state. Gambling laws were made more liberal in 2010, but then changed again in 2013, however all gambling operators licenses previously issued in fact are still issued until 2018, you can see a list of the legal online casinos at There may come more legislative changes in the future if it is found that online gambling in Germany is still essentially operated as a monopoly.


In France, online gambling is regulated by ARJEL. In 2010, there were three types of online gambling officially legalised… poker, horse betting and sports betting. But also other than poker, casino games are not allowed in France, because of the general opinion that they are addicted too.


Gambling laws in general are fairly liberal in Italy. In 2006, a law was introduced that allows companies to provide sports betting on the Internet. In 2011, legislation was changed to allow the addition of casino games and poker through licencing arrangements. Today, players in Italy have a good selection of online gambling games to choose from which can be viewed at


Gambling laws in Spain have changed a few times in recent years. Currently residents of Spain are legally allowed to play in the country and betting is permitted at any place. Poker, betting and other forms of gambling are available through Spanish online sites that are regulated through licencing by the Spanish government.


Poker, card games, slot machines and sports betting are legal in casinos however the market is strictly regulated by the Austrian government. The government makes a clear distinction between “Kleines Glüksspiel” which includes low stake bets and what it determines to be “proper gambling”. Online casinos are permitted in Austria however they are subject to licencing laws, lists online casinos that have a licence to operate in Austria.


As Greece struggles to get its economic and financial house back to get back, the gambling industry within the country will show some signs of growth. Online gambling is currently considered in Greece as a way to increase income and help the country meet financial commitments. A few years ago, the government gave 24 temporary online gaming operators licenses at the time, but then revoked them a year later. However, the current government plans seem ready to reinstate these online operators licenses. It seems that many changes on the horizon regarding online gambling in Greece.

Brexit, what now? An overview

What are the economic, legal and financial consequences of brexit?

What are the specific economic consequences of Brexit for Britain and the EU? We investigated this in a study using various scenarios. The result: In the extreme case, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Great Britain could shrink by up to 313 billion in the long term, while that of Germany could fall by up to 58 billion. A fact sheet on the study also shows the possible GDP losses.

The legal challenges posed by Brexit are also considerable. We discussed this with the European lawyer Federico Fabbrini. In addition, Brexit represents a significant cut in the EU budget. Our analysis assumes that an annual error of 10 billion euros is to be expected. At the same time, however, the withdrawal of the British could also provide the impetus for a reform of the EU budget.

And what do the entrepreneurs directly concerned think? In a representative company survey we found out in the run-up to the referendum that German and British entrepreneurs see the Brexit very critically.

Brexit inspires EU approval

“Too bureaucratic, distant from citizens and undemocratic’ – the EU is often perceived negatively, not only in the UK, and some clichés are persistent. But the image of citizens is more complex than many people think. This is shown by our regular European-wide surveys from the “eupinions”series. Already at the end of 2016, shortly after the referendum, one of our surveys revealed that the Brexit promotes approval of the European Union – also in Great Britain.

The “eupinions” also show that an issue that also played an important role in the EU referendum in the United Kingdom has a major impact on Europeans’ political attitudes: globalisation and the fears that go with it. According to the survey, skeptics of globalisation are much more critical of the EU and democracy.

Even if the British had stayed in the European Union, cooperation in Europe would have been complicated. The EU reform deal that Prime Minister Cameron negotiated with the other EU countries in February 2016 made it even more difficult, as our analysis of the special agreements shows.