This is a guest post by Peter Männer, who is commenting regularly here under the pseudonym of 'Zyme' and working without it as a pupil barrister in Regensburg for the judiciary branch of Bavaria.
Transatlantic relations as well as Franco-German relations are expected to suffer from the latest development of Siemens' engagement in Russia.
On February 2nd, Siemens declared that it was going to make use of its "Put"-option regarding its 34 % share of a joint venture with the French nuclear company Areva. This step has been made due to the fact that Paris had blocked Siemens for years from gaining influence on decision making within the 'AREVA NP joint venture'.
In Moscow on February 3rd, when Siemens CEO Peter Löscher and his board were presenting the operational results of the last quarter, they also announced an agreement with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin containing an alliance between Siemens and the Russian Atomenergoprom. The latter has been founded in 2007 as a means of consolidating the entire chain of nuclear industry in Russia, covering all aspects from uranium mining to nuclear research, production and management of nuclear power plants as well as propulsions for nuclear submarines.
The Russian Prime Minister called the agreement a "large-scale partnership, ready to work in Russia, in Germany as well as in third countries", while the coordinator of energy policy for the conservative CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Parliament, Joachim Pfeiffer, explained that "politics must have an interest in Siemens maintaining and expanding its competence in nuclear energy, to be able to play a significant role on the world market."
Rather negative reactions followed from France and the United States.
Claude Mandil, a former executive director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, pronounced his regret about the loss of a "European Partnership" between Siemens and the French Areva company due to Siemen's intentions.
Le Monde went even further in considering this agreement as just the latest of Vladimir Putin's efforts about dividing the Europeans, calling it a "Looming German-Russian Axis in nuclear affairs".
From the United States, Stephen Szabo, the executive director of the Transatlantic Academy in Washington, warned Berlin from taking the road of the traditional German Seesaw policy between Washington and Moscow. In such moves he is seeing substantial differences between Germany and the United States regarding national interests, political cultures and their respective methods, which could endanger the revivement of the relationship between both countries.