Voices from Russia

Friday, 16 January 2015

Greece Backs Russian Decision to Scrap Gas Transit via the Ukraine



On Friday, Dimitris Velanis, a member of the Council of the Greek-Russian Chamber of Trade, told Sputnik that Moscow’s decision to shift gas transit from the Ukraine to Turkey is fair and would be good for Greece, saying, “Russia’s decision to change the gas route to Turkey sounds entirely justified. Stupid and illogical EU politics can’t hold Russia ‘hostage’. Europe has to stop Ukrainian provocations in [the Donbass], and by so doing, guarantee regular gas supplies to Europe. The EU imposed sanctions on Russia that undermine the development of bilateral energy coöperation, but at the same time, it accuses Russia of refusing to supply gas. This is where one can see a double standard in policy; in the end, it’ll boomerang on Europe”. Velanis emphasised that the Greek government is ready “to support any Russian decision about gas supplies to Greece and through Greece to other European countries”. According to Velanis, the Greeks are extremely interested in developing energy coöperation with Russia, as “any child could understand that neither American shale gas, nor the Baku Trans Adriatic pipeline is enough to satisfy European demand for gas”.

In December 2014, President Putin announced that Moscow had to scrap its long-overdue South Stream project, intended to serve as a means of avoiding passage through the Ukraine, citing continued opposition from Brussels. The so-called Turkish Stream is an alternative route that will run under the Black Sea to Turkey and on to Europe, with a gas hub also planned on the Turkish-Greek border. Former Hellenic Parliament Deputy ad current Parliamentary candidate Athanasios Petrakos told Sputnik, “This decision creates a new geopolitical situation. The 50 billion cubic metres of gas per year that’ll accumulate in Turkey’s border with Greece are a great opportunity for Greece to upgrade its geopolitical role”. Petrakos, who is in charge of the leading SYRIZA party’s energy policy, emphasised, “The new government of SYRIZA, after 25 January [parliamentary elections in Greece], will help to upgrade the energy role of Greece and is ready to discuss the splitting of the Hub between Turkey and Greece”. According to Petrakos, with the creation of the dual hub, Greece will become an important factor in supplying Europe with Russian gas.

Greece will hold snap parliamentary elections on 25 January. The Greek parliament failed to elect a president in the third and final round of voting on 29 December 2014, so, it had to dissolve. Polls show that Eurosceptic party SYRIZA is most likely to win the forthcoming vote.

16 January 2015

Sputnik International



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