EYES ON BRUSSELS ON THE EXTENSION OF TURKSTREAM THROUGH GREECE
Greece is conducting talks with the EU on the extension of Turk Stream natural gas pipeline through its territory, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on December 6. The next day Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it is quite possible the pipeline from Greece to Italy can be filled with a real product (i.e. Russian gas.)
Ahead of his visit to Moscow on December 7, Tsipras, in an interview with Russian news agency TASS, highlighted the importance of the Turk Stream project to bring Russian gas to Europe for its energy security.
Russia has been evaluating several routes for the project’s second line, namely Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary as well as Greece and Italy. Despite Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova’s statement during her speech in Parliament on November 30, in which she said the Turk Stream gas pipeline would pass through Bulgaria, discussions between Russia, Bulgaria and Greece are still ongoing to determine the route for the second line.
“We are conducting dialogue with the EU and I believe our arguments are strong,” Tsipras said. “We have perseverance and patience and I believe we will have positive results in the future. Greece greatly contributed to the Southern Corridor and the so-called TAP [Trans Adriatic Pipeline], which runs from Turkey to Greece and on to Italy.”
Tsipras urged the diversification of energy sources, which he said was within the framework of the EU’s energy strategy to ensure security in the region.
Russia appears to be positive on the issue since Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 7 that Russia is ready to extend the Turk Stream pipeline to Greece. Speaking at a joint news conference with the Greek Prime Minister, Putin pointed out that a pipeline from Greece to Italy has yet to be filled with gas and that it can be used for gas transportation from Russia to southern Europe via Turkey.
“We are discussing this with our Turkish and Greek partners, and it is quite possible. There is a pipeline in place from Greece to Italy. We can think together how to fill this route with a real product,” he said.
Tsipras, for his part, voiced his country’s interest to be part of the project, saying it will increase Greece’s role in the regional energy domain. He accused the European Union of having “double standards” regarding Turk Stream, saying the European Commission is ”preventing “extension of the Turk Stream to Greece.