The European Union and the US are distancing themselves from the resuscitation of the South Stream gas pipeline project for the transmission of Russian gas to Europe via Greece and Italy.
The reservations of Brussels and Washington were expressed just a few days after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Greece’s Public Gas Corporation, Italy’s Edison and Russia’s Gazprom for the utilization of the Greek-Italian pipeline as the main vehicle for the transmission of Russian gas to Europe.
European Energy Commissioner Marcos Sefcovic and the US State Department’s special envoy, Amos Hochstein, participated on Wednesday in the second intergovernmental congress on the Southern Gas Corridor in Baku, Azerbaijan. Sefcovic told Russian news agency Interfax that the memorandum signed in Rome “is just a declaration, a common approach and a common position. We reserve the right to assess the efficiency of the project.”
He also disputed that the Greek-Italian pipeline makes financial sense, making it clear that Brussels is not going to undertake any costs for new gas carriage infrastructures, opting instead for the use of the existing network with supplementary projects of lower cost.
Hochstein was more clear in disputing the new route, insisting on resolving the question of supply security rather than the diversification of sources. In an interview in Baku he noted that “every investment plan should be examined as to what extent it is a political plan or based on financial data.”