ENERGY

Greece seeks common EU line

Skrekas will demand unified stance toward Gazprom payments, to have local firms covered

Greece seeks common EU line

Greece is seeking a safe road to smoothly continue the country’s supply of Russian natural gas and preserve its energy sufficiency, in a cacophony within the European Union caused by Moscow’s demand to change the way it is paid.

At Monday’s extraordinary council of EU energy ministers, Greece’s Kostas Skrekas will ask for a common stance on the way Gazprom will be paid, so that this constitutes a directive for European companies.

Furthermore, given the disagreements within the bloc, Greece is preparing to supply coverage to Greek companies so that they continue to import gas from Gazprom without risking any sanctions for themselves.

Sources have told Kathimerini that the Greek Energy Ministry has requested a legal opinion on the matter and the early signs show that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree may be violating contracts regarding the means of payment, but does not violate the sanctions the West has imposed on Russia. If the final opinion includes the same conclusions, it will take the form of a ministerial decision, covering Greek companies – i.e. Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), Mytilineos, Public Power Corporation (PPC) and Prometheus Gas – for their compliance with the new payment system, without any risks.

The danger for Gazprom clients lies in whether there are no clear and binding European statements ahead of May 20; it consists of facing sanctions themselves if they pay according to the new mechanism before a European decision stating clearly that the new mechanism violates the sanctions; that matter has so far only been addressed orally, by European Commission officials, and unofficially through non-papers by Brussels’ legal agencies.

“We are examining the legal, financial and political aspects, and we will make our decisions,” Skrekas told Kathimerini regarding the attitude of Greek companies. That points to the significance of the political aspects, as the financial ones doubtlessly be unbearable for the Greek economy.