ECONOMY

Schroeder endorses Greece’s policy on Russian natural gas pipelines

Greece’s decision to join the Russian South Stream gas pipeline last month was correct, as Russia greatly depends on its gas exports and would have no interest in interrupting supplies, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in Athens yesterday. «Since 25 percent of Russia’s budget comes from energy exports, no Russian politician, unless wishing to commit political suicide, will argue in favor of interrupting this supply, as that would create chaos in his country. The dependence, therefore, is mutual… and Greece’s decision to join South Stream was correct,» he told the international conference «Energy Without Borders» in Athens. Schroeder has been an energy consultant with Russian gas giant Gazprom since relinquishing the chancellorship in 2005. He expressed his general views on the question of the safety of Europe’s supply with energy, referring to the North Stream and South Stream pipelines, which, as he said, will play a crucial role in securing the natural gas quantities Europe requires in the long term. These two pipelines, he stressed, do not compete with other pipelines such as Nabucco. «I am in favor of all pipelines, as we need more quantities of natural gas,» the former chancellor of Germany said. He also suggested that Russia is realistically a more secure supplier compared with those in Africa or the Middle East. «Russia has proven to be a reliable partner for decades and I am convinced that it will continue so in the future,» he said. Questioned on the use of nuclear energy, Schroeder noted that «when we were voted in, back in 1998, we decided to limit the use of nuclear energy in agreement with the country’s industry, as no one could guarantee the secure collection of nuclear waste.» «If anyone wants to be really independent in the energy sector, then they have no other way but to turn to alternative energy sources and if anyone does not want nuclear energy then the only answer is renewable energy sources,» he explained at the event organized by two prominent law firms.