Energy, foreign ministers divided on Russia gas deal

A rift appeared to have emerged Monday between Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis (photo) and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias as regards the country’s energy policy, with the latter declaring that the government is fully in line with European policy in spite of a recent Russian gas deal that has ruffled feathers in Brussels.

The memorandum signed by Lafazanis and Russian officials in Saint Petersburg earlier this week foresees that third parties could be permitted to reserve the full capacity of the pipeline, something that runs counter to EU competition laws.

In comments Monday, Kotzias remarked that Greek energy agreements cannot include terms and conditions that “go beyond the legal framework and agreements of the [European] Union.”

A memorandum of understanding co-signed by Lafazanis last Friday foresees the continuation of the Turkish Stream pipeline which has yet to be built but, according to plans by Gazprom, would carry natural gas from the Black Sea to Western Europe.

According to the initial agreement signed by Lafazanis and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak, Russia’s VEB development bank will own 50 percent of the 2-billion-euro route and provide all financing, while Greece will own the rest.