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MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Hungary will help Russia get the European Union’s consent for the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview published by the Kommersant daily on Friday.
"At talks with him [Russian President Vladimir Putin] we agreed that Russia will support the pipeline’s route option through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary. If all countries agree to this, Russia will be able to implement the project [Turkish Stream]. However, President Putin said, Russia has drawn corresponding conclusions from the previous events and first it is necessary to obtain the consent of the European Union. Now we're working on this," Orban said.
It was confirmed previously that Russia is ready to consider with the EU alternatives to the South Stream pipeline, but will also not refuse from natural gas cooperation with Turkey. Moscow also aims to develop a partnership in gas sector with Hungary, which will promote the agreements reached at the Russian president’s talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Orban.
According to the Russian leader, Russia has never abandoned South Stream-related plans. "They simply did not let us implement it," Putin said with regret, citing the European Parliament’s decision of April 2014 to recognise the South Stream project as "not merely unpromising but even harmful to the European Union." After that, they demanded Bulgaria stop preparatory work. Altogether, four months later, the Dutch regulator issued a permit to build the seabed sections of the pipeline (South Stream was registered as an international company in the Netherlands), which "came unexpectedly for me," Putin noted. But it was impossible to issue a permit to an Italian construction company to begin construction works at sea, since there was no permission to enter Bulgaria’s territory. "It is absurd!," Putin said. "We simply were forced to close this project, they did not let us implement it."
So, from now on, in his words, Russia will be guided by considerations of logistics in choosing partners in this project - "where it will be more economical, more profitable." Further cooperation with the European Union is possible, "if they help us, but if they hamper, it is not our choice," Putin said. "If they don’t hamper, a section of the South Stream might be implemented via Turkey, including using our joint ventures with Hungary, Serbia, we can go to Austria - everything is possible should our partners show interest in cooperation."