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Russia opposes politicization of energy dialog with EU — deputy FM

March 17, 12:44 UTC+3
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov stressed that Nord Stream 2 is a commercial project
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© EPA/TASS/SONG FULAI

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. Russia opposes a permanent politicization of the energy dialog with the European Union (EU), Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov said Thursday.

On Wednesday, media reported that eight EU governments had signed a letter objecting to the Nord Stream-2 project addressed to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The copy of the letter seen by Reuters was signed by the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Romania and the president of Lithuania. If the project goes ahead, Nord Stream-2 would generate "potentially destabilizing geopolitical consequences", the letter said.

"We rely on one premise that the energy cooperation between the Russian Federation and the European Union cannot be permanently politicized," he said. "The Nord Stream 2 is a commercial project, and in case the Russian and European companies take interest in it they really want to make a profit on its implementation. We won’t stand in the way, otherwise we will prop it up in every possible way," Meshkov said.

According to Meshkov, "as soon as any new ideas and agreements aimed at expanding the energy cooperation between Russia and the EU emerge a discontented group is ready to hand, willing either to hinder those processes or totally block them." "We know the consequences, the South Stream project is a vivid example. The Southern Europe failed to receive the (Russian) gas as the project (South Stream) was bogged down at the initiative of the European Commission. Billions of investments and employment opportunities were wasted," Meshkov said, adding that "our today’s colleagues from the Southern European countries are seeking for options to get the Russian gas back."

"The issue of reviving a full-scale energy dialog between Russia and the European Union is of major importance," Meshkov said, "as we’ve got quite a few questions to our European partners." "Judging by media leaks of all those letters the European countries have some questions as well. Instead of communicating through the media energy experts from Russia and the EU should get round the table, and not limit contacts by issues of contracts’ extension or price for gas running through the Ukrainian territory," he added.

The Nord Stream 2 project implies construction of two lines of the pipeline with the total capacity of 55 bln cubic meters from Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea. The project will be implemented by the New European Pipeline AG. In this company, Gazprom will hold 51% while German E.ON and BASF/Wintershall, British-Dutch Shell and Austrian OMV will hold 10% each, France’s ENGIE will own 9%.

Southern Europe wants Russian gas

According to the diplomat, the Southern European countries are seeking for options to get the Russian gas back.

"Southern Europe failed to receive (Russian) gas as the project (South Stream) was bogged down at the initiative of the European Commission. Billions of investments and employment opportunities were wasted," Meshkov said, adding that "our today’s colleagues from the Southern European countries are seeking for options to get the Russian gas back."

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