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Putin’s talks with Austrian leader prove Russian role in European energy security - expert

Deputy Director of the Institute of Europe Vladislav Belov also considers that the role of Austria in this question is more important than Germany

MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. Talks in Sochi between the presidents of Russia and Austria, Vladimir Putin and Alexander Van der Bellen, highlighted the importance of Russia’s role in ensuring European energy security, Deputy Director of the Institute of Europe Vladislav Belov told TASS.

"Today’s meeting proved pro-European focus of both Russian and Austrian politics," the expert said, stressing that "there can be no European energy security without Russia’s energy security."

"This is very important since the United States is trying to make every effort to ruin the basis of Russia’s energy security, in particular, seeking to stop the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline," Belov noted.

According to the expert, after the meeting in Sochi on Wednesday the Austrian leadership and the German authorities confirmed special importance of preserving the European Union’s energy sovereignty and security. Meanwhile, Austria has a more important role here than Germany, he said, stressing that Vienna is a neutral EU state, which has a balanced and unbiased stance.

"Austria is an informal venue where the Eurasian economic commission voices its ideas on launching an official dialogue with the EU," Belov said. "That’s why Vienna has a very important role and today’s meeting between the presidents confirms this.

Alexander Van der Bellen met on Wednesday with the Russian president in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi. The two leaders take part in the founding meeting of a bilateral public forum dubbed the Sochi Dialogue, which is being established at the initiative of the two countries’ presidents in order to boost ties civil societies.