Tuesday

27th Jun 2017

Russia and Turkey restart talks on EU gas pipeline

  • Gazprom also plans to build a new pipeline to Germany (Photo: gazprom.com)

Top executives from Russian energy firm Gazprom will in Turkey on Wednesday (31 August) resume work on a potentially divisive gas pipeline project to the EU.

Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom’s deputy CEO, told Russia’s Tass news agency that he and the firm’s CEO, Alexei Miller, will take part in the delegation on the Turkish Stream pipeline.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"They [the talks] are actually under way. This process began at the [recent] meeting of the Turkish economy minister with Russia’s energy minister. They agreed on the resumption of the project”, Medvedev said.

“Alexei Miller’s visit to Turkey and his meeting with his vis-a-vis are scheduled for tomorrow [Wednesday]. I'm also going there, the process is actually going on," he said.

The Turkish Stream pipeline, which is to run under the Black Sea via Turkey to Greece, was designed to replace South Stream, a pipeline from Russia to Bulgaria.

Russia scrapped South Stream because under EU competition law Gazprom would have had to split up its ownership of the project and let rival firms use the pipe.

It then scrapped Turkish Stream after Turkey, last year, shot down a Russian jet which it said had crossed into its airspace from Syria. But the Turkish leader, in June, apologised to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, whom he met in Russia earlier this month to reset relations.

Russia is also planning to build a new pipeline to Germany, Nord Stream 2, and has said that it would stop delivering gas to the EU via Ukraine from 2020, when the new pipes are in place.

EU divisions

Turkish Stream had earlier faced European Commission criticism because it would force EU states, such as Greece, to build new infrastructure to connect to Turkey, while abandoning existing transit pipelines to Ukraine.

Nord Stream 2 has raised complaints from eastern EU states, such as Poland, who said it would help Russia to cut off supplies to their region and would harm Ukraine at a time when it was trying to align itself with the West.

Bulgaria has also complained that if Turkish Stream was built it would make a mockery of its loss of South Stream in order to comply with EU law.

Amid falling gas demand, low oil prices, and legal hurdles, it remains uncertain which, if any, of the projects will go ahead.

But the promise of potential new gas income is helping Russia to win friends in the EU in its bid to end the sanctions regime over Ukraine, EU diplomats have said.

Putin’s promises

For his part, Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borisov, a sanctions critic, earlier this month spoke with Putin by phone about reviving South Stream.

Speaking to EUobserver last year, a Slovak diplomat compared the pipeline projects to Russia’s “disinformation” campaign on the Ukraine conflict.

“Some EU leaders keep meeting Putin and keep believing what he says. But he says different things to each of them and his actions don’t match his words,” the diplomat said.

Turkey pledges loyalty to EU and Nato

Turkey’s foreign minister has said that its rapprochement with Russia does not mean Ankara will turn away from Nato or the EU.

EU to uphold ban on Putin's 'cronies'

EU states are expected, next week, to extend for six months their blacklist of Russians and Ukrainians deemed responsible for the war in Ukraine.

EU to help Ukraine cut Russia gas dependence

The EU aims to help Ukraine become independent of Russian energy supplies in the next “three to four years”, Ukarine's PM and an EU commissioner have said.

EU extends sanctions on Russia

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that Russia hadn't done enough to implement the so-called Minsk peace process, a condition for lifting the sanctions.

EU extends sanctions on Russia

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that Russia hadn't done enough to implement the so-called Minsk peace process, a condition for lifting the sanctions.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  2. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  3. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  5. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  6. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  7. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  8. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  9. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  10. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  11. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  12. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million