Sunday

22nd Jul 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

"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 and Japan wave light in Trump's 'darkness'

EU leaders and Japanese prime minister signed a series of agreements, including the EU's biggest trade deal ever, designed as an answer to the disruption of the world order by the US president.

Opinion

EU must create safe, legal pathways to Europe

As the rapporteur for the European Parliament on an EU regulation on resettlement, my colleagues and I have outlined an effective plan based on solidarity and humanitarian principles.

News in Brief

  1. Libyan PM rejects EU migrant camps idea
  2. Italy's Salvini to sue critical anti-mafia writer
  3. EU countries send aircraft to Sweden to help with wildfires
  4. British ex-commissioner's jobs called into question
  5. May to tell EU to drop Irish border 'backstop' idea
  6. Trump threatens EU over Google fine
  7. Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Catalan separatists
  8. EU readies counter-measures on possible US car tariffs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us