Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias set the dilemma “Do they want to support us to have growth… or do they decide to have Greece struggle, to punish Greece, and create an example of what happens to a country that has a leftist government?” Kotzias said to Reuters.
Kotzias also clarified that he respects Germany but not German politics nor the way Berlin views Greece’s economy, which faces the prospect of running out of money if it cannot agree to new bailout terms with creditors.
Kotzias said Greece and its Eurozone partners need to compromise on creating policies that foster growth and allow the country to pay its debts. Questioned if he is simply asking for the rest of Europe to trust Greece, he said: “No, to be pragmatic. Trust is a very important thing but they have to be pragmatic. It is like a game of chicken, but not the kind of game you know. What our friends are forgetting is that we don’t have gas to move… We want to come back to compromising and at the end we will do it,” Kotzias said, adding “So you are not giving a solution to Greece, you press the Greek government? What can be the solution? Golden Dawn is coming. Nobody has an interest in that, so that is why they will find a solution,” he said. Referring to the cooperation with Russia on the construction of a natural gas pipeline that passes through Turkey, Greece, FYROM, Serbia and then into Hungary, and perhaps include Austria, he said that a technical group will meet in May to discuss financing and logistics for the pipeline.
According to a Russian calculation, an investment in the Greek portion of the pipeline could be between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, Kotzias said, stressing that western companies and banks, rather than the Russian government, will fund the pipeline’s construction under EU rules.
As for money Greece might collect as an advance for future profits from the pipeline’s operations, Kotzias said the Russians told Greece it was a figure close to what Bulgaria would have earned from South Stream. “I’m not very sure exactly, but it is about $5 billion,” Kotzias said.