Greek Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis on Tuesday said that intense efforts were made to promote a significant project for Greece and Russia, the Greek Stream project. In an interview with Russia-24, following completion of a series of meetings in Moscow with Energy Minister Alexander Novak, deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak and Gazprom’s chairman Alexey Muller, Lafazanis said that the Greek natural gas project “puts another significant stone to the development of Greek-Russian relations, which is very important for Europe and particularly for the region of Southeastern Europe.”
The Greek minister said that the cost of the Greek Stream will reach 2 billion US dollars while he stressed that there was huge interest in the participation of the construction and management of the natural gas pipeline project. “From our side, the Greek state company will participate in the construction, while the funding of the project has to be resolved,” Lafazanis said. He added that the project will create around 20,000 new job positions in Greece.
“The pipeline will offer a significant boost to the Greek economy which is currently facing difficulties. All these will be to the benefit of the Greek people,” he said. Lafazanis said that Greece has the expertise for a fast and efficient construction of pipelines, adding that the Greek pipeline carrying Russian natural gas will contribute decisively to energy security and stability in our region and Europe. He said that Greece would probably sign a memorandum with Russia for the construction of the pipeline project during an International Economic Forum in St Petersburg, where a larger Greek delegation will arrive headed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
“We will try to sign a bilateral memorandum between Greece and Russia for the political support of the project. By June 18-20 we will try actively to prepare this document which will offer political support positions,” he said. Commenting on a planned TAP pipeline project carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan, Lafazanis said Greece was accepting both projects. “We do not considered them to be rivals. On the contrary, we think they both contribute to energy supply of European countries. That’s why it is odd that the Russian project is raising concern and doubts in the US and the European Union,” he added. “We will not submit to the interests and wishes of any third country. Greece is nobody’s property. We move based on the interests of our people and our national interests. The country must become a development hub for Europe’s energy supply,” he noted.
Lafazanis said that sanctions imposed against Russia were “unacceptable, servicing only to create a new cold-war climate in Europe.” The Greek minister said that the government will accept any agreement with the so-called “institutions” which would include harsh measures against the Greek people.