Greece has said it has signed up to build a gas pipeline with Russia, worth €2 billion.
The South European Pipeline, as the project is called, will bring 47 billion cubic meters of gas from the Russian company Gazprom into Europe every year once it has been completed.
Greece’s energy minister Panayotis Lafazanis said the deal would create 20,000 new jobs, the FT has reported.
Lafanzanis has every reason to be pleased. He is heavily invested in the energy sector as the political patron of Greece’s largest public sector company, the Public Power Corporation, which has a near-monopoly over the electricity market there.
The EU is less likely to be celebrating the deal. It has tried to reduce the EU’s dependence on Gazprom oil.
“Greece is no one’s hostage,” Lafanzanis is reported to have said. “The Greek people’s ‘no’ vote, and I am referring to all of the people, is not going to become a humiliating ‘yes’. Greece is not, under threat of execution, ready to accept any fait accompli.”
Tsipras’s discussions with Putin about the pipeline in April and June stoked fears in Europe that Russia would step in to bail out Greece.
Both sides have denied that the question of financial aid was up for discussion.
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