• Austria edition
 
Putin likely to discuss gas pipeline
OMV, Austria's oil and gas producer. File photo: APA

Putin likely to discuss gas pipeline

Published: 20 Jun 2014 16:39 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Jun 2014 16:39 GMT+02:00

During the one-day trip on Tuesday Putin will oversee the signing of a shareholder agreement between Gazprom and energy firm OMV enabling them to press on with work to build a section of the planned South Stream pipeline in Austria, Putin's top foreign policy aide said on Friday.
 
The Russian president is expected to use the opportunity to try to secure Vienna's backing for the Gazprom-led pipeline after another EU member involved in the project, Bulgaria, suspended work on it earlier this month under pressure from the EU, Putin's aide Yury Ushakov said.
 
"The issue needs to be clarified," Ushakov told reporters. "It's obvious that the topic will be discussed in this context. It's a very important subject."
 
With the deadly crisis in Ukraine showing no sign of abating, the multi-billion-euro pipeline intended to bring Siberian gas to Europe has become a new focus of tensions between Moscow and Brussels.
 
Moscow bills the pipeline as a recipe to ensure European energy security and has accused Brussels of pressuring Bulgaria into suspending work on South Stream in order to seek revenge over the Kremlin's alleged role in supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.
 
The European Commission has called on all 28 member states to stand united in resisting pressure from the Kremlin over the project, saying the contracts Gazprom has signed on pipeline breach the bloc's competition rules.

But the EU member states appears deeply divided on the project with several states that depend on Russian gas transported via Ukraine supporting it.

Austria, Slovenia express support

Austria and Slovenia on Friday voiced support for the pipeline, saying it will ensure a stable energy supply.

"I believe that the South Stream project is the right and possible path to ensure a mid-term energy supply sustainability", Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said after meeting his Slovenian and Croatian counterparts.

"Austria in principle backs the South Stream project ... and we believe it should be carried out for the mid- and long-term sustainable supply of natural gas," said Faymann who is set to meet Putin for talks on Tuesday.

Prime Minister of Slovenia Alenka Bratusek struck a similar note, calling South Stream "a vital infrastructure project."

"There are still some technical issues that remain open and have to be solved with the EU," she added.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said last week his country, which is a candidate for EU membership, would press on with plans to build Serbia's stretch of the pipeline.
 
Backed by Italy's ENI and France's EDF, the South Stream pipeline is a major project for reducing Moscow's reliance on Ukraine as a transit country following disputes with Kiev in 2006 and 2009 that led to interruptions of shipments to Europe.

With a capacity of 63 billion cubic metres per year, the main pipeline will stretch nearly 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) from Russia under the Black Sea to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia to end in Italy.
 
Analysts said that while the pipeline will remain hostage to persisting tensions over Ukraine, Austria could help salvage Moscow's flagship project.
 
"Austria is a more prominent EU member than Bulgaria, its voice will be taken into account," said Valery Nesterov, an oil and gas analyst at Sberbank CIB.
 
After the latest round of EU-brokered Moscow-Kiev gas talks collapsed, Russia earlier this week suspended gas supplies to Ukraine and warned Brussels that deliveries to Europe could be interrupted.

Moscow-based political analyst Alexei Mukhin said Brussels appears ready to sacrifice its economic interests for the sake of teaching Russia a lesson.

"Europe needs South Stream," he said. "But the European Commission will find a way to put it on ice."

Separately, during his Austria trip Putin will meet with OSCE chairman Didier Burkhalter to discuss the Ukraine crisis.

AFP/The Local (rosie.waites@thelocal.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Vienna is 'the capital of spies'
Emil Bobi. Photo: Ecowin publishers

Vienna is 'the capital of spies'

More than 7,000 secret agents and spies are currently working in Vienna, more than in any other city, according to a new book by Austrian investigative journalist Emil Bobi. READ  

500 policemen involved in eviction of squatters
Johanna Mikl-Leitner. Photo: APA (Archiv/Fohringer)

500 policemen involved in eviction of squatters

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP) says that there were only 500 policemen directly involved in the eviction of the squatters from the house in the Mühlfeldgasse in Vienna's 2nd district on Monday. READ  

Russian bank subsidiaries escape sanctions
Photo: APA (Archiv/Hochmuth)

Russian bank subsidiaries escape sanctions

Russian bank subsidiaries based in the European Union will be exempt from EU economic sanctions designed to choke off finance for big state-owned Russian lenders, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters on Wednesday. READ  

German hiker seriously injured in mountain fall
File photo: APA/ÖAMTC

German hiker seriously injured in mountain fall

A 40-year-old German hiker who fell around 100 metres while hiking in steep terrain in Tyrol was taken to hospital with serious head injuries. READ  

Burgenland 'under water' after severe storm
Flooded road in Neusiedl am See. Photo: APA/BFKDO

Burgenland 'under water' after severe storm

Austria's easternmost state of Burgenland was hit by severe flooding after violent thunderstorms and prolonged heavy rain on Wednesday night. READ  

Erste Bank quarterly losses exceed €1 billion
Photo: APA (Neubauer)

Erste Bank quarterly losses exceed €1 billion

In a briefing Thursday morning, Erste Bank chief Andreas Treichl announced that the expected losses for the second quarter of 2014 were reduced to only €1.033 billion. READ  

Health
Austrian biotech firm's Parkinson's vaccine
Michael J. Fox. Photo: Paul Hudson/Creative Commons

Austrian biotech firm's Parkinson's vaccine

An Austrian company has developed a potentially viable vaccine for early-stage Parkinson's disease. The treatment, which is designed to slow or even stop progression of the disease, has undergone a Phase I clinical trial, from which data will be released on Thursday in New York. READ  

More housing sought for asylum seekers
Mikl-Leitner and Klug discussing asylum arrangements. Photo: APA (Schlager)

More housing sought for asylum seekers

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner of the conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) says that existing quarters for asylum seekers will be extended and private quarters will be rented to house the flood of refugees coming into Austria. READ  

Trio abscond with 115 tons of stolen meat
Pork chops. Photo: Wikiphoto/Wikihow

Trio abscond with 115 tons of stolen meat

Three men have been arrested for a scheme whereby they regularly stole frozen pork, which was transported across a border for resale in Slovenia. READ  

Murder trial after brothel stabbing
The accused in court. Photo: APA/HERBERT PFARRHOFER

Murder trial after brothel stabbing

A punter who got into a fight with a prostitute in Vienna is on trial for attempted murder after stabbing a security guard at a brothel in Favoriten. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Pizzeria anarchists block traffic in street march
International
Centenary of Austria's declaration of war on Serbia
National
Eight cheap things to do in Vienna this summer
Features
'I came for a boy and stayed for the lifestyle'
Society
The Local's carnivore goes vegan
Gallery
The pop-up forest restaurant in Austria's most beautiful locations
Tech
Could robots end up doing more than half of the jobs in Austria?
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
International
Search on for Austrian WWI memorabilia
Politics
The former finance minister embroiled in a corruption scandal
Society
The best part of living abroad: 'Breaking down barriers'
Gallery
Vienna's Ukrainian community gathers to mourn crash victims
Culture
An American falls in love with Vienna's gelateria
National
The Ukrainians who protest every month outside the OSCE head office
Travel & Tourism
Where is the world's best wine list?
Travel & Tourism
Treat yourself to an Austrian spa experience
Travel & Tourism
Austrians love to get nude on the beach
Gallery
The week in pictures: July 6th - 12th
International
Pez sends supply of sweets to Norwegian boy with autism
Society
Is the free tabloid press killing quality journalism?
National
Austrian of the Week: Lena Hoschek
National
What Google Trends reveals about Austria
Society
Puppies in peril
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

251
jobs available