• Austria's news in English
 

Putin likely to discuss gas pipeline

Published: 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Driver in Purgstall train crash 'had no license'
A train similar to the one involved in the accident. Photo: Herbert Ortner/Wikimedia

Driver in Purgstall train crash 'had no license'

The 26-year-old driver of a car that was hit by a train at a level crossing on Friday evening in Purgstall an der Erlauf (Lower Austria) did not have a driving license, it has emerged. READ  

Mediterranean migrant crisis
Austria learns of new EU migrant quota details
A father and son in Syria. Photo: UNHCR/B Diab

Austria learns of new EU migrant quota details

The European Commission has announced details of its controversial plan to relocate tens of thousands of migrants who have reached southern Europe. Austria was asked to open its doors to over 1,600 refugees from Africa and the Middle East. READ  

Semmering railway tunnel gets green light
An artist's impression of the double tunnel. Image: ÖBB

Semmering railway tunnel gets green light

A court in Austria has given the green light for the construction of a controversial railway tunnel through the Semmering mountain range, on the border between Lower Austria and Styria. READ  

Landlord orders Israeli flag removal
Photo: James Emery

Landlord orders Israeli flag removal

According to a report in Israeli International News, a Jewish resident of Vienna's second district was ordered to remove an Israeli flag that was shown inside the window of his apartment, or face eviction. READ  

Austrian to be released from UAE after ten weeks
An innocent holiday snap could mean trouble in the UAE. Photo: FritzDaCat/Wikimedia

Austrian to be released from UAE after ten weeks

An Austrian holidaymaker held in the United Arab Emirates for more than ten weeks after he photographed the Iranian embassy has been released and ordered to pay a 50 Euro fine. READ  

Austrian teen jihadist jailed for bomb plot
Rudolf Mayer, lawyer to the accused teen. Photo: Sven Wolter/Wikimedia

Austrian teen jihadist jailed for bomb plot

A 14-year-old boy who plotted a bomb attack on a Vienna train station was sentenced on Tuesday to eight months' detention. READ  

Refugees smuggled through Vienna airport
Vienna airport. Photo: Bangin/Wikimedia

Refugees smuggled through Vienna airport

Employees of a private security company at Vienna International Airport have allegedly been smuggling refugees into the United States and Great Britain, according to a spokesman for the Lower Austria state prosecutor based in Korneuburg. READ  

Man dead after fatal shooting on Vienna tram
Photo: Andrew Nash/Wikimedia

Man dead after fatal shooting on Vienna tram

One man was killed and another seriously injured in a shooting on a tram car in Vienna on Sunday evening. READ  

Train tragedy leaves five dead in Purgstall
A train similar to the one involved in the accident. Photo: Herbert Ortner/Wikimedia

Train tragedy leaves five dead in Purgstall

According to police five people were killed when their vehicle was hit by a train at a level crossing 80km west of Vienna on Friday. READ  

Eurovision Song Contest
Wild card Oz seeks upset at Eurovision pop fest
Australian singer Guy Sebastian. Photo: DianeSunshineCoast/Wikimedia

Wild card Oz seeks upset at Eurovision pop fest

Australian singer Guy Sebastian will try to beat the Europeans at their own game in Vienna on Saturday night in the 60th annual Eurovision Song Contest, the uproarious pop extravaganza. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Ten fabulous gourmet restaurants to splash out on in Vienna
Features
A trip down memory lane - Eurovision turkeys and triumphs
National
Is Eurovision a stage for geopolitical conflicts?
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Travel
The best bars and hotels in Vienna for breathtaking views
Features
How couples counselling can revolutionize your relationship
Gallery
Vienna's 2015 Life Ball Gallery
Features
How Hitler's birth house haunts a small Austrian town
Features
The lowdown on GIS - Austria's TV and radio license
Features
Got friends? Helping expat parents find buddies for their kids.
Features
Insider Tips: Five lesser known gems to discover in Vienna
National
Ten 'false friends' to watch out for when learning German
Features
Could climate change influence the music we listen to?
Five unusual cafes we recommend visiting in Vienna
National
Vienna museum showcases city's shocking 'Actionist' art movement
Features
The woman behind Gymboree Vienna - helping young children learn as they play
Features
Help Me Helen: How to recognise if you're in denial
Features
The 'world's most beautiful boulevard' turns 150
Features
Why the ghost of Jörg Haider haunts Austria's finances
National
Vienna: 'Best city in the world'
Features
Why multicultural couples can combine the 'best of both worlds'
Society
Kampusch judge in perjury acquittal
Features
Help Me Helen: How to avoid saying things you'll later regret
National
Ten phrases you'll only hear at work in Austria
Features
How superstitious are Austrians? The Local lists a few of the stranger ideas
Features
Nine things to know before dating an Austrian
National
Celebrating immigration with beautiful accessories
Gallery
Sponsored: Fun factory for the under-fives
Health
Help Me Helen: How to avoid invalidating others
International
How should Austria respond to Russia's new aggressive foreign policy?
Features
How Austria's music scene inspired the pioneer of Electro Swing
Features
Bitcoins are growing in Austria - but what are they?
Health
Gender identity is all in your head.
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

2,488
jobs available