How will referendum in Greece affect Azerbaijani gas?

How will referendum in Greece affect Azerbaijani gas?

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 6

By Seymur Aliyev - Trend:

A very controversial referendum, on which the majority of the population refused to accept the terms of resumption of financial aid put forward by the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF, has ended in Greece.

The ambiguity of the referendum for Azerbaijan lies in the first place in the fact that the government, which calls into question the previously concluded agreements on the projects to supply Azerbaijani gas to Europe, has strengthened considerably in Greece. On the other hand, it is an indication that many countries in Europe have had enough of the power of the EU hegemons.

Today one can unequivocally say that Athens will not withdraw from the EU. Tsipras' left-wing government has been "blackmailing" Europe for a long time, showing a rapprochement with Russia. However, it is no secret for anyone that in today's conditions, Moscow cannot help financially even its strategic allies, not to mention the new "friend" candidates. Greece understands that as well, therefore, the strongest factor was used - the people. In fact, it was a demonstration of capabilities of the national protest not against any individual EU measures, but against the European Union itself as a whole.

The reaction came in fast. Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi urged the EU to resume contacts with Greece after holding the referendum there. Regardless of the results of the referendum, it is necessary to return to negotiating table, the prime minister said. In addition, the Greeks themselves said that they intend to negotiate with the creditors within 48 hours.

As for the projects to supply Azerbaijani gas via Greece, the situation here is a bit different.

First, Greece only offers its territory for laying the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and doesn't participate in the construction. Second, there are no Greece companies among the shareholders of the gas pipeline where such largest energy giants as BP, Statoil and SOCAR are represented.

Third, there are international contracts on all the work carried out in Greece and any attempt to revise them will lead to the international arbitrage and major expenses - which is extremely disadvantageous for Athens right now.

Fourth, probably the most important factor is that the construction of the pipeline can open thousands of jobs in Greece, which is currently very important for the country. Thus, there is no point to expect threats for the projects on Azerbaijani gas supply to Europe.

As for the political side of the issue, Greece showed that the united Europe is not only Germany and France, but also other countries. Moreover, it is a direct hint to Berlin and Paris: before dealing with the problems of "other countries", they would better get things straight within the EU.

In principle, it is the problem of not only EU, but any other similar union. For example, the sanctions imposed on Russia, affected its other partners in the Eurasian Economic Union as well which caused their discontent.

In general, all the ongoing processes show the rightness of the independent policy, distancing from the unions and other associations which force countries to undertake others' obligations and reduce the sovereignty, flexibility of policy and economy of any state.

Azerbaijan can serve as an example of the country pursuing such independent policy. Many, especially, the European Union are not comfortable with this. However, namely Greece and its people yesterday showed that not everything happens as EU or other major global players like.

Edited by SI


Seymur Aliyev is the head of Trend Agency's Russian News Service

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