“I think that the ties between Greece and Russia are traditional and now they are getting stronger,” Dimitris Vitsas, a ruling leftist Syriza party lawmaker, said. “Russia wants to build a pipeline through the Balkans, and Greece wants it, too. We can develop a common enterprise not only in this, but for agricultural products and so on.”
“So I think that Europe must start negotiations with Russia and we don’t want to come back to a Cold War between Russia and the West – that would be terrible,” Vitsas added.
The two countries signed an agreement to extend the proposed Turkish Stream pipeline through Greece at last week’s international economic forum in St. Petersburg. It envisions creating an equally funded joint venture to begin constructing the pipeline on Greek territory by late 2019.
Athens stands to benefit from lower gas prices and transit revenues from the natural gas pipeline anticipated to be launched by late 2016. Up to 47 billion of its total annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters is expected to flow to the Turkish-Greek border gas hub.
On the subject of agriculture, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said in early March that Moscow was looking for ways to ease the nearly year-long food embargo imposed on EU products. Moscow extended the food ban for another year earlier on Thursday.