Greece could be about to enter a €2bn energy deal with Russia

Sarah Spickernell
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Lafazanis leads the Syriza coalition's radical leftist faction (Source: Getty)
Greek energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis has just revealed plans for a huge energy deal with Russia – a move that will undoubtedly fan the flames over in Brussels.
In a speech to energy executives in Athens today, he said Greece might sign a €2bn (£1.4bn) contract to bring 47bn cubic metres of Gazprom's gas into Europe each year. The route will be called the South European Pipeline.
The preliminary plan goes completely against what Eurozone ministers want from southeastern Europe – in order to reduce the area's reliance on Russia, they want more gas to be taken from Azerbaijan.
Some ministers fear Russia would use such a deal to bring Greece further under its sphere of influence.
But Lafazanis told his audience the Greek government would “not be told what to do” by the EU, and that Greece is “no one's hostage”. He said the deal, if it goes ahead, would be an important part of Greece's “multifaceted” foreign policy, according to the FT.
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.

Third bailout deadline looms

Lafazanis's idea was unveiled hours before Greece's 10pm deadline for submitting proposals to its creditors for a third bailout.
If this is accepted, Greece's much-feared exit from the single currency zone will be prevented. The proposals will be studied in depth on Saturday, ahead of a full EU summit on Sunday.
Currently, all of Greece's banks are closed and there is a €60 (£43) limit on cash withdrawals until Monday.
The next crucial date for Greece will be 20 July, when it must make a €3bn (£2.2bn) repayment to the European Central Bank (ECB). If it fails to meet this, the central bank could remove all its support and Greek banks would most likely fall into insolvency.

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