South Stream change is negative news, Tsipras says

The apparent cancellation of the South Stream gas pipeline project, intended to transmit Russian natural gas to Europe, is a negative development, Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition party, leftist Syriza, noted during an official visit to Alexandroupoli, in Greece’s northeast.

The Syriza leader, whose party is ahead in various polls as the country appears set for early elections within several weeks, said he was paying particular attention to alternate proposals being forwarded by Russian president Vladimir Putin for the establishment of a hub along Greek-Turkish borders, which would cater to the natural gas needs of Europe’s south.

“Just recently, we heard that yet another plan for energy cooperation between European countries and Russia, the South Stream pipeline, will probably be cancelled. If confirmed, this is a negative development. Multi-sided energy cooperation and diversificiation of energy sources and routes cannot be based on exclusions, but, instead, creative solutions that benefit, as much as possible, the entire region’s countries,” Tsipras noted. “Your region is of crucial importance for our country from this perspective,” the Syriza party leader told local figures in Alexandroupoli.

Tsipras noted that Putin’s proposal for a pipeline route featuring a hub along Greek-Turkish borders needs to be closely examined.

“It could offer economic benefits to the country and region, and bolster Greece’s role on Europe’s energy map,” Tsipras said. “We support such a prospect as long as the terms offer real benefits for Greece.”

Tsipras also noted that all prospective energy project development should not be based on privatizations, but, instead, must reinforce the public sector’s role in important infrastructrure.