TAP and ‘Greek Stream’ complementary, Lafazanis says

The TAP (Trans-Adriatic Pipeline) project, to carry Azeri natural gas to Europe via Greece, and Greek Stream, the local segment of Turkish stream, Russia’s latest proposal for supply to the continent from the south, through a route in the Greek-Turkish border area, complement each other, Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis noted in an interview published yesterday by Greek weekly “To Vima”.

The energy minister noted that TAP and Greek Stream are not necessarily rival projects, but, on the contrary, would offer consumers greater choice and also contribute to energy security for the region and Europe, overall.

Lafazanis rejected as “incorrect” US claims of insufficient capacity for the co-existence of the two gas pipeline projects, while adding that Greece’s development into a pluralistic energy hub in the region would contribute to peace in the region and enhance cooperation and prosperity for the region, and, on a wider level, east and west.

Asked whether the leftist Syriza-led government will be able to reach an agreement with lenders amid the current bailout effort, the energy minister doubted the incentives of lenders for a fair agreement. “They are seeking to tear Greek society apart and humiliate the government,” Lafazanis responded. “I don’t think there is much chance for a positive agreement between the Syriza government and the creditors. The latter probably want surrender and submission. This will never be permitted by Syriza,” added the energy minister, who heads the party’s more radical Left Platform.

Questioned how Greece, a country troubled by a shattered economy, may play a key geopolitical role – when, for example, Chinese investment interest is based on the country’s eurozone membership, and Russia is now calling Greece to find common ground with the EU – the energy minister responded by contending that the country’s geopolitical role is not being diminished by the economic crisis and a series of political developments in the region and beyond, but, on the contrary, is being reinforced.