German official: Turkey blackmailing the EU over gas pipeline

21st January 2009, Comments 0 comments

A top German official calls on Turkey to stop using the pipeline as leverage to boost their bid for EU membership.

Berlin -- Turkey is blackmailing the European Union over the proposed Nabucco gas pipeline, German Minister for Economics and Technology Michael Glos said Tuesday.

The proposed 3,300 kilometer (2,050 mile) pipeline would bring natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Significantly, the pipeline would bypass Russia.

Ankara is engaged in "political blackmail," Glos said at an energy forum in Berlin. He called on Turkey to stop using the pipeline as leverage to boost their bid for EU membership.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Monday to review his country’s position on the strategic pipeline if its bid to join the EU was blocked.

Diversifying the supply of gas away from Russia has become a priority for the EU in the wake of the recent spat between Russia and Ukraine. The so-called “gas war” has left millions of Europeans without heating in the middle of a wintry cold snap.

Glos also hailed recent breakthroughs in the crisis. "I am delighted by the announcement that deliveries will be restarted," he said. Nevertheless, he added, at the moment, the gas has not yet arrived.

Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz said earlier Tuesday that gas transported through Ukraine from Russia would reach European consumers within 36 hours.

"The maximum delay is 36 hours and we will try to reduce that," said Naftogaz spokesman Valentin Zemliansky.

AFP/Expatica

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