While Slovakia cuts Russian gas, Serbia agrees ‘extremely favourable’ deal with PutinReading Time: 2 minutes
As Europe attempts a highly complicated manoeuvre to phase out Russian energy, two countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) are taking very different roads.
While EU member Slovakia is signing supply contracts for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from northern Europe, accession candidate Serbia has agreed a medium-term gas deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Sunday described as “extremely favourable” the three-year natural gas supply contract he agreed in a telephone call with Putin. The deal will probably be signed early next month by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Belgrade.
Conversely, Slovakia will drastically reduce its dependence on Russian gas this week, as Economy Minister Richard Sulik announced Friday.
As of Wednesday 1 June, Norway and other countries will supply LNG to Slovakia, Slovak gas supplier SPP revealed.
These new deals should ensure supplies are sufficient until the end of the year Sulik said. While the decrease in Russian gas imports will be 65%, analysts calculated that it will only be 35%, as SPP is not a monopoly, Euractiv wrote.
Slovakia has booked capacity at several European LNG terminals with “various” suppliers to enable gas imports via pipeline from Norway. Gas from Norway is no more expensive than from Gazprom, Sulik underlined.
SPP will not entirely stop Russian imports, although they could be cut further decreased after the Polish-Slovak interconnector is completed at the end of the year or the beginning of 2023, he added.
Russia’s deal with Serbia came in the wake of the Kremlin cutting off gas exports to EU members states in CEE Poland and Bulgaria, and also Finland. Officials in Serbia are prioritising EU attempts at unified energy sanctions against Russia, at the risk of endangering its EU accession process, Al Jazeera wrote.
Serbia is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas, and its main energy companies have been under Russian majority ownership since 2008. Any potential EU decision to shut off Russian transits would complicate the situation for Serbia, however.