A major political step has been taken towards weaning Europe off its dependence on Russian gas.
European Union countries and Turkey have signed a transit agreement for the planned Nabucco natural gas pipeline. Spanning 3,300 kilometres, it will bring gas to Europe from the Caspian and the Middle East. Signing up to the deal are Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria. Germany is also part of the Vienna-based pipeline consortium, but it does not have a transit role. EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs told euronews: “I very much expect that one day Iran will also sell gas to the European market, and perhaps it won’t take so many years. But to be honest, today we are mostly looking at three sources: Azerbaijan is a number one source, Turkmenistan and Iraq.” The transit deal signed in Ankara includes the condition that the pipeline will begin in the Turkish city of Erzurum. Stefan Grobe, a euronews business correspondent who attended the ceremony, said: “Not all of the problems have been completely resolved, but the signing ceremony today was an important moment for Europe and for Turkey. For Europe because Nabucco creates the conditions to reduce its energy dependence on Russia, and for Turkey because its demand to be a regional regulatory power is reinforced. But it remains to be seen whether the rapprochement between the EU and Turkey will continue at a political level.”