Serbia: Gazprom and Russia push Serbian gov to fulfill energy agreement details

31. October 2014. / News Serbia Energy

The Russian starting point was that the energy agreement with Serbia could not be changed and Russia believed that there was a series of problems with the Serbian company NIS. Gazprom privatized the Serbian Oil Industry as part of the interstate energy agreement which also included gas company Srbijagas and project of South Stream.

“We are starting from the immutability of the agreement. There are many other nuances, problems. In July, our president (Vladimir Putin) discussed this problem with the Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, and this consideration is still ongoing”, said Yuri Ushakov from Russian president office.

He added that the issue of the indebtedness of a series of Serbian state companies towards NIS was still unsolved. Interfaks states that the total sum of this debt amounts to more than 530 million euros, and that, in August 2013, the Serbian Government made the decision on tightening the tax obligations regime for NIS.

“We reckon that this is a violation of the intergovernmental agreement, which envisages that the tax burden conditions must not jeopardize the financial position of NIS “, said Ushakov.

He added that, in addition to this, at the end of summer this year, the investigation of the NIS privatization conditions was started in Serbia.

“The Serbian leadership, also including the Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, promised to resolve the situation. So far, the promise has not been fulfilled”, said the assistant of the Russian President.

Ushakov also said that the cooperation within the sphere of gas, i.e. the implementation of the South Stream project was discussed both during the visit to Belgrade on 16th October and in Milan with the European politicians on 16th and 17th October. He said that the delegation included the Minister of Energy Alexander Novak and the Gazprom boss Alexey Miller, and that a lot of attention would be paid to the energy sector.

“The preparation for the construction (of gas pipeline) on the Serbian part is underway. This issue will also be touched upon. The Serbs are also making it clear that, without the approval from the Brussels, in principle, it will be difficult to realize, although they, for their part, are fully prepared. This issue is of great interest to them”, said Ushakov.

According to him, Moscow continues working on the South Stream project, and the “issue is not closed”. “We intend to move forward. We will exchange views on this in Serbia”, Ushakov added. He said that, until then, Serbia had not given a formal permit for the construction of the national part of the South Stream and that it would not be ready at the time of Putin’s visit.

“I saw the latest statements of the Serbian leadership. Among the rest, in the latest interview of (the Prime Minister Aleksandar) Vucic – such possibility was not presented”, said Ushakov.

He also said that the protocol which was still being agreed upon between the Gazprom Export, the Serbian Government, Yugorozgas and Serbiagas could be signed during the Belgrade visit.

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