The Europeans are looking for the parade against Moscow

As the conflict in Ukraine rages on, Europeans are caught a little more each day between the need to stop funding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war and the need to avoid a new economic recession for their fellow citizens. Apparently, the 27 are trying to solve the difficult equation that would allow them to abandon Russian energy as quickly as possible without jeopardizing their economy and threatening social peace. From this perspective, this week promises to be pivotal as several sessions are scheduled to measure their ability to balance these two goals.

The first of these meetings took place on Monday, May 2nd, with the meeting of European energy ministers in Brussels, urgently convened after Moscow suspended gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria on April 27th. In fact, Warsaw and Sofia refuse to pay for their purchases in rubles, as the Kremlin has been doing since May 1stah April.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers War in Ukraine: Gazprom cuts off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria

A month ago Moscow unilaterally changed the contracts tying European companies to Gazprom, which for 97% of them are denominated in euros or dollars. The Russian government has devised a gas plant that, according to the commission, will allow it to circumvent the sanctions imposed by Brussels, particularly those that freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Russia.

Two accounts at Gazprombank required

Now the Kremlin is asking Gazprom customers to open two accounts with Gazprombank, which the Europeans have carefully not sanctioned so far. On the first account, they make the payment in the currency stipulated by their contract, which in itself is not a problem. However, Russian authorities believe that the transaction will not go ahead until that amount is then converted into rubles and then transferred to the second account, courtesy of Gazprombank.

“The company that buys its gas from Gazprom does not know when the conversion will be made, nor at what exchange rate, nor even where the money will go between the moment it deposits it in the first account and that The moment it arrives at Gazprom, flows. It can be compared to a loan to the Central Bank of Russia.” explains a Commission expert who believes so “Payment must be effective when payment is made to the first account” and “Opening a second account is a violation of sanctions”.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers War in Ukraine: Moscow’s gas extortion worries Europeans

Poland and Bulgaria refused to comply with these new requirements and therefore paid the price. For Russia, the deficit remains symbolic, as its purchases of Russian gas account for just 8% of the 27’s imports. Sofia and Warsaw have brought forward their decision not to buy Russian gas by the end of the year by a few months and can count on the help of their European neighbors for the time being.

You still have 58.94% of this article to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Comment