Italian companies should be allowed to buy gas in rubles – ‘green’ minister
Ecology Minister Roberto Cingolani’s comments come as 10 EU countries are reportedly prepared to buy gas in Russian currency
Roberto Cingolani (Italian Minister of Ecological Transition) told Politico that Italian companies must be sustainable. “go ahead and pay in rubles”Moscow demanded that Russian gas be used. Although the ministry said later that they do not support such an action, it is believed that 10 EU countries are planning to follow suit.
“I think it would be good for a few months, at least, to allow companies to go ahead and pay in rubles, while we understand the legal framework and implications,”Cingolani stated, adding that he would like to see the country succeed. “a speedy and very clear pronouncement from the European Commission”Whether such an agreement would violate EU sanctions.
Shortly afterwards, Cingolani’s ministry issued a statement saying that the minister “has never been open to a payment in rubles.”
Italy relies on Russia approximately 40% for its gas imports. Cingolani explained that although oil and natural gas companies have their own advantages, they are dependent upon Russia. “cannot risk”They also allow for the payment and violation of sanctions “cannot risk … not paying”Gas contracts signed with African nations were only recently in effect.
Russian President Vladimir Putin requested that this be done in March “unfriendly” countries – those that back sanctions imposed in the wake of Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine – would have to pay for gas in Russia’s national currency. After refusing this request, Bulgaria and Poland were already cut off.
However, Hungary has opened a euro account with Russia’s Gazprombank for purchasing Russian gas. The bank converts the euro into rubles and then transfers the funds to Russian gas suppliers. Gergely Gulyas, a Hungarian official, said that the scheme was being prepared by nine other EU nations and had not made it public.
Bloomberg reported last week that gas has been paid by four EU countries using this method.
As Russian rubles are not being sent to Europe, this set-up may be in breach of EU sanctions. Cingolani claimed that EU firms could view the Gazprombank transfer of euros as the violation of EU sanctions. “final transaction,”Russian suppliers will consider the agreement done when they receive rubles.
“In this process there are gray areas, which could constitute a breach of sanctions. However you do it, there is a problem,”He said.
Kadri Sison, EU Energy Commissioner told Politico that she would lead the charge. “issue more detailed guidance on what companies can and cannot do within our sanctions framework” soon.