According to the vice-president of the European Commission, the agreements concluded with Gazprom clearly spell out the gas payment scheme in euros, and the Russian president violates the agreements with his demands
European companies must pay for Russian natural gas exclusively in euros . Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission, stated this on ERR.
Commenting on reports that a number of large European gas companies have opened accounts with Gazprombank through which payments made in euros are converted into Russian rubles, Timmermans said that “this is not normal.”
“The agreements are very clear, the agreements speak about euros and dollars. It's not rubles. With this trick that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is trying to use, he is trying to keep his Central Bank afloat with foreign currency, which is not allowed by the sanctions, — said the Vice-President of the EC.
Timmermans said that the Russian Central Bank is under sanctions, and European companies, in accordance with existing agreements, must pay for gas exclusively in euros. “It's written in the contracts. Putin Demands Violation of Treaties»,— he emphasized.
According to the decree of the President of Russia of March 31, in order to pay for gas under the new scheme, foreign buyers must open two accounts with Gazprombank— currency and ruble. The company transfers the payment to the first one, after which the bank sells the currency on the stock exchange, and credits the rubles to the second one. Russia recognizes the payment as completed only after the funds are credited to the ruble account.
In April, the European Commission issued a document in which it considered the gas payment scheme proposed by Russia to be contrary to European sanctions. At that time, Brussels explained that the conversion of currencies into rubles at Gazprombank could be considered a foreign currency loan, which was prohibited by the 2014 restrictions. They also pointed to the involvement of the Central Bank in transactions.
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At the same time, on May 12, Bloomberg reported that the total number of European companies that opened ruble accounts with Gazprombank had reached 20. Another 14 buyers said they needed to prepare documents. At that time, four companies had already paid for gas in rubles, the agency noted.
On May 19, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that about half of the 54 companies that had contracts with « Gazprom».
At the end of April, due to non-payment for gas in rubles, Gazprom suspended deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria. At the same time, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi previously claimed that Germany had already paid for the supplies in rubles.
Last year, the EU imported 155 billion cubic meters from Russia. m of natural gas (pipeline and LNG) in the amount of €17.8 billion, followed from the data of the European Commission.
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