A real possibility? Russia-Greece deal: Loans for Athens, major Greek assets for Moscow

A real possibility? Russia-Greece deal: Loans for Athens, major Greek assets for Moscow

[Ed. – Still just at the talking stage, but Greece is sending an envoy to Moscow in the teeth of hostility from Brussels.  Can Angela Merkel head this off at the pass?]

Kommersant newspaper quoted an anonymous Russian government source on Tuesday saying that lines of credit were on the table.

“We’re ready to consider the question of providing Greece discounts on gas: the price for it is tied to the cost of oil which has significantly fallen in recent months,” the source said.

“We are also ready to discuss the possibility of granting Greece new loans. But here we, in turn, are interested in reciprocal moves – in particular, in Russia receiving particular assets in Greece.”

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The source did not identify the assets concerned, but Russian media said the Greek gas company DEPA could be among them. Stakes in train operator TrainOSE and sea ports in Athens and Thessaloniki are also potential targets.

Moscow is Greece’s largest trading partner on account of its huge reliance on Russian natural gas.

Athens’ energy minister has invited Russian companies to explore natural gas and oil reserves off the country’s eastern coast. In return, Greece has indicated it is willing to support the Kremlin’s new pipeline plan though Turkey, known as “Turkish Stream”.  [This last one’s a biggie for Greece, even for a comparatively radical government. – Ed.]

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