MOSCOW, July 8 (RIA Novosti) – The CEO of French oil and gas giant Total, Christophe de Margerie, compared the current state of relations between the European Union and Russia to the building of a new Berlin Wall, according to Reuters.
"You hear people say we have got to protect ourselves from Ukraine and then they talk about Russia. This is not the same thing... Are we going to build a new Berlin Wall?" De Margerie asked in his interview with Reuters.
"Russia is a partner and we shouldn't waste time protecting ourselves from a neighbor ... What we are looking to do is not to be too dependent on any country, no matter which. Not from Russia, which has saved us on numerous occasions," the CEO added, underlining the importance of the South and North Stream pipelines, supplying Europe with Russian gas, bypassing Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday the realization of South Stream, which was suspended by EU, “will contribute seriously to the complex energy security of Europe”.
The construction of South Stream was challenged due to tense relations between Moscow and Brussels over the Ukrainian crisis. The European Commission took a critical stance on cross-border Russian projects, saying the Opal and South Stream pipelines violate the EU Third Energy Package, under which Gazprom can fill the pipes only up to half of its ability. The Russian gas giant called the restrictions discriminatory, noting the importance of South Stream for providing energy safety for Southern European countries.