S. Stream "sobering for Serbia," says German paper

It was "sobering for Serbia to learn that in the NIS sale contract had no clause on compensation or extra payment in case of the South Stream pipeline failure."

Source: Tanjug

This is what German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung writes in an article it dedicated to relations between Serbia and Russia.

It added that "it seemed like Serbia made a good job when it in 2008 sold the oil company NIS to Russia's Gazprom," Germany's Deutsche Welle website in Serbian is quoting the daily.

"Of course, Gazprom only paid 400 million euros for the controlling stake, that was not even a fifth of the market value. But the deal is only part of a larger energy package, Belgrade justified itself. Russia would build the South Stream gas pipeline through Serbia, local companies will earn at least half a billion euros in construction deals, and later transit fees will bring 300 million to the budget each year, it was said then," write the German media.

However, noted Deutsche Welle, Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 1 announced the end of South Stream.

"Serbia has realized that it was not even consulted by Moscow. But not only that: it was a sobering realization that the contract of sale of NIS had no any clause on compensation or extra payment in the case of the pipeline's failure. Asked where Serbia should turn for compensation, Russian Ambassador Alexander Chepurin answered briefly and wrongly: the European Union. In fact all the EU has to do with the pipeline is that it demanded from Russia that competitors have access to the pipes in the transit countries - as envisaged by European law," writes Suddeutsche Zeitung.

The Munich-based daily adds that the diplomat's "nonchalant answer" was "the latest in a series of maneuvers by which Russia is trying to turn Serbia against European integration."

According to the article, "the pressure is mounting" especially as the value of Serbia in international politics grows from January 1 when it takes over as OSCE chair, while the organization is described as "one of the main tools in the (so far unsuccessful) overcoming of the crisis in Ukraine."

The newspaper further mentions the recent military parade held in Belgrade "for Putin," a joint Serbian-Russian military exercise, the visit of the Russian patriarch, and the unveiling of a monument in Belgrade to last Russian tsar.

Providing "a few more examples," the Suddeutsche Zeitung however concludes that "Moscow making waves against the EU in Serbia has less and less support."

"True, one fifth of Serbs still believe that Russia is the largest financial donor, although since 2000, Moscow has not given any grants. The European Integration Office says that in the same period, aid from the EU and individual member states, such as Germany, Italy or the Netherlands, totaled 4.2 billion euros."

The paper lastly cited surveys that show "growing support for European integration" and states that "if a referendum were held today about 53 percent of Serbs would be in favor and only 28 percent are strictly against it."

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