The Greek Crisis has been a long-running drama that’s sucked in all of Europe (and even involved Russia to an extent), but for the most part, it hasn’t directly touched any of the Union’s peripheral countries. That may change, however, after the latest twist coming out of Athens. Per the debt agreement that’s been offered to the country, Greece must surrender €50 billion worth of assets into an EU-controlled account in order to finance the forthcoming loan proposal. The thing is, it’s presently not known exactly which assets are subject to sale, meaning that SOCAR’s [The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic – OR] 66% acquisition stake in DESFA [Greece’s National Natural Gas System Operator S.A. – OR] in 2013 (totaling €400 million), which has been held up by the EU since last November, might fall under this plan and consequently be either stolen from Azerbaijan or have unrelated political conditions attached to it.
The Current Situation
The acquisition agreement has been investigated by the EU since last November, ostensibly because of concerns that it might violate anti-trust laws pertaining to the Third Energy Package (the same piece of legislation that sunk Russia’s South Stream plans). In reality, however, it’s more likely that the EU (under heavy German influence) decided to leave the issue open because it senses some sort of political capital in doing so. With Greece now in the crosshairs of its creditors’ fury, the very real risk has developed that Germany (Athens’ largest lender) might gain direct control over DESFA via the €50 billion asset mechanism that was described in the introduction.