EU Commission: Companies can pay for Russian gas under new scheme
The European Commission says European companies can circumvent sanctions under a new payment scheme.
The European Commission said on Friday that EU companies can pay for Russian gas using a new payment scheme devised by Russia.
On March 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that stipulated that all contracts for gas supplies with companies registered in "unfriendly" countries be paid for in rubles.
The measure only concerns Gazprom's pipeline exports, and the company is set to receive the first payments in rubles in the second half of April and in May.
The European Commission replied in a FAQ document on the question of whether it is "still possible to pay for gas after the adoption of Decree no. 172 of 31 March without getting in conflict with EU law" in the affirmative.
EU companies can ask their "Russian counterparts to fulfill their contractual obligations in the same manner as before the adoption of the Decree, i.e. by depositing the due amount in Euros or Dollars. The Decree of 31 March does not preclude a payment process which is in line with the EU restrictive measures," the commission said in its guidelines.
The document further states that European importers are not prohibited from opening accounts in Russia's Gazprombank. The guidelines further said that EU companies can clarify that they plan to fulfill their obligations in accordance with the existing contract, and will consider payments in euros and dollars.