South Stream project not crucial for Italy, says PM Renzi

(AGI) Algiers, Dec 2 - The South Stream project is not crucialfor Italy, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said afterRussia announced it would cancel the gas pipeline. "The SouthStream project was strongly opposed and conditioned by theEuropean Union infringement procedure. It was not a key projectfor Italy," Renzi said from Algiers after his meeting withAlgerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. "The decision tocancel the project is of no immediate concern to us," theItalian PM continued. "Of course, there is the question ofcooperation with Eastern European and African countries, bothregarding new projects and

(AGI) Algiers, Dec 2 - The South Stream project is not crucialfor Italy, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said afterRussia announced it would cancel the gas pipeline. "The SouthStream project was strongly opposed and conditioned by theEuropean Union infringement procedure. It was not a key projectfor Italy," Renzi said from Algiers after his meeting withAlgerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. "The decision tocancel the project is of no immediate concern to us," theItalian PM continued. "Of course, there is the question ofcooperation with Eastern European and African countries, bothregarding new projects and the friendship that binds us tocountries like Algeria. These relations have always allowed Eniand Enel to play an important role in the area. The East-Westrelations must continue, but it is also important to explorethe North-South lines." Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni saidthat he will learn in the coming weeks whether the decision tohalt South Stream, announced by President Putin on Monday, isfinal, pointing out that Italy's role in the project wasimportant, but only to a certain extent. From a meeting of NATOforeign ministers, Gentiloni explained: "Italy's position is infact the position of Eni, one of the large companies involvedin the operation: its CEO confirmed Italy's interest in arecent parliamentary hearing, specifying a certain investmentthreshold beyond which it would be difficult to continue toinvest in this project. Eni has not pulled out, but it hasestablished a maximum above which the operation would becomedifficult to achieve." Gentiloni repeated that Italy wants tosupport the Tap pipeline project: "Of course the cancellationof one project (South Stream) does not automatically lead to ussupporting Tap, which represents an important diversificationfor Italy. This was already the case before (Putin's)announcement and is even more important now.".