Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, was not invited to Moscow during his governance, but had asked for, and made finally real, a meeting with the Russian President Vladimir on the sideline of a meeting in Brussels, during which Samaras had asked the Russian President “to lower the prices that Greece pays for Russian gas”, but didn’t get a commitment.
The two men had met in Brussels after Samaras addressed a Business Europe conference and Putin had met with European Union officials, at the end of January 2014 (27/1/2014), one year, exactly, before, the 2015 elections that brought Alexis Tsipras to Greece’s governance.
With Greece in the seventh year of a deep recession and a lingering economic crisis – and after the Russian gas giant Gazprom last year pulled out of a bid at the last minute for Greece’s gas company DEPA – Samaras had said oppenly that he was concerned about the cost of natural gas and reportedly said it wouldn’t pay more than $400 per 1,000 cubic meters.
It was reported that Putin hear Samaras’ plea, as the greekreporter had wrote, but the Russian Presidentt had only said he would think about he request.
Right after that meeting, Samaras stated to the media that the prices Greece have been 30 percent higher than the European average, but “Greece”, Samaras had emphasised, “doesn’t have any current alternatives and is reliant on the Russian source”. “My country is currently coming out of a six-year recession and low energy prices from Russia are crucial to our recovery,” Samaras said.
He also tried to rekindle interest from Russia according to those days’ press reports, in the sale of the money-bleeding Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) and Thessaloniki port as Putin had said he was still mulling the purchase of OSE as part of Greece’s privatization push under duress from its international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank.
Putin, however, wanted Greece to sell OSE and the port of Thessaloniki in one package and one bid, which the government of Antonis Samaras had said it wouldn’t do, potentially scaring off a deal.