The Commission has given the ‘green light’ to continue gas purchases

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The European Union (EU) has said that companies can continue to buy gas without violating sanctions, according to Bloomberg.

A spokesman for the commission said the commission had sent its revised guidelines to member states on Friday.

The updated recommendations state that companies should make a clear statement that they consider their obligations fulfilled as soon as they pay in euros or dollars.

European sanctions “do not prevent entities from opening a bank account in a designated bank for payments under gas supply contracts in the currency specified in those contracts,” the commission said.

It added that “providers should make a clear statement that they intend to meet their obligations under existing contracts and consider their contractual payment obligations fulfilled by paying in euros or dollars, as provided for in existing contracts”.

The Commission’s intention to give a solution to the gas importers on the issue of possible violation of sanctions in Russia, was revealed by Bloomberg on Saturday.

However, then as today, the agency notes that while the directive does not prevent companies from opening a new Gazprombank account and allows them to continue paying in accordance with European sanctions, the Commission does not specify whether the existence of an account and in rubles – as provided for in the Putin decree – is in line with EU regulations.

It is recalled that on March 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that payments for gas should henceforth be made in rubles, otherwise exports would stop.

It was further clarified that the procedure will provide for the opening of a double account in Gazprombank, through which payments in euros or dollars will be made as provided in the contracts in force, but will be converted internally in the bank in rubles.

Previously, European officials had unofficially argued that opening such an account would violate sanctions. It is worth noting that Bloomberg sources told the agency on Saturday that the updated directive, as presented in the Member States, fails to address this point.

Another key point in the directive is that once European companies make a payment in euros or dollars and declare that their obligation has been completed, no further payment action should be required from the Russian side.

According to Bloomberg, when the Commission’s directive was announced, Germany, Hungary, Italy and France generally approved the plan, but Poland said it was failing to provide legal clarity and asked to be referred to EU ambassadors. Other countries were confused by the absence of a specific directive on opening accounts in rubles.

Germany said in a meeting that it had consulted its companies on the proposal and received positive feedback, a source in the agency said. Berlin also clarified that EU sanctions do not prohibit the opening of multiple accounts with Gazprombank.

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Source: Capital

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