Dependent on Russian gas

U-Commission: Pink Griss helps the Greens

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10.07.2024 20:33

Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler is causing a stir with her investigation into dependence on Vladimir Putin's natural gas and a campaign in the middle of the election campaign. Former high court judge Irmgard Griss wants to shed light on the background. And examine whether it is possible to get out of the Gazprom contract, which is valid until 2040.

Griss is a woman for all tricky cases. The former Supreme Court President and NEOS politician headed a commission of inquiry into the billions spent on the Hypo bankruptcy, the welfare of children - and now the commission is investigating Austria's dependence on Russian gas. Climate Minister Gewessler (Greens) has asked the former Supreme Court judge to investigate the events surrounding the 2018 contract extension between OMV and Putin's Gazprom until 2040 and thus the dependence on Putin's Russian gas with a top-class group of experts. An interim report is due by the end of the summer. Just in time for the elections on September 29.

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I didn't know Ms. Gewessler personally until then. She called me and asked if I would like to chair the commission with Andreas Kletecka (professor of law at the University of Salzburg, note).

Irmgard Griss

Irmgard Griss (Bild: APA/HELMUT FOHRINGER)
Irmgard Griss

After her provocation by voting yes to the renaturation law, Gewessler has caused another political stir. In the middle of an election campaign. This once again infuriates the Turkish government partner. After all, the contract extension took place under the turquoise-blue government. In this respect, the pink Irmgard Griss becomes an election helper for the Greens - albeit involuntarily.

Ceremony in the Hofburg
Griss says that she is only interested in the case. "I didn't know Ms. Gewessler personally until then. She called me and asked if I would like to chair the commission with Andreas Kletecka (professor of law at the University of Salzburg, note). We want to be able to present an interim report at the end of the summer. And have concrete findings by the end of the year." According to Griss, the key questions are: Is it possible to get out of the contract? Are there legal options to do so? "We will take a close look at this."

Secondly, how and why did the contract and the early extension from 2018 to 2040 come about in the first place? Putin was a guest in Vienna at the time. Former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and co. gave him a warm welcome. Grandees such as Putin intimate and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder were guests at the ceremony to mark 50 years of the Gazprom/OMV marriage, and the Russian State Ballet danced. Thirdly, according to Griss: "This is particularly important to me: what can we learn from this for the future? What guidelines can be drawn up for such contracts?"

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What role did the politicians play in the contract extension? In any case, it is a complex problem.

Irmgard Griss

OMV is a private company, despite the state's shares, it operates independently. Nevertheless, the political entanglements will also be looked at. "What role did the politicians play in the contract extension? In any case, it is a complex problem." It is unacceptable that Austria is still more than 90 percent dependent on Russian gas. Germany had achieved the turnaround, "we should be able to do the same."

Ex-OMV boss Groiss: "A lot needs to be clarified"
 Gerhard Groiss agrees. The former OMV boss is a fierce critic of the dependence on Putin's Gazprom. He welcomes the commission, he says to "Krone", but politicians should have reacted long before now. What is certain is that the billion-euro contract was extended without the Supervisory Board having been presented with it for review or approval. Roiss: "Late, but still. There is a lot that needs to be clarified."

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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