Commission Issued Warning to Bulgaria on South Stream

Written by | Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Today’s meeting of the world’s leading industrialized nations Group of Seven (G7) is expected to focus on global issues, including energy, which is likely to bring back the topic EU’s energy security and the still unfolding dramatic situation in Ukraine. Speaking ahead of the G7 meeting yesterday (4 June), Commission President José Manuel Barroso warned that the European Commission would not hesitate opening new infringement procedures against those EU Member States who would breach the EU law by proceeding with the construction of the Gazprom-favored South Stream gas pipeline. To that end, the Commission has already issued a stern warning to Bulgaria, the country where the South Stream pipeline would emerge from the Black Sea, and urged Sofia to freeze the construction. Barroso has told the media that the Commission has “just launched an infringement procedure against Bulgaria, which shows that we mean business. Other infringement procedures related to other countries will follow, if some of the obstacles to the respect of our internal market are not removed meanwhile.”
Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has recently met with Barroso and assured him that the South Stream pipeline will be build according to EU law, although it was also discovered that the Bulgarian stretch of the pipeline would be built by a Russian firm whose owner is under US sanctions. More specifically, the Bulgarian daily Capital reported that the Gazprom-favored South Stream gas pipeline would be built by Russian Stroytransgaz consortium, whose major shareholder (63%) is Volga Group, owned by Gennady Timchenko, who was placed on the US sanctions list against Russia in mid-March. Interestingly, the decision about the implementation of the project has been taken one hour before the Oresharski-Barroso meeting in Brussels. The Commission has objected precisely because the Bulgarian-Russian bilateral agreement on South Stream gives preference to companies from Bulgaria and Russia, which is against EU competition rules.

Article Categories:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.