Bulgaria Faces a Daily EUR 8000 Fine over South Stream

Views on BG | April 14, 2014, Monday // 15:14| Views: | Comments: 2
  • Send to Kindle
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Faces a Daily EUR 8000 Fine over South Stream Map by bnr.bg

The planned South Stream pipeline project is a display of the excellent relations the Kremlin has with the Bulgarian government, according to an article published in Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The decision taken by Bulgaria's government in March regarding the South Stream was astonishing, the author, Florian Hassel, argues.

He is referring to the Energy Law amendments adopted end-March allowing for the Bulgarian section of the pipeline to go round European law and to be treated as part of the interconnection grid, so that the EU's Third Energy Package cannot be applied to it and no third parties can have access to its infrastructure.

The article reminds that, back in the summer of 2013, the European Commission warned all the states which were parties to the project that according to its blueprints Russia's energy concern Gazprom is virtually to have a monopoly over energy supplies.

Hassel says Bulgaria did not take the EU's words into sight and that was way the Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger asked an explanation as to why legislative changes were made.

He quotes a Western diplomat (without disclosing his name) as saying that "Bulgaria demonstratively showed the [middle] finger to the EU" by opting to go on with the amendments.

Ridden in corruption and EU funds abuse and stuck on its way to reforms as it is, Bulgaria is now threatened with a fine which could amount to EUR 8000 daily, or EUR 3 M a year, according to sources of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

"Economically the South Stream has no sense... But for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin it is a geopolitical project with which he could skip Ukraine once and for all as a transit destination for Russian gas," Ognyan Minchev, the head of the Institute for Regional and International Studies is quoted as saying.

He also notes that "many Bulgarians feel a connection to Russia" since Tsarist times, when Russia defeated the Ottoman Empire and this pave the way for an independent state.

In Bulgaria, decades after the end of the Soviet Union, Russia's hand can still be seen in the banking sector or in oil-processing industry, Hassel argues further.

He points at Bulgarian President (2002-2011) Georgi Parvanov as a lobbyist for three large-scale Russian projects: the Burgas-Alexandropoulos oil pipeline project, the Belene NPP (still a fervently discussed topic in Parliament) and the South Stream.

Former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, in his words, managed to thwart "two of Putin's personal projects": Belene and Burgas-Alexandropoulos, but his government was toppled after week-long protests, and now "friends of Moscow" are once again at the top - "from [Bulgarian Socialist] party chief Sergey Stanishev to Nikolay Malinov, head of the Bulgarian-Russian Friendship Group, which comprises 131 of 240 MPs."

Citing Bulgarian experts, Hassel also holds that clear winners will emerge out of the fuss around the South Stream project - the Russian politicians and entrepreneurs blacklisted by the US, like Gennady Tymchenko, and four Bulgarian subcontractors.

In his words, this should explain why the South Stream costs EUR 4.2 B, when the EUR 1.2 B Opal pipeline from the Baltic Sea to the Czech Republic is not four times smaller in length and capacity.

Views on BG » Be a reporter: Write and send your article
Tags: South stream, gas Putin, Borisov, Parvanov, Stanishev, amendments, Oettinger
Expats.bg All Are Welcome! Join Now!
Please, log in to post a comment.
» To the forumComments (2)
Optimistic - 17 Apr 2014 // 09:11:11

The EU does not want the south stream it continually puts barriers in its way.

The EU wants the gas to go through the Ukraine so that their Ukraine friends can continue stealing some of it.

.l. - 17 Apr 2014 // 09:03:15

Bulgaria hates the corrupt EU with its double standards. The EU first makes countries like Bulgaria POOR AND DEPENDENT destroying their ECONOMY and parasitizing on their resources and then labels them "corrupt". Bulgaria is sick and tired with the EU arrogance and the unfair treatment of Bulgarians in Europe. Bulgaria hopes it will get out of the EU soon.

Bulgaria news Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency - www.sofianewsagency.com) is unique with being a real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news. The editorial staff also publishes a daily online newspaper "Sofia Morning News." Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency - www.sofianewsagency.com) and Sofia Morning News publish the latest economic, political and cultural news that take place in Bulgaria. Foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and World News in Brief are also part of the web site and the online newspaper. News Bulgaria