EU Commission Demands Freezing of South Stream Project
The South Stream gas pipeline project must be temporarily suspended until full compliance with EU law is observed, the EU Commission believes.
In a communique to the European Parliament and the European Council, the EC says that "new investment into infrastructure being made by the dominating suppliers have to match the rules of the [EU's] internal market and competition."
The Commission also urges that a new assessment be made of the project in the light of the EU's energy security priorities.
Commission representatives nevertheless understand that it would take at least three years to settle that matter, as EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said earlier.
On Wednesday, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso announced his institution is to take action against Bulgaria over legislation amendments allowing the South Stream to violate EU law in favour of Russian energy concern Gazprom's interests.
This came after Barroso's meeting with Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski and despite the latter's reiterated comments that Sofia would take EU laws into consideration.
Earlier during the week, it as also revealed that Russia´s Stroytransgaz, with a firm owned by a blacklisted Russian tycoon as a major shareholder, is to build Bulgara's stretch of the South Stream pipeline. This confirmed reports dating as early as March that Gennady Timchenko, the sixth-richest Russian, is the likely designate for that task.
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