Bulgarian President Urges Government to Decide on South Stream
President Rosen Plevneliev called on the government to explain whether it intends to comply with EU legislation on the South Stream gas pipeline.
Plevneliev cast doubt on the sincerity of the promises Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski made to EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at their meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.
"Prime Minister Oresharski assured [EU Commission] President Barroso that he will comply with European legislation. To me it is a secret how this is to happen, given that it was already announced who the executors [of the project] are," the President said.
He was referring to earlier revelation that the Bulgarian section of the South Stream pipeline is to be constructed by Stroytransgaz, where a firm owned by Gennady Timchenko, a sanctioned Russian businessman (and a close ally to Vladimir Putin), is the major shareholder. The announcement by Bulgarian officials was well known beforehand, but the information had never been made public.
Plevneliev's remarks follow comments by EC President Barroso that his institution is to take action against Bulgaria over non-observance of EU rules in the South Stream agreements.
Bulgaria has promised it will take all EU rules into consideration while preparation for the construction is under way.
In April, the Energy Act was amended by lawmakers by changing the status of the offshore section of South Stream preventing any "third-party" access to it. This contravenes Europe's Third Energy Package and is considered by EU officials to be favouring Russia's state-owned energy giant Gazprom.
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