Serbia Stops South Stream Gas Pipeline Too
Serbia has to postpone the South Stream gas pipeline construction works after Bulgaria's decision to suspend work on the project, according to Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister.
In an interview for Serbian newspaper Blic, Zorana Mihajlovic specified that Serbia was to wait for the conclusion of talks between Bulgaria, Russia and the European Commission.
Her statement came in response to Sunday's announcement of Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski that the country would stop work on the project until the discrepancies with the EU were resolved.
She made clear that Serbia would wait for the talks between Sofia and Brussels and EU and Russia to be wrapped up, unless Russia decided to change the route of the gas pipeline.
She added, however, that both scenarios entailed a postponement of the activities related to the implementation of the project on Serbian territory.
According to Blic, Bulgaria's decision was driven by a request of the European Commission, which had accused Bulgaria of breaches of EU rules in the tender for the construction of the pipeline and of giving priority treatment given to Russian and Bulgarian companies.
According to the Serbian newspaper, the EC also demands that the bilateral agreements on the South Stream gas pipeline comply with the requirements of the EU's Third Energy Package,
Minister of Energy and Mining Aleksandar Antic announced that the future of the project depended primarily on the agreement reached between the EC, the EU member states and Russia.
"South Stream to us is important as a development project and an energy project but it is clear that Serbia is just one country trough which the gas pipeline passes," he stated, adding that Serbia was the only other non-EU country involved in the project besides Russia.
Antic said that it was yet to be seen whether the authorities would come up with a formal decision on the termination of the Serbian section of the gas pipeline project.
According to Blic, Srbijagas, which is the company in charge of the local gas pipeline section, is in talks with Gazprom on a loan. The contracts with the contractors are to be signed in end-June.
"Activities related to the implementation of the project will not stop unless the government decides otherwise," Srbijagas said in a statement.
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