EU 'Pressures Members' about South Stream - Russian EconMin
Bulgaria and other EU members are being pressured into pulling out of the South Stream pipeline, Russian Economy Minister Alexander Novak said.
In a speech held at the 21st World Petroleum Congress in Moscow, he argued the EU had taken "a tough stance" on the exploitation of trans-border infrastructural projects "with Russian participation".
He said he was referring to the OPAL, South Stream and Yamal-Europe pipelines.
The South Stream, envisaged to pump Russian gas into Central and Southern Europe, is still under construction, while Yamal-Europe has been operational since 1999 and leads gas into Germany, Poland, Austria and Slovakia via Ukraine and Belarus. On Wednesday Brussels was reported to be inclined toward increasing deliveries through OPAL, which connects Europe's gas network with the Nord Stream pipeline, in case of disruptions caused by the Ukraine crisis.
"Now we see that some partners of the [South Stream] project are being put under pressure and are required not to participate in it, even though this partnership is based on current international law," Novak was quoted by Russian daily RBC as saying.
He also warned that Bulgaria was being threatened by the EU Commission to see all its EU funding stopped without being offered any constructive decision.
Novak described proposals for measures to reduce energy dependence on Russia as "non-market scenarios". He cited Poland's project for a single European institute to buy fuel as a "Soviet-era" reminiscence.
Russia's Energy Minister is also concerned with efforts of some countries to "destabilize" relations between Russia and Europe in energy.
Earlier in June Bulgarian PM Plamen Oresharski announced he would heed European calls and freeze South Stream until it met the EU's Third Energy Package and requirements in the fields of competition.
EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger underscored Wednesday that the project was not suspended but only halted until irregularities were removed.
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