Bulgarian MPs Reject Proposal to Renew Construction of South Stream
Bulgarian MPs rejected on Wednesday a proposal submitted by nationalist opposition Ataka party to renew activities related to the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline.
A total of 109 MPs participated in the voting, with 27 of them voting in favour, 17 being against, while 65 lawmakers abstained, private bTV station informs.
During the debate on the proposal, Ataka leader Volen Siderov said that Bulgaria should be active and propose to Russia the renewal of the project.
According to him, there were signs that Russia has not completely abandoned the project and the geopolitical developments which have taken place since its cancellation were in Bulgaria's favour.
In his words, a renewal of the project would create job for tens of Bulgarian firms and stimulate the country's stagnated economy.
Tasko Ermenkov from the largest opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) identified the proposal as extravagant and instead suggested a new proposal for expanding the country's capabilities for natural gas supplies and transit.
Petar Slavov from Bulgaria's junior coalition partners, the Reformist Bloc (RB), said that South Stream was not in Bulgarian interest and would have established monopoly in gas supplies.
In June 2014, Bulgaria temporarily halted construction of the pipeline due to its non-compliance with EU energy regulations.
During a visit to Turkey in December 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the cancellation of South Stream and its replacement with Turkish Stream.
At the beginning of 2016, media reports suggested that renewal of the project was possible, but both Bulgarian and Russian officials dismissed this information, saying it remained halted.
Later in January, Gazprom announced the termination of the South Stream contract.
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