Bulgarian EconMin Downplays EU Procedure over South Stream

June 3, 2014, Tuesday // 01:54
Bulgaria: Bulgarian EconMin Downplays EU Procedure over South Stream
Bulgarian Economy Minister Dragomir Stoynev. Photo by BGNES

The EU Commission's infringement procedure against Bulgaria over the South Stream pipeline project will not lead to sanctions, Economy Minister Dragomir Stoynev assured.

In his words, it was not any different that the previous ones launched by the Commission in the field of energy.

His comments came after the EU Commission announced it had started an infringement procedure against Bulgaria over the way it is handling the South Stream project and demanded that it be frozen until it complies with EU law.

Stoynev was quoted by Dariknews.bg as reminding that for a year in power the socialist government had managed to close two infringement procedures started against Bulgaria during the term of the previous cabinet (2009-2013).

He refuted the European Commission (EC)'s allegations that no public procurement had been called by the company responsible for the South Stream project by saying the firm "had no right" to do so.

The Minister described the issues around South Stream as a signal that the project was "becoming hostage to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the EU's stance on it".

He urged more solidarity from EU member states, as he believes the position of Bulgaria and other countries taking part in the construction of the pipeline should be understood.

Stoynev also voiced his concerns that if Ukraine and Russia fail to reach an agreement on gas prices before June 9, Sofia "might have to ask EC what to do." He was referring to a potential disruption of gas supplies via Ukraine which might expose parts of Europe to an energy crisis.

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