EU Energy Commissioner: EC Not Opposed to South Stream
EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has assured that the European Commission does not oppose the South Stream gas pipeline project.
On Thursday, the Energy Ministers of Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary and Austria met wit Oettinger to discuss accusations of the EC that the pipeline project failed to provide third-party access and therefore violated EU law.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Oettinger noted that the EC considered the South Stream gas pipeline an important addition to the pan-European energy network.
"However, we would like to guarantee that EU rules on environment, the single market, and energy, will be observed," he emphasized, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).
He explained that the EC, after being given the mandate to do so, would act as an advocate of the EU Member States which had signed the bilateral intergovernmental agreements with Russia on the gas pipeline project.
Commenting on the dispute over the compatibility of the pipeline with EU law, he rejected accusations that the EC had been more benevolent towards the other gas pipeline project, Nord Stream, stressing that temporary exemptions from the EU's Third Energy Package had been requested for it, which was not the case with South Stream.
Speaking after a meeting with Oettinger, Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev informed that Bulgaria would not withdraw from the South Stream gas pipeline project, adding that the scheme would be implemented and the interests of the participating countries would be defended by the EC.
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