Bulgaria's Foreign Minister: South Stream Is Important for Entire EU
Bulgaria's Foreign Minister has interpreted the commitment of the European Commission to the South Stream gas pipeline as a sign of the importance of the project for the EU.
Kristian Vigenin is in Brussels to attend the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.
Commenting on the South Stream gas pipeline, he claimed that the meetings of EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger in Moscow on the topic had been very helpful.
He said that the meetings of Oettinger had demonstrated that Bulgaria had chosen the right approach by authorizing the EC to conduct the talks with Russia on the compatibility of the gas pipeline project with EU law.
Vigenin, as cited by the BGNES news agency, insisted that the step would guarantee that the conduit was in line with the requirements of the EC and that the EC would not stand in its way by issuing additional recommendations and proposals.
He expressed hopes that a decision would be taken soon to fast-track work on the South Stream gas pipeline, adding that the scheme was important not only for Bulgaria but for the other EU Member States participating in it, and therefore for the entire EU.
According to reports of the BGNES news agency, the upcoming EU-Russia summit is among the topics of discussion at the working lunch of EU Foreign Ministers.
Vigenin suggested that the discussion at the working lunch would be rather political and concrete projects were unlikely to be discussed, adding that the topic of the EU Eastern Partnership would certainly be mentioned in the context of EU-Russia relations.
"Back before the meeting in Vilnus and after it, we stated repeatedly that, regarding our policy on the EU Eastern Partnership, we have to win a stronger commitment of Russia," he said.
He was adamant that Bulgaria had to step up the dialogue with Russia regarding Bulgaria's intentions towards Eastern Partnership countries.
Bulgaria's Foreign Minister emphasized that the aim was not to compete with Russia for influence there, adding that the policy was also expected to benefit Moscow.
Vigenin explained that the policy sought to create societies which were more stable in social and economic terms, adding that Eastern Partnership countries were a joint responsibility.
He reminded that the EU Eastern Partnership was just one element of the EU-Russia relations, stressing that the topic was not to be interpreted as a zero-sum game but as a policy which could bring benefits for all sides.
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