EU Delays South Stream Talks with Russia
European Commission will halt parts of the negotiations with Russia over the South Stream pipeline project.
Talks will continue on a technical level, but political negotiations will be suspended in light of "broader developments" in European relation with Russia, EC Spokeswoman Sabine Berger was quoted by Fox News as saying on Monday.
Earlier, EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger hinted at a possible delay, explaining that Europe "did not have an urgent need to seek ways of increasing its gas imports".
South Stream negotiations are the latest political process involving the EU and Russia to be affected by Moscow's alleged role in tensions on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. Over the last few days, talks on visa liberalization and an economic agreement were suspended by Brussels in response to Russian actions on Ukrainian territory.
Since December 2014, the EC has had the final say in talks with Russia over the South Stream pipeline. It was given the right to do so by member states involved in the project, amid EC's fears that the South Stream does not meet the bloc's new rules on energy liberalization.
The South Stream has been planned to supply Central Europe with gas, reaching the heart of the continent through Bulgarian soil.
It will make its way to Bulgaria bypassing Ukraine and crossing the bottom of the Black Sea.
Under the agreement, its gas supplies will also be designated to Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, and Italy.
Estimates suggest that in 2018, when the pipeline is to be finished, its infrastructure could carry around 30% Europe's gas supplies.
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