Work on South Stream Continues, Says Economy Minister
Tasks regarding the South Stream are under way at a technical level, Bulgaria's Economy Minister Dragomir Stoynev has said.
He asserted that the gas pipeline project has not come to a halt despite "political" factors that might lead to delays, Stoynev explained in an interview for the Bulgarian National Television.
The minister hinted at the possibility of EU sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, which could reportedly involve stopping gas supplies to Europe.
South Stream's delay, in his words, would not lead Bulgaria to suffering any financial losses, as no expenditures have been made on the project over the past few months.
Stoynev, while underlining the importance of the South Stream project not only for Bulgaria, but also for the whole continent, made it clear that "Bulgaria was in the EU team".
However, he expressed his belief that gas pipelines should not be used for political purposes and freezing or abandoning the South Stream could be harmful to the country which, in that case, would entirely depend on pipes passing through Ukraine, as it is the case now.
European officials warned last week that South Stream talks with Moscow will be delayed due to the situation in Ukraine, months after EU member states authorized Brussels to negotiate with Russia over the South Stream project, amid fears expressed by the European Commission that it contradicts some basic new EU energy rules.
Stoynev added that a prolonged conflict involving Russia and Ukraine could severely affect Bulgaria, which is currently showing good growth records (1% over the last quarter) and, for the first time, has registered a trade surplus with Germany.
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