Bulgarian Minister Snubs Accusation of Blundering South Stream Project
Bulgarian Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev has rejected accusations that the current government is to blame for bringing the South Stream gas pipeline project to a standstill.
Stoynev commented Friday on the statement of GERB leader and former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov that the South Stream gas pipeline had been a priority project for the center-right GERB government, while the current socialist-led Cabinet had brought it to a halt.
Borisov leveled the accusations at Bulgaria's current government after a Thursday meeting with EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger.
In a Friday interview, Stoynev insisted that it had been precisely the socialist-led coalition government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski which had brought the South Stream gas pipeline project back on the agenda.
Dismissing Borisov's accusations as untenable and declaring him politically incompetent, Stoynev argued that Bulgaria's categorical stance on the scheme had helped intensify dialogue between the European Commission and Russia.
He claimed that it had been Bulgaria's proposal to not hold talks between each of the countries hosting the pipeline and Russia but to organize the negotiations on an EC-Russia level, thereby saving precious time.
Stoyev, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, informed that the strategic move proposed by Bulgaria had been backed by Italy, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Greece and Croatia and the talks on the project continued on a technical level.
"The consensus achieved with the other countries contributes to the faster implementation of the project, which is of strategic importance not only for the countries which host it but for the European Commission too. The talks continue on a technical level so that the overall regulatory regime of the project can be decided instead of each country holding talks on its own," he added.
He reminded that he had had four meetings with EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger on the South Stream gas pipeline project, adding that the last one, held on March 3, had resulted in agreement between the countries participating in the project that the expert and technical work on it had to continue regardless of the situation in Ukraine.
Stoynev suggested that former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov did not support national goals and was only paying attention to the interests of the GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) party.
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