MEPs Oppose South Stream, Seek Sanctions against Russian Energy Firms
The European Parliament has adopted a resolution opposing the South Stream gas pipeline and recommending a search for alternative sources of gas supplies for the EU.
In a resolution on Russian pressure over Ukraine adopted on Thursday, MEPs insisted on more sanctions against Russia and especially its energy companies.
The resolution was not backed by the group of Socialists & Democrats (S&D), who were among its initiators but subsequently backed out of it, according to reports of dnevnik.bg.
Due to the reservations of the S&D group towards the South Stream provisions, they were put to a separate vote and were endorsed by a large majority of MEPs.
After the vote, Bulgarian MEP Iliyana Yotova (S& D) told journalists that the non-legislative resolution of the EP only served as a recommendation.
Yotova argued that the EP resolution would probably be used for election purposes.
MEP Andrey Kovachev (European People's Party, EPP) noted that center-right party GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) was in favor of the South Stream gas pipeline project provided that it was fully compliant with EU law, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).
According to the EP resolution, the EU must step up sanctions targeting individual Russians and be ready to impose economic sanctions on Russia immediately.
MEPs also called for EU measures against Russian firms and their subsidiaries, especially in the energy sector, and Russia's EU assets, against a background of violence designed to destabilize the east and south of Ukraine.
MEPs expressed concern over the fast-deteriorating situation and bloodshed in the east and south of Ukraine and urged Russia to immediately stop supporting violent separatists and armed militias, led by Russian special forces, as well as to remove its troops from the eastern border of Ukraine.
MEPs expressed hopes that the imminent four-party meeting of the EU, the US, Ukraine and Russia in Geneva could pave the way for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, stressing that Ukraine's future choices could only be made by the Ukrainian people themselves, through a democratic, inclusive and transparent process.
"Parliament welcomes, in principle, the idea of holding a nationwide referendum on future status and territorial set-up as suggested by Acting President Turchynov," according to the resolution.
MEPs also called on the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission gathering information on atypical paramilitary activity, provocative actions and human rights situation in Ukraine to be expanded.
MEPs underscored that no attacks, intimidations or discriminations of Russian or ethnic Russian citizens or other minorities had been reported in Ukraine recently.
The European Parliament welcomed the Ukrainian government's intention to hold early parliamentary elections.
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