'How Bulgaria’s New Prime Minister Buries South Stream'

Views on BG | November 15, 2014, Saturday // 15:56
Bulgaria: 'How Bulgaria’s New Prime Minister Buries South Stream'

In an article, entitled “How Bulgaria’s New Prime Minister Buries South Stream the Russian website slon.ru, the author Maxim Samorukov concludes that the South Stream pipeline project might as well be put on hold, as long as Bulgaria’s PM Boyko Borisov is in power.

“Moscow understands that Bulgaria is the weakest link in the project,” Samorukov writes. “(Victor) Orban, who is always willing to negotiate with whoever suits him best, will be in power in Hungary for a while, the Serbian love for Russia is centuries long, but in Bulgaria the unstable governments fluctuate between close cooperation with Russia and full severance of the agreements, in spite of the multi-billion penalties. But carrying out without Bulgaria is impossible, because in anti-Russian Romania we cannot absolutely no one, while we could get along lovely with Bulgaria's socialists, as they are former communists and communist youth leaders.”

Samorukov notes that Borisov had made the abandoning of the South Stream project one of the mainstays of his election campaign and had previously terminated two other Russian energy projects in Bulgaria – the Belene NPP and the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline – during his first tenure as prime minister.

“Perhaps he would have abandoned South Stream in his first term, but then the reputation of this project was better and the EU did not rule our the benefits of the project,” the author writes. “But now the European leaders think otherwise and Borisov made the termination of South Stream main point in his campaign. According to him, only Moscow's fifth column could support this project and all progressive Bulgarians must support EU's opinion on the matter. And it is not important that due to the crisis in Ukraine the supplies of Russian gas to Bulgaria decreased almost twofold – this is a small sacrifice in the name of European solidarity.

Borisov promised not to discuss the matter (of South Stream) until the EU approves it. Brussels already appreciated this stance and promised to restart the payments to Bulgaria under various EU programmes. It turns out that, only a few days old, the new government managed to regain the trust of the European leaders.”

In conclusion Samorukov notes that even though this was the first occasion in Bulgaria's post-Soviet era that a prime minister gets elected a second time, Borisov was not eternal. “Yet he just became prime minister and has four years ahead. For this time the Bulgarian stretch of South Stream can be forgotten. But he is not going to last forever. We can wait, there's no rush.”

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Tags: South stream, Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, Russia, EU, pipeline
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