Juncker: European Commission Will Tolerate No Blackmail over South Stream

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | December 4, 2014, Thursday // 14:36
Bulgaria: Juncker: European Commission Will Tolerate No Blackmail over South Stream rime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov (L) is welcomed by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 04 December 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, has assured Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov of the EU’s support for the country following Russia's decision to drop the South Stream gas pipeline project.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Borisov following their meeting in Brussels, Juncker declared that Europe would help Bulgaria find solutions to the geopolitical challenges.

The EC President noted that the Commission would seek to make sure that EU resources were used for the improvement of the lives of Bulgarians, according to reports of the BGNES news agency.

He noted that energy was an issue which was important for all Europeans, adding that Bulgaria was not alone there and the European Commission stood behind Bulgaria and was not just an observer of the developments in the energy sphere.

Juncker was adamant that the EU Commission would tolerate no blackmailing over South Stream.

He also said that the European Commission and Bulgaria were working together on the gas pipeline project, adding that the unresolved issues were not insurmountable and that the conduit could be built.

Juncker underscored that the conditions for the implementation of the South Stream gas pipeline were clear and had not changed.

“The ball is in Russia’s court,” he said.

He also expressed support for Bulgaria’s bid to join the EU's Schengen visa-free zone, adding that the country was ready to join it.

Juncker vowed to do everything possible to make sure that Bulgaria found its place in Europe.

Speaking alongside Juncker, Borisov said Bulgaria supported South Stream but demanded the construction of the pipeline to be in line with the EU’s competition rules in the gas sector stipulated in the EU’s Third Energy Package.

If the Russian side accepted the Third Energy Package, construction of South Stream could begin today, the Bulgarian Prime Minister said. 

The European Commission has said it will continue talks on South Stream with EU member states next week despite Russia’s announcement that it has abandoned the project.

Borisov also said he hoped the sanctions had already played their role and relations will be soon normalised.

"I don't know how Russia is affected by the sanctions, but Bulgaria is affected severely," he said.


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Tags: South Stream gas pipeline, Schengen, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, Bulgaria
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