Bulgaria’s Ex PM Oresharski Rejects Blame for South Stream Suspension

Business » ENERGY | December 7, 2014, Sunday // 13:43
Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s Ex PM Oresharski Rejects Blame for South Stream Suspension Former Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, photo by BGNES

Former Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski has described the suspension of the South Stream gas pipeline project as a loss to Europe, the region, and Bulgaria, stressing that his Cabinet is not to blame for that turn of events.

“The unfavorable development of the South Stream gas pipeline project is a loss to Europe, the region, and most of all, to Bulgaria. It was an important geo-strategic and economic project to us and it is only natural that disappointment over its termination predominates,” stated on Facebook.

He explained that he had decided to shed light on the matter because certain accusations regarding the achievements of the socialist-led government he had headed were manipulative.

He reminded that the official letter of the European Commission to Bulgaria from early June 2014 mentioned three questionable points, including the fact that South Stream Bulgaria had been chosen as the designer, operator, and owner of the pipe, the competence of Bulgaria to sign the intergovernmental agreement on the project, and the public contracts awarded by South Stream Bulgaria.

Oresharski underscored that the three controversial activities cited by the EC had not been carried out during his term in office as Prime Minister.

He insisted that if any of the activities undertaken during his term in office as PM could be thought of as flawed, it was only fair to specify that they had been adopted in line with an established corrupt practice and did not constitute a new approach to the matter.

He admitted that in his capacity as PM he had ordered the temporary suspension of new tender procedures until the dispute with the EC over the alleged violations was resolved.

He pointed out, however, that experts of the Ministry of Economy and the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) had been sent to Brussels to defend Bulgaria’s view that the EC criticism was unfounded.

Oresharski noted that Bulgaria had also sent an official response to the letter of the EC in a bid to stop the infringement procedure against the country at an early stage, adding that the steps had been reported to Russia too.

Bulgaria’s former Prime Minister said he could not speak about how successful the next two governments had been in their efforts to defend Bulgaria’s views before the EC.

“To sum up, in the second half of 2013 and the first half of 2014, Bulgaria’s activities on the South Stream project were fast-tracked and the accumulated delay was compensated, which was acknowledged by Russia,” he emphasized.

“The developments over the past few months have ended in disappointment due to a number of complex factors which have existed since the beginning of 2014,” Oresharski concluded.

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Tags: Plamen Oresharski, Bulgarian Prime Minister, South Stream gas pipeline, Socialist-led government, south stream bulgaria, European Commission, infringement procedure, public procurement
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