Bulgaria 'Might Be Forced' to Make Amendments on South Stream - PM

Energy | July 14, 2014, Monday // 13:48|  views

Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski says Bulgaria might have to take EU remarks on South Stream into consideration. Photo by BGNES

"The South Stream [gas pipeline] is not a Bulgarian project, and the whole project does not depend on us," Bulgaria's Prime Minister wrote on Facebook.

He also added Sofia might be forced to make amendments in sections disapproved by the EU Commission.

Plamen Oresharski reminded the country had received "remarks" from the European Commission which prompted him to order that all activities, mostly those involving the signing of new agreements, be halted until the issue "how well-grounded these remarks are" is settled with the Commission.

"We will try to persuade the Commission that we acted in the right way - we have enough arguments for that. But if we fail, we will make corrections to those actions the Commission does not approve, because this might subsequently lead, if we do not reach an agreement on the issue, to an infringement procedure," Oresharski warned.

"We will take all remarks by the EU Commission into consideration, [but] before that will seek to explain everything we have done is analogous to other procedures [that have been] conducted and approved," Bulgaria's Prime Minister added.

An infringement procedure over the construction of South Stream has been reportedly in place since early June, though Sofia has long complained no documents from Brussels were received on that matter.

Oresharski's Facebook statement comes a week after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Bulgaria and called on the EU to exclude South Stream from its Third Energy Package.

The EU Commission has expressed concerns that activities related to the pipeline's construction in Bulgaria violate the bloc's rules.

It points at issues of competition arising in the tender launched to build South Stream, after which the company Stroytransgaz was commissioned to become the main subcontractor.

The Commission is also worried by legislative amendments adopted at first reading in Bulgaria's Parliament in spring that might exclude South Stream from the Third Energy Package and prevent "third-party" access to its pipes.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Russia, South stream, EU, EU Commission, European Commission, Plamen Oresharski, Sergey Lavrov, Stroytransgaz, tender, Third Energy Package


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