The European Commission is checking if the tender procedures for the construction of the Bulgarian section of the South Stream gas pipeline are compliant with EU law, the Commission’s spokesperson Chantal Hughes said, as quoted by the Bulgarian National Radio.
There are concerns that the short deadlines given to tenderers to file their letters of intent may run against EU law, the state-run broadcaster reported.
South Stream Bulgaria invited tenderers to submit their letters of intent for the construction of the pipeline which is different from inviting bids and is governed by different EU rules for deadlines for application, the spokesperson noted.
The tender for the construction of the pipeline on Bulgarian territory was relaunched on the last working day of 2013. Eleven bidders have shown interest in the project.
The Commission said in December the bilateral agreements for the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline – concluded between Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria – are all in breach of the EU law and need to be renegotiated.
The Commission insists that its so-called network ownership 'unbundling' rules need to be observed. This means that Russia's Gazprom, which is both a producer and a supplier of gas, cannot simultaneously own production capacity and its transmission network. Non-discriminatory access of third parties to the pipeline needs to be ensured and the tariff structure needs to be addressed.