The European Commission will lead the negotiations with Russia on the South Stream gas pipeline construction, the Bulgarian energy minister said.
EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger is expecting formal letters from the EU member states involved in the South Stream project authorizing him to lead the negotiations with Russia, Dragomir Stoynev said, quoted by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (BNT).
“Our position has been supported by both Slovenia and Hungary,” Stoynev said, adding that Austria also supports this position.
The European Commission said last week 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. According to the EU, 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.