Bulgaria Mandates Brussels to Hold Talks with Russia on South Stream Project
Thursday, 19 December 2013
Bulgaria has authorised the European Commission to hold talks with Russia on the South Stream gas pipeline construction, the economy ministry said.
Economy minister Dragomir Stoynev submitted a letter to energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger on Wednesday whereby the Southeastern European country mandated the Commission to represent it at the South Stream negotiations, the ministry said.
The commissioner is expecting formal letters from the EU member states involved in the South Stream project.
The European Commission said at the beginning of the month the bilateral agreements on 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.
The Gazprom-spearheaded South Stream aims to diversify gas routes within the European Union and to provide stable gas supplies from Russia to Central and Southern Europe.