The construction of the South Stream gas pipeline project will begins this year as scheduled, economy minister Dragomir Stoynev said, as quoted by the Bulgarian News Agency, BTA.
"We have been adhering to the drafted plan, which envisages beginning of construction activities during the current year. This has been coordinated with our European partners and with all countries through which the gas pipeline will run," BTA quoted Stoynev as saying.
South Stream, spearheaded by Russia's Gazprom, is planned to go live by the end of 2015 but its future is uncertain. The European Commission has said that the bilateral agreements on the pipeline's construction - concluded between Russia and the EU member states through which it will pass, including Bulgaria – are all in breach of the EU law and need to be renegotiated, and last month the European Parliament adopted a resolution urging to call off its construction. Later in April European energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger's spokesperson said, as quoted by internet portal EurActiv, that the European Commission is concerned over planned amendments to Bulgaria's energy legislation aiming to exclude the Bulgarian offshore section of the planned pipeline from the scope of the EU's Third Energy Package, which regulates third-party access to gas transport infrastructure in the EU.