EU Steps Up Scrutiny of Bulgaria over South Stream

EU Steps Up Scrutiny of Bulgaria over South Stream

The European Commission has launched an EU Pilot procedure against Bulgaria over amendments to the Energy Act relating to the South Stream gas pipeline,  public radio broadcaster BNR reported quoting Sabine Berger, the spokesperson of EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger.

The procedure does not involve sanctions, instead its outcome will determine potential future measures on the part of the Commission, Berger pointed out that the Commission cannot disclose details at this stage of the procedure.

In April, the Bulgarian parliament adopted in principle a bill aiming to exclude the Bulgarian offshore section of the planned South Stream gas pipeline from the scope of the EU's Third Energy Package, which regulates third-party access to gas transport infrastructure in the EU. Under the adopted bill, the 24-kilometre Bulgarian offshore section of the South Stream project would be regarded as a “sea gas pipeline” and would have the legal status of a facility which does not step onto EU territory.

EU Pilot aims at improving the cooperation between member states and the Commission regarding the conformity of national law with EU law or the correct application of EU law. EU Pilot is used as a first step to try to clarify or resolve problems, so that, if possible, formal infringement proceedings can be avoided.

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