European Commission Says South Stream Bilateral Deals Breach EU Law
Friday, 06 December 2013
The European Commission said 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 EU law and need to be renegotiated, Internet portal EurActiv reported.
“The Commission has looked into these intergovernmental agreements and came to the conclusion that none of the agreements is in compliance with EU law,” EurActiv quoted Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, director for energy markets at the European Commission, as telling the European Parliament.
"That is the reason why we have told these states that they are under the obligation, either coming from the EU treaties, or from the Energy Community treaty, that they have to ask for re-negotiation with Russia, to bring the intergovernmental agreements in line with EU law,” Borchardt added. If these negotiations are not successfully conducted, then these countries had to denounce their agreements with Russia, he explained.
According to him, the EU's 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.
Even if negotiations are successful, work to accommodate South Stream with EU concerns would take time, Borchardt said.