Barroso Warns Bulgaria on South Stream

Prime Minister of Bulgaria Plamen Oresharski (L) is welcomed by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (R) prior to a meeting at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 27 May 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

From Euractiv

Speaking after the EU summit held yesterday (27 May), Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made it plain that the EU executive would impose infringements on Bulgaria regarding the Gazprom-favoured South Stream pipeline, the construction of which is about to begin in breach with EU laws.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski met bilaterally with Barroso yesterday and assured him that the South Stream pipeline will be built according to EU law.

But as the two were meeting, it also became known that a Russian firm, who's owner is under US sanctions will build the Bulgarian stretch of the pipeline.

Russian Stroytransgaz consortium will build the Gazprom-favoured South Stream gas pipeline, the Bulgarian daily Capital revealed yesterday.

A major shareholder (63%) in Stroytransgaz is Volga Group, owned by Gennady Timchenko, who was placed on the US's sanctions list against Russia in mid-March. He is believed to be the 6th richest man in Russia, according to Forbes, and with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

The total value of the construction works on Bulgarian territory will be 3.5 billion Euros, with 20 to 30% of the implementation being sub-contracted to Bulgarian firms.

Capital reported earlier this year that Stroytransgaz has expressed interest in building the pipeline, but official confirmation came on Tuesday by Vladimir Inkov, executive director of South Stream Bulgaria.

The decision about the implementation of the project has been taken one hour before Oresharski met Barroso in Brussels, reassuring him that Bulgaria will abide by EU law.

The Commission has objected precisely on the grounds that the Bulgarian-Russian bilateral agreement on South Stream gives preference to...

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