Serbia "must postpone start of South Stream construction"

(Beta, file)

Serbia "must postpone start of South Stream construction"

BELGRADE -- Bulgaria's decision to suspend work to build South Stream at the request of the European Commission means that Serbia will have "postpone the start of works."

This is according to Deputy Prime Minister Zorana Mihajlović.

"Bulgaria is a node, so until the talks between Bulgaria and the EU and Russia and the EU are over, we are on hold as well, or until Russia changes the route. But in any case, the result of either scenario is a delay in the work in our country," she told the daily Blic.

Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antić stressed that the pipeline's future depends mostly on an agreement between the European Commission, EU members and Russia.

"South Stream is important to us as a development and energy project, but it is clear that Serbia is just one country on the pipeline's route, but that, besides Russia, it is the only country on that route that is not a member of the EU," he remarked.

Whether a formal decision to suspend the works will be made "remains to be seen - and we will continue to monitor the situation," said Antić.

Serbia's natural gas public enterprise Srbijagas, which is in charge of the project in this country, is negotiating a loan with Gazprom, and plans to sign contracts with contractors in late June. Srbijagas representatives told the newspaper that activities would not be halted on the project, "unless the government decides otherwise."

The EU asked Bulgaria on Wednesday to halt the work on South Stream. European commissioner for energy spokesperson Sabine Berger listed two legal reasons for the request. One is the European Commission's demand to bring bilateral government...

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