Gerhard Schroeder Says Bulgaria Was Forced into Halting South Stream

Schroeder (L) with Germany's current Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo by EPA/BGNES

German ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has named the reasons pushing Europe to stop South Stream construction.

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Moscow was abandoning the project over EU resistance and Bulgaria's reluctance to unfreeze the pipeline.

"The European Union was seeking to hinder the project in every possible way," Schroeder, who currently chairs the board of Nord Stream AG (the operator of Nord Stream), TASS quotes him as saying at a closed-door meeting of European and Russian businessmen.

He reportedly blamed the "European bureaucrats and their "tricks"," the drop in gas demand and the refusal to accept South Stream as an opportunity for improving Europe's gas supply.

In his words, Bulgaria was forced into "not taking certain decisions" and "not giving certain permissions."

Bulgaria froze South Stream in June at the request of the EU. However, Sofia is now insisting the pipeline should be built, though this should happen under EU rules.

Moscow for its part maintains the decision to renounce the project is "definitive".

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