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The EU Parliament is against South Stream, Bulgaria hesitates

Article by: Olena Kontseva
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina

Sofia – The EU Parliament approved a resolution in support of Ukraine at a session in Strasbourg this week, which also includes an encouragement to stop executing the gas South Stream project. This is the second time throughout several months that the EU Parliament took a stance against South Stream, which would be used by Russia as a magistral towards Europe through the Black Sea, around Ukraine, ridding it of its transit potential. 

Bulgarian socialist and democratic members of the EU Parliament stated a day before the resolution voting in Brussels that they would not support the EU resolution regarding the suspension of South Stream.

Representative of the socialists and former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin stated that South Stream does not increase dependence on Russian gas in any way, and only serves to provide an alliterative supply route, which would only benefit Bulgaria.

The current Bulgarian government also, despite resistance on part of Brussels, supports the execution of South Stream megaproject, as, according to them, it will allow to diversity gas supply routes.

However, at the moment the government of the country has no idea whether this project would benefit Bulgaria or not.

“The thing is that the biggest concern regarding this projects is the fact that we have no idea about possible revenues and therefore we cannot say whether this project will benefit the country or not. We have found out that there is no signed agreement regarding transit taxes, therefore we cannot establish how much Bulgaria would gain from this project,” Bulgarian Vice Prime Minister Yekaterina Zakhariyeva explains the official position of Sofia.

The United States are also actively against the construction of South Stream.

Memories of ‘gas wars’

Bulgarians remember well both the cold winter of 2009, when as a result of ‘gas wars’ between Moscow and Kyiv, gas supplies were suspended, and the losses the economy of the country suffered, 200 million Euros a month.

However, the number of regular citizens and politicians who consider South Stream a 100% corrupt political project is constantly growing.

Meanwhile, in the beginning of September Bulgarian media reported on the arrival of a huge pipe-construction barge, Kastro Sey, at the Black Sea port of Burgas. This enormous floating factory came to execute the agreement signed with the union ‘South Stream Trans,’ which is responsible for the construction of the sea-based pipeline in Russian, Bulgarian and Turkish waters.

The shareholders are a French, German and Italian energy companies and practically they have nothing in common with South Stream Bulgaria, which is to construct the land-based part of the gas pipeline.

The construction of the land-based South Stream pipe was suspended by Brussels due to violation of European legislation. However, the construction of the megaproject may begin any second!

Another aspect: early parliamentary elections are to be held in Bulgaria next month, in which opposition right and center representatives may wing, and the current ruling socialists may lose, who support the execution of South Stream and have traditionally close ties to Moscow.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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