Sunday, February 2, 2014

European Commission: No concessions on South Stream

1/31/2014 1:23:00 PM

BRUSSELS - The European Commission did not depart from the position that agreements on South Stream between six EU member states and Russia should be reviewed as they are not in line with EU regulations, while the European Energy Community will deal with Serbia, which has a similar agreement with Russia, but it is not an EU member state, Tanjug learnt at the European Commission headquarters . 

 Our stand stays the same- intergovernmental agreements on South Stream are contrary to EU regulations and should be reviewed or adjusted, Sabine Berger, spokeswoman for EU Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger, told Tanjug. Thus, she dismissed media reports that, at the EU-Russia summit in Brussels on Tuesday, the European Commission abandoned the attempt to review bilateral agreements with the six EU member states on that major gas pipeline. 

 Previously, the European Commission concluded that the agreements are contrary to EU regulations adopted as part of the so-called Third Energy Package which stipulate that the same firm cannot be at the same the exclusive importer and distributor of gas, as well as environmental regulations which, according to the Commission, Gazprom is circumventing.

 Tanjug learnt at the European Commission that the European Energy Community will deal with Serbia, which has a similar agreement with Russia, taking into account that it is not an EU member state and that the Third Energy Package is not in force in it. According to the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia, the implementation of the Third Energy Package should begin in Serbia as of 2015, and the Commission deems that by then the agreements should be harmonized with EU regulations. Berger noted that, during a meeting in Moscow, Oettinger and Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak agreed that the talks on technical and legal aspects of the South Stream construction should continue at the level of working groups. 

 The Commission has been authorized to negotiate the review of the agreements with Moscow on behalf of the six EU member states, Berger said. Photo Tanjug, J. Pap (archive, illustration)

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