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04.12.2014 15:52
Juncker: South Stream Can Be Built, the Conditions for This Are Clear
Bulgaria is ready to accede in Schengen, EC President Juncker stated
AUTHOR: Lyudmila Zlateva

  • Bulgarian PM Borissov (left) with EC President Juncker
    © Press Service of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers

Bulgaria has not yet been officially notified by Russia about the cancellation of South Stream and thus Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov has coordinated with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker the furthering of preparatory works on the pipeline’s construction in the country. Bulgaria has already made considerable expenses related to the project and the opposition to its cancellation is strong, therefore President Juncker and PM Borissov will come up with a decision which will protect the interests of both Europe and Bulgaria. The most evident condition for the realisation of South Stream would be Russia complying with the Third energy package which sets strict division of gas production, transportation and pipeline ownership. These are the highlights of today’s joint statement of Juncker and Borissov.

Bulgaria is not alone

“We are here to help Bulgaria, which is a member of the European family. Bulgaria is not alone. We want the energy to flow for the entire EU. Will not take any blackmailing”, Juncker said, adding that the Commission will also work on the realisation of gas interconnectors linking Bulgaria with its neighbours. These energy infrastructures are eligible for financing under the newly announced European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) which is expected to attract as much as EUR 315 billion of mainly private investment, starting in the second half of 2015.

“Boyko and myself, we will find a solution together. South Stream can be built, the conditions are clear, there is nothing new”, President Juncker said.

Borissov confirmed the Bulgarian government’s support for the pipeline, under the condition that European rules be observed.

“We are in favor of South Stream, of its construction, but according to EU rules”, Borissov said, adding that “if Russia accepts to abide by the Third Energy Package, we could start the construction as of today”.

President Juncker said that he will support Bulgaria, but the country is not an adjustment factor for the EU – Russia bilateral relations.

“It is not just up to the EU, it takes two to tango”, Juncker said metaphorically.

Sofia is ready for the Schengen Area

President Juncker insisted on several occasions during the joint that he is in “amicable brotherly terms” with PM Borisov and that it is time for Bulgaria to find “the place it deserves in Europe”. In his words the progress verification mechanism that is in place will be revised during the mandate of the current Commission, a promise he made during his pre-election campaign in Sofia.

“Bulgaria is ready to accede in Schengen. Other Europeans should start preparations for that. I will do everything so that Bulgaria can enter the Schengen Area”, Juncker said.

TAGS: Bulgaria | South Stream | energy | interconnectors | gas | pipeline | Russia | politics | Schengen Area | Jean-Claude Juncker | Boyko Borissov 

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