by Dennis Marc H.
In yesterday’s European Council negotiations the President of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker announced that the Commission has lifted its ban on the building of the South-Stream Pipeline.
Mr. Juncker announced that the infringement procedure against Bulgaria would be suspended and the construction can be resumed.
On 29 April 2014 a memorandum on the implementation of the Austrian section was signed in Moscow. Commissioning of the Austrian section is scheduled by January 2018. In June 2014, Bulgaria temporarily stopped construction due to the European’s Commission infringement procedure against Bulgaria for non-compliance with European rules on energy competition public procurements.
In response to this, Russia filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization against the EU’s energy market laws. These laws ban suppliers frown owning transit facilities, including gas pipelines such as South Stream.
The European Commission also announced that it will enter into talks with Gazprom to allow the usage of third-party gas producers to use the South Stream pipeline. Juncker said: “We hope that Gazprom will meet us at halfway and allow the usage of South Stream by other producers”.
The European Commission’s actions are seen as de-escalating measures, just as Russia and Ukraine agreed on gas prices yesterday.