Bulgaria Halts Work on South Stream Gas Pipeline - NYTimes.com
Bulgaria’s prime minister has ordered on Sunday a halt to construction work on the Gazprom-led South Stream pipeline project planned to bypass Ukraine as a transit country and consolidating Russia’s energy grip in Europe.
Plamen Oresharski said after meeting U.S. Sens. John McCain, Christopher Murphy and Ron Johnson that he has ordered all work on the disputed project to continue only after consultations with Brussels.
Last week, the European Commission opened an infringement procedure against the Balkan country and asked construction work to be stopped, arguing that Bulgaria hadn’t respected EU internal market rules covering the award of public contracts.
On en arrive aux affaires sérieuses.
Washington had already voiced criticism over Bulgaria’s decision to award the construction of the Bulgarian stretch of South Stream to a consortium led by Russia’s Stroytransgaz — a Russian company subject to U.S. sanctions.
In a statement on Friday, U.S. Ambassador Marcie B. Ries voiced “deep concern” over the decision.
“Now is not the time for business as usual with Russia,” she said. “We advise Bulgarian businesses to avoid working with entities sanctioned by the United States.”
“We understand that there are some issues concerning the South Stream pipeline project,” McCain said Sunday and added that “obviously we want as little Russian involvement as possible.”