Russia ready to find compromise with EU on South Stream deals

Moscow is ready to find a compromise with the E.U. over the South Stream natural gas pipeline deal, although it believes that intergovernmental agreements concluded with a number of European countries to build the pipeline overrule E.U law, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Tuesday.

“The E.U. laws are national legislation, while intergovernmental agreements between Russia and the E.U. countries are regulated by international law, which prevails… But in order to avoid a deadlock, we will hold consultations to consider the interests of the E.U. and make our decisions on the South Stream,” Medvedev said after a meeting with his Slovenian counterpart Alenka Bratusek.

Russia’s Energy Ministry received on December 6 an official letter from the European Commission saying Moscow needs to revise the contracts signed with countries-transiters for the construction of the South Stream pipeline.

The European Commission said earlier in December that agreements with Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Serbia, and Slovenia violated E.U. legislation, and it wants them to be revised.

The South Stream pipeline will carry Russian gas to the Bulgaria’s Black Sea port of Varna before extending overland through Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia to supply gas to Western Europe via Italy and Austria.

Russian gas giant Gazprom owns 50% of the South Stream project, while Italy’s Eni holds 20%, and France’s EDF and Germany’s Wintershall each own 15%.

SOURCE: PRIME, 2013

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