South Stream An Impediment to Serbia’s EU Accession?

The inter-governmental agreement between Russia and Serbia in respect to the South Streamgas pipeline poses an impediment to the Balkan nation’s EU accession talks.

European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger has stated that Serbia needed to harmonise the South Stream agreement with European legislation if it wants to avoid any lagging in EU accession talks.

“The EU membership talks concerning Serbia will start at the same time as the negotiations between the EU and Russia over amendments to the South Stream agreements. These are two interconnected and parallel processes,” Oettinger said.

The construction of a section of the in Serbia, started in the village of Sajkas, northern Serbia on November 24th.

The pipeline section running through Serbia will be 421 kilometers long and will see an investment of 1.9 billion euros.  The construction of two branches is also planned – 52 kilometers to Croatia and 105 kilometers to the Republika Srpska.

The EU’s challenge to intergovernmental agreement between Russia and members of the EU through which the South Stream pipeline will transit was first publicly disclosed at an EU Parliament event hosted by Natural Gas Europe | Gas Dialogues.  Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, director for energy markets at the European Commission, said that bilateral agreements were not in line with present EU policies, that the EU member countries involved in the project needed to amend the agreements accordingly.

However, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that agreements are acts of international law that should benefit from a rule of precedence on national laws.

SOURCE: Natural Gas Europe, 2013

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