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Shock, Anger, Denial in Bulgaria over South Stream News

  • Another European country takes a bullet for US interests
  • For Bulgaria, the poorest country in the EU, this is bad news indeed
  • The reactions of Bulgarian politicians have been all over the spectrum

Some of the reactions via the Bulgarian news agency Novinite


Shock:

Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski has said that the South Stream gas pipeline should not be considered suspended until Russia comes up with an official statement on the matter.

Speaking Tuesday at a conference “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): Prospects for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses”, Lukarski recommended refraining from comments on the matter until Russia issued an official statement on the move.

He said that caretaker Economy Minister Vasil Shtonov had sent a letter to Russia in August saying that the gas pipeline project clashed with EU requirements and not that the EU was not interested in it.

Anger:

Former Energy Minister Rumen Ovcharov has estimated Bulgaria’s losses from the suspension of the South Stream gas pipeline at around USD 600 M.

In a Tuesday interview for the morning broadcast of Nova TV, Ovcharov noted that annual gas transit of 63 billion cubic meters would be redirected from Bulgaria to Turkey as a result of the decision of Russia to drop the South Stream gas pipeline project.

He emphasized that Bulgaria would not only lose money but also suffer geostrategic and political losses.

“The government of Boyko Borisov will go down in history as the one which destroyed three large-scale infrastructure projects which could have helped Bulgaria emerge from the economic crisis,” he insisted, adding that Bulgaria would have been an entirely different country as a result of the implementation of these projects.

Denial:

Martin Dimitrov, Deputy Chair of Bulgaria’s parliamentary energy committee, has dismissed the announcement of Russian President Vladimir Putin about the suspension of the South Stream gas pipeline project as a bluff.

“There is no way Russia is giving up on the South Stream gas pipeline project,” Dimitrov declared Tuesday in an interview for the morning broadcast of Nova TV.

“This is a tactical move on the part of Vladimir Putin and of Russia.

They would never give up on the South Stream gas pipeline project,” Dimitrov explained.

He claimed that the announcement on Monday had been nothing more than a tactical move aimed at stepping up pressure on Bulgaria and the European Commission to implement the South Stream gas pipeline.

“Just wait and see how this move of Moscow causes hysteria in Bulgaria, with a number of people urging the authorities to accept any proposal of Russia because the country would otherwise face losses,” Dimitrov noted, as cited by Sega daily.


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