European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger warned that Serbia will have to bring agreement on South Stream in line with European regulations. He repeated the earlier statements on the subject that bilateral agreements which the Russian gas giant Gazprom concluded with six EU member states and Serbia are incompatible with the EU, because they monopolize the distribution and can lead to environmental damage.
Otherwise, he said, a delay in the accession negotiations with the EU is possible.
Serbia’s accession negotiations with the EU, which should start at the same time as the EU-Russia negotiations on the revision of the agreement are “two coupled parallel processes”, said Oettinger.
“Serbia is a member of our energy community and has to accept the rules of our market”, said Oettinger at debate on energy policy of the EU in Brussels.
He repeated the earlier statements on the subject that bilateral agreements which the Russian gas giant Gazprom concluded with six EU member states and Serbia are incompatible with the EU, because they monopolize the distribution and can lead to environmental damage.
Oettinger said he will meet next month in Moscow with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, in order to begin negotiations on the revision of bilateral agreements in accordance with the mandate he received from the member states in their name.
“They will not be bilateral anymore,” Oettinger said, adding that Russia should accept EU as a constructive partner.
Asked by Tanjug correspondent how the dispute over the South Stream will be reflected in the accession negotiations with EU which Serbia should start at the same time as the EU-Russia negotiations on the revision of the contract, Oettinger said that it is a “two related and parallel processes.”
“Although Serbia is not currently at the focus of this issue, Serbia would have to take into account that the South Stream at some point does not come to a standstill in negotiations”, he said.
The Commissioner pointed out that the EU is not against the construction of South Stream, but only insists on respecting the rules that apply to all.
“For Russia, it is better to have a regular gas pipeline through which gas is flowing, but to end up with problematic pipelines without gas”, he warned. Commissioner expressed optimism at the forum about the outcome of the dialogue on the pipeline.
“I’m in constant contact with Novak and with Medvedev (director of Gazprom Alexander)”, he said, adding that the first reaction of Moscow to the criticisms of the South Stream were “constructive.”
Oettinger has firmly denied that the dispute EU and Russia over gas pipeline is connected to the political crisis in Ukraine.
“These two things are not affiliated,” he underlined.
Oettinger announced that they will discuss South Stream also on EU-Russia summit, which is scheduled for late January.
Source; Serbia Energy