World Bulletin/News Desk
The South Stream project can be built, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has insisted, days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the cancellation of the project.
Juncker’s comments came on Thursday, three days after Putin said the project - designed to transport natural gas across the Black Sea to Southern and Central Europe including Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia and Italy - was to be scrapped.
Juncker said in Brussels: ''We are ready and preparatory works are under way."
Putin had cited Bulgaria as the main obstacle to the project, claiming it was being pressured by the European Union, to which Russia is the main energy supplier.
The Russian leader had said during an official visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara: "If Europe does not want to carry it out, then it will not be carried out."
But Juncker said on Thursday: ''We want energy to flow to Bulgaria, to whole of Europe, we will not accept any blackmailing on energy matters."
'Works under way'
Speaking during a joint press conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, he added: "South Stream can be built - the conditions have been clear since a long time. The ball is in the court of Russia."
Borisov said Putin’s statements were premature and Bulgaria was in favor of the project.
''We want South Stream to be built in compliance with the EU legislation,'' Borisov said.
The European Commission has been against the construction of the South Stream pipeline, citing concerns over breaching EU public procurement rules.
However, there has been much speculation over whether the crisis in Ukraine and a time of low and falling oil prices had led to the cessation of the South Stream.
Last Mod: 04 Aralık 2014, 23:57