Bulgaria has halted building on the South Stream gas pipeline until it resolves a dispute with Brussels.
South Stream is a huge project to hook up Europe with Russian gas, with a pipe running from Russia’s Black Sea through Turkey to the Bulgarian coast.
In Europe the gas pipeline will go through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia, ending in Tarvisio, Italy.
Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said yesterday he ordered work to stop because of an inquiry by the European Commission.
Reports suggested the inquiry hinges on whether the project goes against competition rules because an oil producer (Russia’s Gazprom) has a large stake in the pipe.
Speaking after a meeting with the met with US senators including John McCain, Mr Oresharski said: “I pointed out that the project will go forward only after we resolve all issues that Brussels has and agree on the project’s further implementation.”
He added: “Depending on upcoming consultations with Brussels, we will decide the course of further work. I have ordered to stop construction until the procedure is agreed with Brussels.”