Bulgaria Should Host South Stream, Ex-President Says on Russia Visit


Bulgaria’s former President (2002-2012) has voiced his hope that the South Stream pipeline will make its way through the country despite having been abandoned in 2014.

Speaking at the annual congress of United Russia, the country’s ruling party, Parvanov has warned the modern security architecture should be built neither with the idea to exclude Russia nor to antagonize it, according to a statement of his left-wing ABV party.

“South Stream had all chances to turn not only into a regional, but also into a European project. Unfortunately, there were not enough will, imagination and flexibility to make it happen. I have more than once issued critical statements with regard to both double standards shown by Brussels and the indecision of Bulgarian governments, and also as regards certain Russian subjects in the field of energy whose actions contributed to the project’s failure to become irreversible,” Parvanov is quoted as telling Russian lawmakers in Moscow.

He has also urged for the construction of a new nuclear plant in Bulgaria in the aftermath of an arbitration ruling forcing Sofia to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Russia’s Atomstroexport company, a subsidiary of Rosatom. Earlier in June, Rosatom head Sergey Kiriuenko suggested Russia had not abandoned the prospect of building a new nuclear plant in Bulgaria, despite the demise of Belene NPP project which was ditched by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s previous government.

He has also met the country’s Parliament Speaker Sergey Narishkin to discuss with him the current situation in Europe and the Balkans, according to the statement.

A conclusion has been drawn of the “unsatisfactory” state of Bulgarian-Russian relations despite the “significant potential” for development.

The former head of state is in Moscow simultaneously with socialist leader Korneliya Ninova, who headed the biggest opposition party BSP in the spring.

Parvanov, a one-time head of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) himself, moved to break away from the party in 2014, launching his own ticket for the European Parliament elections in May of the same year.

The congress bringing together Parvanov and Ninova, who both advocate closer ties between Bulgaria and Russia, comes against the backdrop of intense speculation whether their two parties will come up with a joint candidate at the forthcoming presidential election this autumn.

Separately, the BSP has announced it would launch its own internal referendum to decide whether to select its own presidential candidate or seek a coalition with other parties.

It was Parvanov who, during his ten-year presidency, launched three large-scale energy projects to be carried out by Russia, namely South Stream, Belene NPP, and the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

However, South Stream was declared abandoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin due to EU opposition in December 2014, and the other two were renounced by Sofia. No decision has been taken to go on with the project despite numerous media reports that either Bulgaria or Russia are considering a move to unblock it.

“South Stream had all chances to turn not only into a regional, but also into a European project. Unfortunately, there were not enough will, imagination and flexibility to make it happen. I have more than once issued critical statements with regard to both double standards shown by Brussels and the indecision of Bulgarian governments, and also as regards certain Russian subjects in the field of energy whose actions contributed to the project’s failure to become irreversible,” Parvanov is quoted as telling United Russia officials and members.

Source: novinite.com

Author: Hassan Khazaal

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