BRUSSELS – The European Commission is delaying some talks on a new Russian pipeline that would bypass Ukraine to transport natural gas via the Black Sea to southeastern Europe.
Spokeswoman Sabine Berger said Monday the Commission, the 28-country bloc’s executive arm, will continue talks at a technical level but suspend planned political negotiations in light “of the broader developments” in the EU’s relations with Russia.
The EU last week suspended talks on visa liberalization and an economic agreement with Moscow to protest against Russia’s incursion into Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
The South Stream pipeline, in which Russia’s Gazprom holds a 50 per cent stake, would provide an alternative supply route for Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria and Italy. It’s expected to ship up to 63 billion cubic meters of gas from 2018.