MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) – Any attempts to block the South Stream gas pipeline project could jeopardize the economic interests of EU member countries, Russia’s Ambassador to Italy Sergei Razov told the Rossiya Segodnya international news agency Monday.
"We believe that the legal basis [for the South Stream project] has been already established and the project can be implemented in any case. Attempts to block it come across as interfering in national jurisdiction and the economic interests of EU member states,” the diplomat said.
The construction of the South Stream pipeline is in the best interests of Southeast and Southern Europe, Razov noted.
The Russian ambassador argued recent statements by the European Commission saying South Stream is subject to the EU's Third Energy Package are illogical. By making available, in accordance with EU laws, 50 percent of pipeline capacities for other gas suppliers, the EU would deprive consumers of half of Russian gas supplies.
“It will destroy all cost-effectiveness and investments payback period guidelines, on which bank lending depends," the diplomat said.
The South Stream pipeline, expected to carry Russian gas across the Black Sea to Southern and Central European countries, is aimed at diversifying export routes for Russian gas.
The project stalled when the European Commission expressed concern that Russia’s bilateral agreements with European transit countries, namely Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia, violate the EU Third Energy Package. According to these legislative proposals, the pipelines in the EU cannot belong to the natural gas extractors.
South Stream construction began in late 2012, with the first deliveries expected in 2016. The pipeline is to become fully operational in 2018.