Transit Countries Should Have Final Say on South Stream Gas Pipeline – Poll

© East News / Mikhail Metzel/AP/XMIM101A worker does the preparation work for welding the first section of the South Stream pipeline in Anapa, Russia. File photo
A worker does the preparation work for welding the first section of the South Stream pipeline in Anapa, Russia. File photo - Sputnik International
The majority of people in the countries that were to host the South Stream gas pipeline say it should not have been up to the European Commission to decide whether to give the green light to the project that was to bring Russian natural gas to Europe, a poll conducted by ICM Research exclusively for Sputnik News Agency showed.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) The survey revealed that 66 percent of respondents in Bulgaria and 52 percent in Serbia believe their countries should have had the final say on the South Stream gas pipeline.

In Austria, 42 percent said the decision was theirs to make, while 46 percent said it was rightfully left to the European Commission, the European Union's executive body.

Austria, Bulgaria and Serbia were to host sections of a Russian alternative gas transport route, which was to bypass Ukraine. Its estimated capacity was 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year.

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Last summer, Bulgaria decided to freeze the construction of its leg due to the European Commission's fears that the project violated the EU Third Energy Package. This law prohibits simultaneous ownership of both the gas and the pipeline through which it flows.

Months of bickering over the pipeline's legality led to Russian energy giant Gazprom scrapping the project in December 2014, citing the EU's non-constructive stance.

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In December, Serbia estimated it would lose up to $375 million in project development costs after the pipeline was eventually relocated to Turkey. Bulgaria will lose an annual $600 million in transit fees, according to Bulgarian Energy Minister Rumen Ovcharov.

The poll was conducted among 3,000 residents in Austria, Serbia and Bulgaria between January 12 and 30, 2015.

International public opinion research project Sputnik.Polls was launched in 2014, in conjunction with British public opinion survey leaders ICM Research. It conducts regular opinion polls to monitor public sentiment toward social, political and cultural issues in Europe and the United States.

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