Austrians, Serbs, Bulgarians Expect EU to Struggle Finding New Gas Supplier

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A significant part of people in Serbia, Bulgaria and Austria say they do not expect the European Union to make up for the natural gas supplies it will no longer receive from Russia any time soon, after Russia dropped the South Stream pipeline project last year, a poll conducted by ICM Research exclusively for Sputnik News Agency showed.

A worker does the preparation work for welding the first section of the South Stream pipeline in Anapa, Russia. File photo - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) The survey revealed that 39 percent of respondents in the three affected countries said they do not expect Brussels to find an alternative gas supplier and build a new pipeline in near future.

An average of 19 percent across the countries said they had faith in the union.

Almost half of respondents in Southern Europe’s Serbia and Bulgaria were pessimistic about being able to offset Russian gas deliveries (45 and 42 percent respectively).

In Austria, 43 percent said they were hopeful about obtaining gas from elsewhere. Serbia and Bulgaria depend heavily on Russian gas supplies, with over 80 percent of their natural gas coming from Russia. Russia’s share of Austrian domestic gas consumption is less than 50 percent.

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Austria, Bulgaria and Serbia were to host sections of a Russian transport pipeline that was to deliver 63 billion metric tons of natural gas a year. The project was scrapped last December after the European Commission’s concerns over the project’s legality prompted Bulgaria to halt construction.

Brussels said that Russia’s ownership of both the pipeline and gas supplies violated the EU’s Third Energy Package. Moscow reacted by condemning the EU’s counter-productive stance and announced a fallback plan to deliver the gas through Turkey. The first leg of the newly-mapped Turkish Stream pipeline is scheduled to be built by late 2016.

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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