MOSCOW, November 13 (Sputnik) — Serbia should continue work on the South Stream gas transit pipeline despite EU authorities’ efforts to freeze the project, Vojislav Seselj, president of the Serbian Radical Party, said in an exclusive interview with Sputnik Thursday.
“It’s very important for Serbia and we advocate the construction of our segment of the pipeline despite the ‘freeze.’ It's only temporary, while any action toward the implementation of the South Stream project in our country would be an investment in the future of energy security,” Seselj said.
In overall, Russia should become the priority partner of Serbia, the politician added.
“We believe that our only chance is rapprochement with Moscow and full integration, just like Belarus and Kazakhstan do. After all, Russia has always saved us during the most difficult periods in our history,” Seselj underlined.
Russian energy giant Gazprom started building the South Stream gas pipeline across the Black Sea in 2012 to reduce the unreliable passage of Russian natural gas to central and southern Europe through Ukraine. The pipeline is expected to be fully operational by 2018.
The pipeline's route is expected to come ashore in Bulgaria and continue to Serbia, where it will divide, with the first branch going through Hungary to Austria and the second one through Hungary and Slovenia to Italy. Under the plan, pipeline sections are also to be constructed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Brussels has long been trying to hamper the project saying it violates the European Union's Third Energy Package, which stipulates that pipelines in its member countries cannot belong to natural gas producers. Moscow insists that the construction of the pipeline does not contradict the regulations in any way.
In early October, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic reaffirmed Belgrade's commitment to the South Stream project, saying it would go ahead with its construction.