Russia proposes that the European Union resolve legal issues concerning operation of the South Stream gas pipeline on the basis of existing international law, Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky told journalists.
The Energy Ministry has received an official letter from the European Commission's energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger that examines the compliance of South Stream agreements with the EU's Third Energy Package, he said.
"The official letter was received yesterday, which is why we haven't had time to prepare an official response," Yanovsky said.
"The letter calls for examining the compliance of inter-governmental agreements on South Stream with the provisions of the Third Energy Package. At previous presentations of the South Stream project, European Commission representatives have told us that the agreements concluded on South Stream need to be revised and brought into accordance with EU law," he said.
"I myself, speaking at the presentation, noted that Russia is concluding the agreements in strict accordance with international law. All of the previously concluded agreements were made with the goal of creating the conditions needed to implement the project. Those conditions can and should differ from the national law in one or another country," Yanovsky said.
The Third Energy Package "is a supranational legal statutory document. So that everything will be decided in accordance with international law," he said.
The European Commission previously recommended that the European countries revise their bilateral agreements with Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) concerning South Stream. The European Commission believes that the agreements with a number of countries through which the gas pipeline passes ignore certain basic principles governing the EU's gas market.
The main violations contained in the agreements are that Gazprom will be the overall operator of the pipeline and that third parties will not have access to its capacity. The methodology for calculating tariffs for shipment on the pipeline is also problematic.
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