The Russian permanent envoy to the European Union has argued that attempts to put restrictions on the operator of the planned South Stream natural gas pipeline that are prescribed by the EU Third Energy Package Rules are unlawful.
"Intergovernmental agreements with the six EU countries through whose territory South Stream will pass were signed before the Third Energy Package came into force. It is a fundamental principle of international law that no law may be retroactive, and so attempts to apply [the Third Energy package] to South Stream are legally untenable," Vladimir Chizhov told reporters.
He mentioned that Russia had launched a legal process at the World Trade Organization, insisting on a ban on making "any of the cross-border trunk oil and gas pipelines governable by the Third Energy Package because they are nor internal European pipelines."
He also addressed the Ukrainian aspect of the South Stream project.
"I won't argue with those who see the South Steam project as a way of bypassing Ukraine in a bid to deprive Ukraine of its monopoly transit country status," he said.
"However, this definitely doesn't mean that the gas that will flow through South Stream is the same gas that today flows through Ukrainian territory. In principle, all development trends in Europe provide evidence that gas consumption by its countries will grow in volume. Other evidence of this is that last year Russian gas exports grew in volume despite all the lamentations in Europe."
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