сряда, 1 октомври 2014 г.

A word of caution on South Stream's "irreversibility"


I understand that at a recently held roundtable organized by the Protest Network on SouthStream the GERB and ABV reps were joined by Reformist Bloc's Martin Dimitrov in reading that the project is acceptable under EU rules and has passed the post of no return, which implies that it is beyond the reach and control of the European Commission.

Such an "interpretation" will be reported in Russian media and interpreted as a sign that Kremlin's strategy in BG is working and a winning over EU and NATO's attempts to halt the project.

The resolve of the BG politicians in general to see the project through is a vivid reflection of their failure to understand the limits of Bulgaria's maneuvering space within the overall RU-WEST geopolitical macroframe and the resolve of the West to stand up to Putin's dedicated efforts to undermine the EU and NATO. If politicians in Sofia do not see the red light at the tunnel's end BG companies might well end up on the West's sanctions' list. First sanctioned will be of course the RU companies - Centrgaz and then RU suppliers and next in line will be the BG and other EU subcontractors.

The stakes in the geopolitical standoff are too high to be ignored.

Hence my forecast that has not changed over the last year or so - the South Stream project is not possible within the current geopolitical context. That does not mean that cash will not flow as in the Belene NPP - but ultimately until and unless the larger geopolitical frameset brightens the cash spent will end up as sunken costs.

This geopolitical myopia that the BG political elite displays might cost the Bulgarian people a lot - notably after Washington and key EU capitals served the ultimate proof that they are dead serious with the latest sanctions upgrade. Just think - if the US is ready to sacrifice Exxon Mobil's RU business interests and France is ready to stop delivery of the Mistral and face multibillion losses, if the divide between Russia and the West is further widening - note Chancellor Merkel's angry comments on Russia's continued energy blackmail - does anyone believe that the EU will not put South Stream under tight and full control and reason well above the interests of BG politicians and companies?

The statement "South Stream is possible only when in complies with EU legislation" denies the fact that works and payments are in progress as the shareholders' agreement does not provide for any form of control of the BG government and Brussels is totally on the ball on the actors and their actions behind the facade.

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