EP wants South Stream scrapped

STRASBOURG -- The European Parliament (EP) on Thursday passed a resolution urging for stepping up sanctions against Russia and canceling contracts to build South Stream.

The resolution, passed with votes in favor from 77 percent of the total number of MEPs, expresses "strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine" and seeks from Russia to "immediately pull its troops out of the country and to stop backing the pro-Russian forces."

Calling for stepping up the sanctions against Russia, the European Parliament took the view that South Stream contracts should be canceled and that other sources of energy supply should be found instead.

Only 49 MEPs, or nine percent, voted against the resolution, including all the MEPs of Bulgaria’s ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party.

The pipeline, whose construction is in progress, should pass through Serbia, Bulgaria and five other European countries, which would eliminate the need for the transit of gas through Ukraine.

The EU had already taken the position that the construction of South Stream should be suspended until the project was brought to comply with EU regulations, but this is the first time that some of the EU institutions demands that it be canceled.

EP resolutions have no binding force, but the European Council and the European Commission have to take them into account in decision-making.