“In its current form the South Stream gas pipeline cannot operate on European territory,” writes the website of the Sofia-based weekly Kapital, which cites remarks made by the European’s Commission’s director for the internal energy market, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, at what the newspaper describes as a “stormy” meeting with Russian representatives in Brussels.

According to the Commission, there are “at least three” bones of contention — the lack of a separation between the producer and the distributor using the pipeline, a transport monopoly, and a lack of transparency in pricing structures — in the deals concluded by Gazprom and several European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Russia, Serbia and Slovenia).

Kapital points out that, as early as October 18, Bulgaria warned the Commission of its reservations. However, that did not stop authorities in Sofia from inaugurating construction of the Bulgarian section of the pipeline on October 31.