Chancellor Merkel added her voice to those of EU member states with a stake in Russia‘s recently canceled $40 billion South Stream gas pipeline urging Moscow to reverse its decision. Her announcement came after a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov in Berlin, the EU member state being singled out by President Putin as primarily responsible for the abandonment of the project. Merkel argued that contracts have already been signed for the deal (including by Bulgaria) and that Western partners should seek to preserve their sanctity.
This confusing development throws into doubt European resolve to uphold the terms of the EU‘s Third Energy Package, calling for strengthened energy security and supply diversification. It also lends credence to the view that Germany (and possibly other larger EU member states) is prepared to use South Stream as a bargaining chip to modify Russian political, economic and military behavior toward Ukraine and other targeted states in the region (e.g., the Balkans, Moldova, Georgia, etc.)