Italy assumed EU Presidency on 1 July and will head the EU for the next 6 months. As part of its presidency program, Italy has stated that it supported the construction of the controversial South Stream pipeline. The pipeline is a Russian-European project whose aim is to provide new transport route from Russia to the EU for Russian gas exports. Together with the already-existing North Stream, it would totally eliminate the need of transit via third countries between Russia and its EU customers. This would mean higher security of supply for the EU, but it would put Ukraine in a politically bad position. Currently, the transit of Russian gas is one of the few political levers Ukraine has at hand towards Russia. Due to this political fact, plus the legally problematic ownership of the planned pipeline, EU has ordered Bulgaria to stop works on its construction recently. Other countries have, however, announced to carry on with the project. ENI, the Italian energy company, participates in the project via a subsidiary. Some NGOs name this as the reason for a favorable Italian stance. Italy, however, points out the security of supply and diversification that the project can bring.
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2nd May 2018