Bulgaria will be subject to renewed EU control in regard to the new gas pipeline from Russia four years after the failure of the previous project.

“The European Commission will not support it”, if the gas pipeline is not eligible, said Maroš Šefkovic, Vice-President of the Commission responsible for EU energy policy.

EU will “react within its powers” if Bulgaria undermines the EU’s energy security, he said on Tuesday (December 11th) in a statement to the site EU Observer.

If the purpose of the gas pipeline across Bulgaria is to sell Russian gas to the EU in a new trade center with other international suppliers, this is a “welcome development,” said Šefkovic. But if Moscow simply wants to “bypass” EU countries such as Austria or Italy, then the Commission will be against it.

The 484-kilometer pipeline in Bulgaria will send Russian gas to Europe by connecting to the new Russia-Turkish (Turkish stream) pipeline. Russia is also building a gas pipeline for Germany called North Stream 2.

Both, the gas pipeline in Germany and the one in Turkey bypass countries such as Poland and Ukraine, formerly in the Russian sphere of influence. This makes the regions more dangerous, critics say, because it allows Moscow to cut supplies wherever it decides while keeping its valuable exports to West Europe.

Moscow’s energy moves come at the background of geopolitical tension, with Russian military provocations and aggression in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea.

“Nord Stream 2 and the expanded Turkish Stream gas pipeline seek to deepen the EU’s dependence on Russia,” a US diplomat commented on the same day as Šefkovic.

“They are not commercial projects, they are political tools, and the Russian state uses energy for compelling political purposes,” the diplomat warned.

The previous Russian project, the (even more ambitious) South Stream gas pipeline, had to transfer gas directly from Russia to Bulgaria. But Moscow abandon it in 2014 when the EU Commission announced it was violating the Single Market laws. Bulgaria, where MPs approved the Turkish Stream project on November 30, have not yet provided Šefkovic with details of its plan. Serbia also gave the green light to the project and expects the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline across its territory to begin in March 2019. The continuation of the Turkish Stream pipeline across Greece is also realistic.