'EU to take lead in Nabucco’ .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - The European Commission should take the lead in the Nabucco pipeline project, said a Bulgarian member of the European Parliament, or MEP, in light of the crisis between Ukraine and Russia threatening the gas flow to Europe.

"Bulgaria has been very active in promoting the Nabucco pipeline, at state level and at every possible level. The European Commission should be much more actively involved in this project," Bulgarian Socialist MEP Evgeni Kirilov said to Web site EurActiv in an interview.

The multi-national Nabucco project will carry gas to Europe across Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Austria. Both Turkey and Ukraine support the flagship project aimed at reducing dependence on Russian energy supplies.

Turkey's state-owned pipeline company BOTAŞ is a partner in the Nabucco consortium. Ukraine, also willing to join the project, last year negotiated to receive gas from the pipeline once it was built.

Flows to Europe have been cut off for nearly a week during which temperatures dropped to freezing after Russia accused Ukraine of siphoning off gas to make up for losses it has suffered since Moscow turned off the tap Jan. 1 in a dispute over gas prices.

Meanwhile, Czech Industry and Trade Minister Martin Riman said Europe must accelerate talks to find alternative energy sources, build gas pipelines and cement cooperation to avoid becoming caught up in supply disruptions from Russia, Reuters reported yesterday.

"There are projects to raise energy security, such as Nabucco, that have long been discussed. There has been a lot of talk but not much action," Riman told Reuters.