Regional countries want to build Turkish Stream

Foreign ministers of five regional countries on Tuesday in Budapest, Hungary, signed a joint declaration on strengthening energy cooperation.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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During the day, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban welcomed the ministers representing his country, Serbia, Greece, Macedonia, and Turkey - Peter Szijjarto, Ivica Dacic, Nikos Kotzias, Nikola Poposki, and Volkan Bozkır.

In the declaration, they "agreed that cooperation in ensuring energy supply security contributes to the good neighbourly relations between their countries and to the welfare of the citizens."

“Taking into consideration the role of European funds to develop infrastructure projects in Central and South Eastern Europe in reaching a Western European level of diversification, which would in turn make a significant contribution to the overall energy security of Europe and must therefore be a common responsibility of the European Union”, the document reads.

The countries said their political intention was to increase the interconnections between their natural gas systems.

The five ministers expressed their support “to create a commercially viable option of route and source diversification for delivering natural gas from Turkey through the territories of their countries to the countries of Central and South Eastern Europe as well as other countries.”

The also agreed to "support the energy markets of Turkey, the European Union and the Contracting Parties of the Energy Community through the Southern Gas Corridor, to work on new possibilities for creating regional economic development via interconnecting the natural gas infrastructures of our countries with European Union financial assistance, to welcome in cooperative spirit other willing countries of the region to participate in these efforts; and to complement the operation of gas storage facilities with the aim of facilitating trading, providing seasonal balancing and increasing the security of supply in case of disruption of gas supplies."

The ministers announced after their first meeting that the five countries were "ready and willing to participate in the construction of Turkish Stream gas pipeline."

"The project needs to be legally verified by Turkey, Russia and Brussels, in order to avoid the problems that occurred with the South Stream project," Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic told a press conference after the meeting.

The ministers agreed to consider the options for financing the Turkish Stream project, and form a team of experts to conduct a feasibility study.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that the cost of the project for the five counties would be EUR 5 billion.

He added that the ministers of Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina will also be invited to the next meeting, which is scheduled for July.

Turkey's EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir said that the proposed gas pipeline is in the interest of the entire region, adding that a feasibility study should be conducted to show if the project is realistic.

"Serbia should no longer be the victim of geopolitical relations between the West and Russia, and have its citizens suffer for it," Dacic said.

Dacic and his counterparts from Hungary, Greece, Turkey and Macedonia took part in the first ministerial meeting on energy security in Central and Southeast Europe.

The ministers of all five countries stressed that their governments are ready to participate in infrastructure projects that will secure a stable supply of gas to households and businesses, regardless of the fact that a stable source of finance has not yet been provided.

"We want everything to be in line with the European regulations, and we cannot allow our citizens to be the victims of geopolitical relations between Russia and the EU,” said Dacic.

"We are talking about gas, not about the EU-Russia geopolitical relations. Gas has no color. The EU has an obligation to help us,” Dacic told the press conference.

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