European Commission Vice-President, Maroš Šefcovic, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, and Energy Ministers from 12 EU and Energy Community countries and contracting parties in central and southeastern Europe have signed important infrastructure and regional co-operation agreements in Budapest.
Co-operation under the European Commission Initiative on Central and South-Eastern European Gas Connectivity (CESEC), launched in 2015, has produced tangible results.
At the meeting, the Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria (BRUA) Connecting Europe Facility Grant agreement of €179 million was signed. In addition, joint statements were signed by the Governments and Transmission System Operators (TSOs) from Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary on co-operation on gas projects along the so-called ‘Vertical Corridor’. Furthermore, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the TSOs from Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece on reverse flows on the Trans-Balkan pipeline. Ministers also welcomed the imminent completion of the new interconnector between Bulgaria and Romania, and the project to reinforce the Bulgarian network preparing it for further interconnections with neighbouring countries.
Looking ahead, the relevant Ministers committed to the rapid completion of four further priority projects: the LNG terminal in Croatia and connecting infrastructure towards Hungary, the Greece–Bulgaria interconnector and the Bulgaria–Serbia interconnector.
Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, Maroš Šefcovic, said: “Today’s meeting is a milestone in regional co-operation and in advancing our plans for Energy Union. In working together, we can achieve heightened energy security and diversification in a region which has already experienced severe vulnerability to its gas supplies.”
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, said: “I'm glad that our co-operation in the region has produced tangible results: Bulgaria now has access to LNG and Ukraine will soon have it too. But we want to go further including beyond co-operation in the gas sector. This is why we are also extending our co-operation to renewable energy and energy efficiency to help also boost energy security by lowering dependence on external energy suppliers."
The meeting also saw the adoption of an Action Plan on regulatory issues to smooth out the operation of existing and planned infrastructure in the region and to improve market functioning. Moreover, Minsters also decided to move the CESEC’s co-operation into new areas aiming to create a regional electricity market as well as boosting renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region. The meeting was convened following the substantial progress achieved in one year of reinforced regional co-operation.
Edited from source by Stephanie Roker
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