The European Commission (EC) announced Friday that 15 EU and Energy Community countries in the Central Eastern Europe and South East European region have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together, to accelerate the building of missing gas infrastructure links.
The MoU will “boost security of energy supply and lead to the creation of a connected and competitive energy market in the region”, according to an EC press release. The agreement ultimately aims for each country in the area to have at least three different sources of gas.
The European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic commented in an EC statement:
"This region is very important for Europe, in particular when we look at security of energy supply. The improvement of infrastructure through realistic and feasible projects is crucial to diversify energy resources and strengthen the region's resilience to supply shocks. Cooperation among the countries of the region is key in this regard. I myself and the entire commission support this process, notably in the framework of the European Energy Union Strategy."
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete commented in a European Commission release:
"Regional cooperation is a cornerstone of our work on closer integration of energy markets. Therefore effective cooperation between the countries in Central Eastern and South-East Europe is key to ensuring secure energy supplies and affordable prices for consumers in the region. Whilst every country has to face its specific energy issues, addressing them together can offer cheaper and more effective solutions."
Work on gas infrastructure links will take place under the commission’s Central Eastern and South-Eastern European Gas Connectivity Group, which was established in February 2015. A number of infrastructure projects, such as the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), LNG terminal in Croatia and evacuation system, system reinforcement in Bulgaria and Romania, have been identified as top priority in the action plan annexed to the Memorandum.
The latest development follows the European Commission’s 2014 gas ‘stress tests’, which found that most countries in Central and South-Eastern Europe do not have access to a diversified gas supply due to missing infrastructure links or long-term supply contracts to a single supplier.
The MoU and its action plan were signed by EU Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, EU Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete and Energy Ministers and their representatives from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine. Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Moldova will also sign at a later stage, according to the EC.
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