Prime ministers in Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro and Northern Macedonia have met in Sofia on Monday to discuss about reducing dependence on Russian gas, joint military investment, ensuring food security in the region, refugee management and post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.
“We already have the Trans-Balkan pipeline which has a significant capacity to transport gas from Romania, through Bulgaria to Turkey. It is time to reverse this process. It is time to see how we can use gas from Turkey and LNG from Greece to bring them in Romania and Bulgaria, which has the capacity to deliver these resources to the Balkans,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said in Sofia on Monday.
Asked when the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Greece could arrive in Romania, Prime Minister Ciuca said he did not want to speculate, but said he had received assurances from the government and the Greek prime minister that the interconnections between Greece and Bulgaria for LNG transport will be done as soon as possible. “The interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria will provide an alternative for the supply of LNG from Alexandropolis, on the vertical corridor, to Bulgaria, Romania and then to other European countries,” the Romanian PM said.
In his turn, the Bulgarian prime minister said he had visited the pipelines in Bulgaria and Greece last week. “We have been assured by the Government and the Prime Minister of Greece that this pipeline will be completed by the end of June. This means that liquefied natural gas will be delivered through this pipeline this year,” Kiril Petkov said.
Providing food security was also on the agenda.
“So far no one was able to send in the perfect solution, which is not strange. There are certainly problems in the food supply chain due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia, and that is why we need to assess the impact,” said Prime Minister Ciuca.
The four heads of government also discussed the fight against corruption and money laundering at the transnational level, but also about military cooperation and the refugee crisis.
“We also discussed that when we have expensive military systems it is better to have coordination at the regional level so that our investments are made jointly and bring synergies in our defense capabilities. Regarding the refugees, we discussed that we should have a common strategy, as this conflict is still under way. We need to talk to our European partners about a solidarity mechanism for these migrants, a distribution of them in the region to deal with the wave of migrants,” said the Bulgarian prime minister.