Bulgaria Calls Upon EU to Set Up 'Energy Schengen Agreement'

Energy | October 24, 2011, Monday // 17:54|  views

The European Energy Community. The member states in black, and the observers are in blue. Map from Wikipedia

Bulgaria's Economy Minister Traicho Traikov has made a call for the forming of an "Energy Schengen Area", a set of rules for access to the energy market of the European Union by third nations.

"The EU member states need a coordinated position on energy projects with the participation of third nations. We need an "Energy Schengen Agreement" providing clear rules for access to the European energy market," Traikov declared in his address to an international conference in Vienna, Austria, for the fifth year since the founding of the so called European Energy Community (see below).

The forum in question is dedicated to the fifth year since the founding of the European Energy Community, also known as the Energy Community of Southeastern Europe, a community established between the European Union (EU) and a number of third countries in order to extend the EU internal energy market to South East Europe and beyond. The Treaty establishing the Energy Community was signed in Athens, Greece, on 25 October 2005, and entered into force on 1 July 2006.

In his speech, in addition to the need for an "Energy Schengen", the Bulgarian Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism argued that EU funding must be channeled for developing the energy infrastructure in Southeastern Europe. He reminded that at a ministerial in November 2010 in Sofia, Bulgaria took up initiating the coordinated development of energy transit networks in Southeastern Europe.

"Bulgaria is emphasizing the construction of energy infrastructure that will provide for secure energy supplies, diversification, and connecting the markets of the Energy Community with the common energy market of the EU," Traikov declared in Vienna, stressing further Bulgaria's role in the so called "Athens Process" which started in 2002-2003 for bringing together the energy markets of the EU and non-EU states.

He further said that as an energy exporter, Bulgaria covers a significant part of the energy deficit in its region, and pointed out that it is working to accelerate the construction of its natural gas interconnectors with Serbia, Turkey, and Greece; the Bulgaria-Greece interconnector in particular should be extended to the Aegean Sea in order to provide a further diversification route, Traikov said.

EU Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger also took part in the conference on the European Energy Community in Vienna.

"The Energy Community has proved to be an appropriate framework to boost business and favour sustainable growth. Now comes the time for the full implementation of the regulatory and legal framework set by the Community. When fully implemented it will ensure that citizens and companies benefit from fair competition on energy markets and are protected against unexpected power cuts," the Commissioner said.

The members of the Energy Community are the EU, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Kosovo (UNMIK). Norway, Turkey, and Georgia are observers.

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Tags: Traicho Traikov, Economy Minister, energy commissioner, Gunther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Energy, common energy market, EU, European Union, European Commission, European Energy Community, Southeastern Europe, Balkans, Energy Schengen Agreement, diversification, natural gas, transit pipelines, transit of Russian gas, gas connection, Interconnection Greece-Bulgaria, Bulgaria-Serbia gas interconnection, Bulgaria-Turkey pipeline, Bulgaria-Romania gas interconnection


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