Energy Tax Dispute: Serbia, Hungary, and North Macedonia Unite Against Bulgaria

Southeast Europe | November 18, 2023, Saturday // 10:00|  views

Serbia, Hungary, and North Macedonia have formed a coalition against Bulgaria over the recent introduction of an energy tax affecting the transit of Russian gas. The move, initiated by Bulgaria on October 13, has sparked significant regional tension, prompting Serbia to engage with the Secretariat of the Energy Union within the European Union, announced Serbian Minister of Energy Dubravka Djedovic Handanovic following discussions with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó in Belgrade.

The imposed tax, set at BGN 20/mWh, affects the transmission and transit of Russian natural gas through Bulgaria, particularly concerning the Balkan Stream gas pipeline. This pipeline is crucial for the transfer of Russian gas to Serbia and Hungary through Bulgarian territory, extending from the Turkish Stream.

Both Djedovic and Szijjártó emphasized their nations' need to protect their respective positions and discussed potential measures to address the issue, deeming Bulgaria's step unacceptable and a threat to energy supply within the EU.

In response to the tax, Djedovic mentioned plans to secure an alternative gas export from Azerbaijan through an interconnector with Bulgaria, anticipated to be operational by the end of November, as construction is set to conclude soon.

Moreover, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and Macedonian colleague Dimitar Kovachevski conveyed joint efforts between Belgrade and Skopje to resolve the issue. Similarly, Hungary and North Macedonia agreed to coordinate actions against the tax, branding it as illegal, as expressed by Kovachevski.

The ongoing discussions gained visibility when Macedonian Prime Minister met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic during the Second International Wine Fair. Vucic released a video featuring Kovachevski and Montenegro President Jakov Milatovic singing a Serbian song titled "I want wine to go crazy," reported BGNES.

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Tags: Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, gas


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