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Bulgaria to enhance cooperation on gas projects with Greece, Romania, Hungary

Bulgaria to enhance cooperation on gas projects with Greece, Romania, Hungary Denys Prykhodov/

SOFIA (Bulgaria), September 9 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria signed joint statements with the governments and gas transmission operators (TSOs) of Romania, Greece and Hungary on infrastructure projects along the Vertical Gas Corridor, the European Commission said on Friday.

Furthermore, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the TSOs from Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece on reverse flows on the Trans-Balkan pipeline, the EU executive body said in a statement following an energy meeting in Hungarian capital Budapest held within the framework of the Commission's Central and South-Eastern European Gas Connectivity (CESEC) initiative.

The meeting also saw the adoption of an action plan on regulatory issues, which aims to smooth out the operation of existing and planned infrastructure in the region and to improve market functioning, according to the statement.

The participants also decided to extend the CESEC’s cooperation into new areas, aiming to create a regional electricity market and increase renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region.

"I'm glad that our cooperation 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 cooperation in the gas sector. This is why we are also extending our cooperation to renewable energy and energy efficiency to help also boost energy security by lowering dependence on external energy suppliers," Miguel Arias Canete, commissioner for climate action and energy, said in the statement.

The relevant energy ministers also 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.

Since its launch by the European Commission in 2015, the CESEC initiative has already resulted in rapid development of the infrastructure in the region and implementation of EU market rules which help ensure fairer prices for consumers and efficient functioning of competitive energy markets.

The Vertical Gas Corridor project aims to ensure uninterrupted supplies in both directions, while promoting the EU’s priority corridor North South and the Southern Corridor.

The Bulgaria–Romania–Hungary–Austria (BRUA) Connecting Europe Facility Grant agreement of some 179 million euro ($201 million) was also signed at Friday's meeting.

($=0.8868 euro)