Bulgaria PM:Southern Gas Corridor Essential for Energy Diversification
The Southern Gas Corridor is an important step towards energy diversification in the entire southeastern European region, according to Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski.
In an interview for the Caspian Energy magazine, as cited by the press office of the Bulgarian government, Oresharski claimed that both the European Commission and the interested parties acknowledged this contribution and relied on Azeri gas.
"We have planned the construction of a gas grid interconnection across the border with Greece, which should make it possible to use Azeri gas. At the end of last year, I had the opportunity to attend an official ceremony in Baku during which the construction of the TAP pipeline was launched. I am grateful to President Aliyev for the invitation, the warm welcome and the productive meeting I had with him. I believe that our traditionally friendly relations will be given a new boost by the prospect for deepening commercial and economic cooperation," Oresharski stated.
He emphasized that Bulgaria was striving to achieve a diversification of its energy sources.
"The gas supply network of our country has not been completed and there are good opportunities for investments in this sphere," Bulgaria's Prime Minister said.
He claimed that there were also opportunities for investments in hi-tech sectors and agriculture.
"We are working to achieve a reindustrialization in line with the recommendations of the European Commission. The current relatively high prices of natural gas make chemical production inefficient, taking into account that it used to be a traditional industry for my country in the recent past. If we succeed in encouraging the restart of some metallurgical plants and a part of the chemical production, demand for energy sources will increase," he declared.
Asked about Bulgaria's EU membership, he sought to dispel skepticism.
"Sometimes you hear people say that EU membership brought damages to the economy which did not withstand the competitive pressure in the conditions of an absolutely free market. I have never endorsed such statements because they presuppose an isolated national economy which preserves inefficient sectors of the economy through artificial incentives," Bulgaria's Prime Minister argued.
Oresharski also pointed out that Bulgaria remained one of the few countries with a low public-debt burden (below 20% against an EU average of around 90% of the GDP), a small budget deficit (2% of the GDP for 2013 against an EU average of over 4%) and well-capitalized banks (capital adequacy of over 15% against an EU average of around 5-6%).
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