EU Commission Ready to Attend Balkan Gas Hub Talks
A EU Commission official has said Brussels stands ready to get involved in any kind of negotiations over Sofia's gas hub project.
The gas hub project is not only important to Bulgaria or the EU, but to the entire region as well, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, Director Internal Energy Market at the Commission's Energy directorate, has made clear at a conference in the Black Sea city of Varna.
He has added Bulgaria has until November 09 to submit a feasibility study for the project if it wants to secure EU funding.
Brussels is ready to take part in meetings regardless of whether they involve Russia, Turkey or another interested country and Bulgaria, Focus News Agency quotes him as saying.
Borchardt has called on Russia to get involved in the project alongside the parties to the Southern Gas Corridor (a system of pipelines transporting gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey and Southern and Southeastern Europe).
Russia was not invited to the conference held on September 05-06, with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov citing "lack of perspective" for Russia in the project as of the moment.
The EU official's words follow a call from Borisov, who on Monday suggested Brussels should attend future talks on the gas hub project and a trilateral meeting of Sofia, Brussels and Moscow officials should be held to avoid a further infringement procedure against Bulgaria.
An earlier project, South Stream, was brought to a halt after Bulgaria froze activities amidst EU opposition, with Russia announcing it would not go on with it and would build so-called Turkish Stream instead.
While Bulgarian government officials have denied suggestions they are trying to revive South Stream with the hub proposal, Moscow has been questioning the viability of the project, saying the cancellation of the pipeline casts doubt on the diversity of gas sources Bulgaria could use.
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