US Ambassador Urges Bulgaria to Shake off Dependence on Russian Energy

Politics » DIPLOMACY | February 25, 2010, Thursday // 16:09
Bulgaria: US Ambassador Urges Bulgaria to Shake off Dependence on Russian Energy US Ambassador James Warlick (left) spoke at a business luncheon of AmCham in Sofia. Photo by BGNES

Not unlike America, Bulgaria should seek to become more energy independent, according to US Ambassador in Sofia, James Warlick.

Warlick spoke Thursday before the member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria.

He pointed out that America was dependent on Middle Eastern oil, while Bulgaria relied on natural gas solely from Russia.

“The decisions that the Bulgarian government is making today are going to determine the country’s future for decades to come,” Warlick stated stressing that energy security could be achieved through transparency and diversification of the sources, which required investment, diplomacy and negotiation skills, and a strategic vision.

He further stated large-scale energy projects should be evaluated according to their economic benefit, and should not be based on politics and foreign pressure.

His Excellency also pointed out that the construction of the Nabucco gas transit pipeline and of connections between the Bulgarian gas network and those of Greece and Romania were crucial but still not sufficient for Bulgaria’s energy security, and that transparency in the energy sector was needed in order to prevent secret deals.

The American Ambassador made it clear that Bulgaria’s future Eurozone accession, and the country’s deeper integration within the EU structures was also in the interest of the United States. He expressed his confidence that the fiscal discipline of the current Bulgarian government would lead to Bulgaria’s admission into the ERM II.

Warlick argued for an intensification of the economic relations between the USA and Bulgaria, while reminding that America was the sixth largest foreign investor in the country.

In recommending that Bulgaria focus on the training of IT specialists and developing the IT sector and nanotechnologies, His Excellency went as far as reminding that during the Communist Era Bulgaria was known as the Silicon Valley of the Soviet Bloc. Warlick further advised Bulgaria to stress the development of renewable energy sources.

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Tags: James Warlick, US Ambassador, Russia, energy, natural gas, diversification

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