Fifth CESEC meeting: important milestones reached in energy projects in Central and South-Eastern European Countries
Launch of construction works on the Bulgaria-Greece gas Interconnector
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and Energy Ministers and representatives from 9 EU Member States and 8 Energy Community Contracting Parties participated in the fifth CESEC High Level Group Ministerial in Sofia on 29 June, and discussed the next steps of their enhanced regional cooperation in all energy-related matters. Cooperation under the Commission Initiative on Central and South-Eastern European Energy Connectivity (CESEC), launched in 2015, aims to strengthen solidarity and enable a safer energy supply for citizens and businesses across the region in the field of gas, electricity, renewables and energy efficiency.
The meeting witnessed the signature ceremony for the start of investment and works for the Greece-Bulgaria Interconnector. This infrastructure link, a CESEC priority project, will be an important contribution to a well-functioning gas market and will enhance security of gas supply in the entire region. When completed in 2020, it will be bring additional sources of gas to the South-East European region, notably Caspian gas through the future Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and Liquefied Natural Gas from Greece. The Greece-Bulgria Interconnector is a Project of Common Interest and has received €85 million in EU funds to date.
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañetesaid:
The high level political commitment we have witnessed today, for instance with the signature launching the start of construction works on the Bulgaria-Greece gas Interconnector, shows that the EU is serious about completing the energy infrastructure the region needs. Today’s meeting shows that we can cooperate very closely on issues of strategic importance and help the region seize the opportunities of the ongoing energy transition. Tapping into the potential of renewables and energy efficiency will not only promote competition and lower prices, but also decarbonise the region's economies.
Participants also took part in a symbolic ceremony for the start of construction works on the Romanian section of the Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria (BRUA) transmission system project.
In 2014 the Commission's ‘stress tests' revealed a region extremely vulnerable to a cut in gas supply by its largest, and often sole, supplier. Moreover, consumers have historically paid significantly more for their gas in this region compared to Central Western Europe. To solve these problems, the Commission launched the CESEC Initiative in 2015, with the aim of guaranteeing that all countries in Central and South Eastern Europe (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) have access to a more varied mix of energy sources, and are properly interconnected to the rest of Europe. CESEC has proven instrumental in the process of integrating the region's gas markets and has thus become a central channel for further consolidation across the energy sector.
The CESEC ongoing priority gas projects are: the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (gas pipeline from Greece to Italy via Albania and the Adriatic sea); the Interconnector between Greece and Bulgaria; the Interconnector between Bulgaria and Serbia; the reinforcement of the Bulgarian transmission system; the reinforcement of the Romanian transmission system (part of the "BRUA" corridor); the LNG terminal in Krk, Croatia; and the LNG evacuation system towards Hungary. Other possible projects include: a connection of off-shore Romanian gas to the Romanian grid and enhancement of the national system; a new Greek LNG terminal; and the interconnection between Croatia and Serbia.
In September 2017, meeting in Bucharest, Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding which extended CESEC cooperation to electricity markets, energy efficiency and renewable development.