Budapest (MTI) – Cooperation between central and southeast European nations will increase energy security and the competitiveness of all involved, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s foreign minister, said on Tuesday.
Szijjarto hosted his Greek, Macedonian and Serbian counterparts as well as the Turkish minister of EU affairs in Budapest for a discussion of efforts to boost cooperation in energy supply.
The participants agreed to hold regular meetings and set up an expert working committee to pave the way for infrastructure development projects. The committee will focus on implementation, funding and pricing and guarantee that cooperation should remain open to other countries as well, he told a press conference, adding that the committee would start to work without delay.
It was agreed that the next ministerial meeting would be held in July, and that Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina would be welcomed to join the cooperation scheme, he said.
The ministers agreed on the need of major infrastructure projects so as to guarantee energy security for the region. Gas supplies need to be diversified, with suppliers competing for consumers, he added.
Ivica Dacic of Serbia said the participating countries have now officially expressed their dedication to infrastructure projects to boost energy security. He said the countries concerned should conduct a dialogue with Russia and the European Commission as well.
Nikola Poposki of Macedonia said the region needs more energy and supplies must be made more competitive. He welcomed that the European Commission was represented by an observer in the meeting.
Nikos Kotzias of Greece argued for the importance of alternative routes for energy supplies.
Volkan Bozkir of Turkey said Turkey covers 70 percent of its energy demand from import. Further, it is an important transit country prepared to help enhance Europe’s energy security, he said.
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