SOUTH STREAM FOREVER
Representatives of five countries - Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey - met in Budapest on Tuesday, announcing the formation of a working group to facilitate natural gas deliveries - specifically infrastructure development - to their markets from gas emanating from Turkey including possible participation in the Turkish Stream pipeline.
The Greek, Macedonian and Serbian foreign ministers were all in Budapest to meet Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto; the Turkish Minister in charge of regional EU energy affairs was also on hand.
'(We) expressed our support to create a commercially viable option of route and source diversification for delivering natural gas from the Republic of Turkey through the territories of our countries to the countries of Central and South Eastern Europe' reads the joint declaration of the five countries released on Tuesday afternoon.
Countries in the region need to search for new, diversified sources of natural gas in the interests of energy security in the wake of the cancellation of South Stream, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said. Now, he added, the most important energy security question with the pending delivery of Russian gas to Turkey, is attracting other sources of gas into the energy mix.
Szijjarto announced that the group of countries would regularly meet and form a committee of experts for pre preparation of infrastructural developments, dealing with the implementation, financing and fundraising for such projects. He added that these activities should take place transparently.
Foreign Minister Szijjarto mentioned that the involvement of the European Commission might be necessary, as energy security is in the interests of Europe. He said the group's efforts should improve the region's energy security, economic competitiveness and increases the participating countries' cooperation.
The group has pledged to meet again in July and hopes to involve Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
As the cost of a pipeline network for delivering gas in the region could surpass EUR 5 billion, European Commission representatives were also at the meeting in Budapest.
Turkish Minister responsible for EU Affairs, Volkan Bozkir, said that Turkey is ready to take a role in the creation of Europe's energy security, along with securing its own energy needs.
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