The cooperation between the governments of Greece and Bulgaria over the last years is at the core of the success of this project, the IGB gas interconnector pipeline, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Saturday in his greeting at the ceremony for the commercial operation of the pipeline.

The IGB pipeline will transport natural gas from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria through Greece and combined with infrastructure projects already underway will contribute to the creation of a reliable natural gas network, the prime minister said.

An energy bridge brings Greece and Bulgaria closer together and drastically changes the situation in the region, he underlined.

The prime minister also said that the start of commercial operation of the IGB pipeline is a great moment not only for South-Eastern Europe but also for Europe in general as this pipeline will significantly change the supply and security of energy for everyone in Europe.

He also expressed the hope that there will be a European solution to the issue of the energy crisis at the next meetings of the European Union in Prague and Brussels.
“As it was the case with the pandemic, we should implement a common strategy to deal with the energy crisis. We put European solidarity above national interests, Greece will always support this position and the efforts of the European Commission,” Mitsotakis underlined.

Need to adopt proposal for a ceiling on natural gas

Mitsotakis insisted on the need to adopt the proposal of the 15 member countries of the European Union to impose a ceiling on natural gas, in the statement he made upon his arrival at the ceremony.

“We have been discussing for many months about the issue of the ceiling on natural gas. This discussion has matured, 15 countries have supported this initiative and I believe that the time has come for the European Commission to move faster, to submit specific proposals so that we can now – at the latest at the regular EU summit in Brussels – take final decisions,” the prime minister said and added: “It is unthinkable at this moment that there is no European solidarity and that there are countries that follow an autonomous policy of supporting their own societies, just because they have the economic and fiscal capacity to do so. Europe must demonstrate that it can rise to the occasion and demonstrate the necessary European solidarity when faced with an existential economic crisis.”

“I want to express my great satisfaction for the fact that a very important energy interconnection project has now officially been completed,” he said and stressed: “The IGB pipeline, which connects the natural gas systems of Greece and Bulgaria will enable Bulgaria to expand its natural gas supply sources, but at the same time it strengthens Greece’s position as an important geostrategic, geopolitical player in the wider regional energy map.

The overall investments that Greece is making in Alexandroupoli demonstrate this city as a new alternative source of energy input – in the first phase of liquefied natural gas – to meet not only the needs of Greece, the needs of the Balkans, but also the needs of the central Europe.

At a time when Russia is using natural gas as a weapon, more cooperation between countries is needed to disable this clear threat attempt, which is ultimately directed against all European citizens. However, even more European cooperation is needed, similar to that which the Balkan states have demonstrated.

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