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EU energy ministers meet in Brussels to discuss further development of gas markets

Brussels, 9 December 2014 – At a working lunch organised as part of today’s TTE meeting in Brussels and hosted by a European Commission Vice-President, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Greece voiced their support for the Commission’s strong commitment and efforts to facilitate the development of the Central and South-Eastern European gas markets. The Commission is planning to set up a high-level working group to monitor the development of gas infrastructure in the region.

This year’s stress tests demonstrated the high vulnerability of Central and South-Eastern Europe to potential interruptions in Russian gas supply; therefore, additional efforts are required to set up the necessary pipelines and diversify gas supplies in these regions. In the discussion, Slovenia drew attention to the more extensive use of existing mechanisms, i.e. projects of common interest and the Connecting Europe Facility.

 

At the working lunch, the participants also touched upon the South Stream project and exchanged views on the recent announcement by Russia to stop the project. The ministers took note that none of the Member States that are parties to a relevant bilateral agreement with Russia had been officially informed of this. The Member States invited the Vice-President to seek to clarify the situation related to the media announcement with the Russian side. Slovenia will take the opportunity to discuss this issue with the Russian side at the session of the intergovernmental Slovenian-Russian Commission, which will be held on 17 December 2014 in Ljubljana. Slovenia is in favour of continued coordination among the countries along the route if necessary.
 
It should be noted that putting an end to the South Stream project will have no effect on Slovenian gas supply. The requirements for carrying out the project in Slovenian territory – particularly in terms of obtaining the necessary exemptions from the European Commission – have been known since 2009 and included in the bilateral agreement in question. The decision to cancel the project is most likely linked to the current situation in the European and world energy markets.