PM Borissov Confers with Serbian President Vucic
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic Mondayarrived on a one-day visit here at the invitation of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, the Bulgarian Government Information Service said.
Borissov welcomed the guest at Sofia Airport, where the two conferred before leaving on a joint inspection by helicopter of the progress of construction of the Evropa Motorway and the
Balkan Stream gas pipeline.
"The construction of the Evropa Motorway is important not only for our two countries but is also key to the goods traffic between Europe and Asia," Borissov said. He noted the progress made on the 17 km motorway section between Dragoman and Slivnitsa. "We are working hard, and I expect 17 km of the motorway between Sofia and the Serbian border to be ready by the end of the year."
Thirty kilometres of the 48 km Evropa Motorway, which links the Kalotina Border Checkpoint with Sofia's Ring Road as part of Pan-European Transport Corridor X (Salzburg-Belgrade-Nis-Sofia-Plovdiv-Istanbul), are now under construction.
The PM also familiarized Vucic with the progress of the Balkan Stream project. The gas pipeline will cross eleven administrative regions in Bulgaria. "The project is exceedingly
important for the energy security of the entire Balkan region," Borissov pointed out.
The 474 km long Bulgarian branch of the TurkStream natural-gas pipeline runs from this country's border with Turkey to the border with Serbia. It will be complete with two compressor
stations, at Rasovo and Nova Provadia. Pipes have been laid along 271 km of the route, and 151 km of them have been welded. A total of 324 km of pipes have been transported to temporary construction sites, and another 133 km have arrived at the Port of Bourgas.
On board a helicopter Borissov and Vucic inspected the construction of the Evropa Motorway and of the Balkan Stream project. Borissov said, quoted by the government's information
service, that everything in the two projects is done according to the EU rules.
The two officials also visited the Chiren gas storage facility whose active capacity is 550 million cu m of gas.
Borissov and Vucic then inspected in situ the work on the gas project in the area of the town of Letnitsa, North Central Bulgaria. There they were accompanied by BulgarTransGas
Executive Director Vladimir Malinov who said that nearly 70 archaeological sites were uncovered along the route of the pipeline.
Speaking to reporters, Vucic said that the construction of the Balkan Stream pipeline is of key and substantial importance for Bulgaria and Serbia. For both countries the implementation of the project means economic growth, industrial growth and availability of one of the most important energy sources.
The guest thanked Borissov for succeeding in bringing the bilateral relations to such a level.
Borissov said that irrespective of the coronavirus situation, the work on the Evropa Motorway and the Balkan Stream pipeline did not stop. "This entire ring between Alexandroupolis [in
Greece], Turkey, Balkan Stream, and Serbia provides total diversification for Bulgaria as well as Serbia. The pipeline can carry Russian, American, Tatar, Saudi and Israeli gas. The
pipes can be filled as soon as they are ready. We work in a fair and honest way, with the exclusive aid from the EU, and complying with absolutely all requirements of the EU third
energy liberalized package, applauded by Washington, Moscow, Ankara and as far as Belgrade. This is a wholly Bulgarian investment," Borissov said.
Asked about the chance of the project being implemented in reality, given that several months after a visit of Borissov to Washington, the United States Department of State is still
noting that the transfer via Bulgaria of Russian gas poses risks, Borissov said that the project of the Balkan Stream together with the Balkan gas hub has been planned with the
European Commission. The PM said that only a few days ago, BulgarTransGas received six million euros more for a gas link with Nis. Furthermore, the pipeline will carry Russian gas and also "half of the liquefied gas, plus gas from Azerbaijan", he said, adding that it is not by chance that after talks between Bulgaria and Gazprom the price of the Russian gas was reduced by
42 per cent.
After the inspection of the two construction projects, the Bulgarian Prime Minister and the Serbian President continued their discussion of topics of mutual interest over a working lunch in Veliko Turnovo (North Central Bulgaria).