Balkan leaders meet to support gas project rivaling Russia

AP , Tuesday 3 May 2022

A top European Union official is joining the leaders of four Balkan countries on a tour Tuesday of liquefied natural gas facilities being built in northern Greece to challenge Russia's energy dominance in the region.

European Council meeting
(From L to R) Charles Michel, President of the European Council, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece, Kiril Petkov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria and Aleksandar Vucic, President of Serbia. Photo courtesy of E.U website.


Charles Michel, who heads the European Council, met Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the leaders of Bulgaria, North Macedonia, and non-NATO member Serbia at the Greek port of Alexandroupolis.

An LNG import terminal near the port city is due to start operation next year.

``This is not just an energy project. It will change the energy map of Europe,'' Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said. ``The Balkans is a region of 65 million people, and we can do so much more.''

Russia last week cut off natural gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland over a demand to guarantee payment in rubles, in an escalating dispute triggered by the invasion of Ukraine.

The European Union is racing to secure alternative supplies, placing priority on global LNG imports from countries that include major producers like Algeria, Qatar, and the United States.

Also present at the meetings were North Macedonian Premier Dimitar Kovachevski and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

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