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Greece-Bulgaria gas inter-connector a 'priority', Bulgarian PM says

Greece-Bulgaria gas inter-connector a 'priority', Bulgarian PM says
Sofia, May 31, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

Bulgaria's Cabinet is highly focused building gas inter-connector pipelines with neighbouring countries, with a special emphasis on the link to Greece, which is part of Sofia's strategy to diversify gas supply sources and delivery routes, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said on May 31 after meeting Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.

"This is a strategically important project not just for Bulgaria and Greece, but the entire South-Eastern Europe region," Borissov said, as quoted in a Cabinet media statement. Kotzias is in Bulgaria for the annual meeting of the Regional Cooperation Council, hosted by Bulgaria, which holds the rotating presidency of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

Borissov said that his government's commitment to the gas inter-connector could be seen in the state budget guarantees granted by the government, which stood at 80 million euro in 2015 and 110 million euro in 2016.

Bulgaria and Greece signed a final investment decision on the inter-connector pipeline in 2015, which has paved the way for construction work, with the estimated completion date currently at mid-2018.

Other topics discussed by Borissov and Kotzias included the measures taken by the two countries to deal with the large migrant flow towards the European Union, as well as the similar problems faced by the two countries, which act as outer borders of the EU.

Borissov said that Bulgaria would continue to offer support and solidarity with the countries affected the worst by the migration crisis, as evidenced by the humanitarian aid Sofia sent to Greece, Hungary and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, according to the government statement. He said that the pressure on the Bulgarian-Greek border has alleviated over the past year thanks to joint efforts within the framework of the customs and police co-operation agreement signed by Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey in May 2015.

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