Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said on May 3 that he expects the Kremlin’s economic blackmail to fail after a free and democratic Europe responds by demonstrating its unity.
Petkov said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the unprecedented pressure being exerted by Russia by cutting off gas supplies could only be opposed together.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the floating liquefied natural gas terminal in Alexandroupolis in Greece, at a ceremony attended by European Council President Charles Michel, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and North Macedonia’s PM Dimitar Kovačevski.
Petkov described the new floating LNG terminal as “not only an energy, but also a geopolitical project that will change the energy map of the whole region”.
Mitsotakis said: “Together we can overcome the difficulties created by Russia”.
He said that the first step in this direction is the independent gas system in Alexandroupolis.
Russian gas in Europe would soon be replaced by supplies from other sources, the Greek PM said.
Michel told the ceremony: “Russia’s war in Ukraine is a moment of urgency – a moment of truth – for the European Union.
“We must build our European sovereignty. We must be more strategic. And we must forge our new energy independence. And now it’s clear for all to see. That’s exactly what you are doing and exactly what we are doing together,” Michel said.
“I firmly believe we are seeing a new dawn for European energy independence. And we see clear evidence of that new future here today in this city with this new LNG terminal,” he said.
“This is a very strong and positive step for our common political project because it will help to diversify our gas supply, to bolster our energy infrastructure and to phase out our dependence on Russian fossil fuels,” Michel said.
The project clearly was contributing to the EU’s security of energy supply and also to its long-term climate change goals, he said.
He said that the new LNG terminal “reflects what we need to do more of”.
It would provide security of supply to Greece, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Serbia, and other countries in the region, Michel said.
He said that the terminal also builds on existing or planned key gas infrastructure projects in the region – with support from the EU.
“It will help to free south-east Europe from the weaponisation of gas supply by Russia,” Michel said.
He said that the LNG terminal would “also drive forward our long-term climate goals because it is capable of switching to hydrogen as the technology evolves”.
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