Von der Leyen cheers at the ceremony: New pipeline frees Bulgaria from Russian natural gas

At the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Bulgaria is almost completely dependent on Russian natural gas.

Von der Leyen cheers at the ceremony: New pipeline frees Bulgaria from Russian natural gas

At the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Bulgaria is almost completely dependent on Russian natural gas. A good seven months later, the country celebrates its complete independence from Russia. A new pipeline connects it to Greece, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Bulgaria and Greece have launched a new natural gas pipeline, important for the EU's independence from Russia. "Today marks the beginning of a new era for Bulgaria and Southeast Europe," said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the Bulgarian capital Sofia at the inauguration of the pipeline. The project means "freedom from dependence on Russian gas," she emphasized at the ceremony.

The 182-kilometer gas pipeline runs between the northern Greek city of Komotini and the central Bulgarian town of Stara Zagora. According to von der Leyens, the European Union has supported her with a total of 250 million euros since the project began in 2009. The pipeline has a capacity of three to five billion cubic meters of gas per year and connects Bulgaria to the Trans Adria Pipeline (Tap). This routes natural gas from Azerbaijan via Turkey to Greece and on to Italy.

The new connection can cover all of Bulgaria's gas consumption, emphasized von der Leyen at the inauguration. She reminded that before Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, Bulgaria was almost entirely dependent on Russian natural gas. "Through strategic cooperation between Bulgaria and Greece, we can achieve stability in the region," said Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.

The inauguration in Sofia was also attended by the Presidents of Azerbaijan, North Macedonia and Serbia - Ilham Aliyev, Stevo Pendarovski and Aleksandar Vucic - as well as the Prime Ministers of Greece and Romania, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Nicolae Ciuca. Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis praised the "broader geopolitical sense" of the inauguration. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reiterated that his country would cooperate with the European Union in the long term. This not only involves deliveries of natural gas, but also of electricity from renewable sources in the future. Gas supplies from Azerbaijan to the EU are to be doubled by 2027.

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