PM Borissov Confers with Serbian President Vucic

Sofia, June 1 (BTA) - Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic Monday
arrived 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

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

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). RI/LG, ZH

Source: Sofia