Bulgaria, Austria Unanimous about Need of Energy Diversification of Europe

Bulgaria, Austria
Unanimous about Need
of Energy Diversification of Europe


Sofia, October 30 (BTA) - Bulgaria and Austria are unanimous
about the need of energy diversification of Europe. This shared
position was expressed by the two countries presidents - of
Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev and of Austria Heinz Fischer at a
joint news conference, granted after their meeting on Thursday.
President Fischer is on a two-day visit here at the invitation
of his Bulgarian counterpart Plevneliev.

This serial summit meeting is a proof of the excellent relations
between Bulgaria and Austria and the active dialogue regarding
the issues on the EU agenda, President Plevneliev said. The
Austrian President's visit coincides with the 135th anniversary
of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria
and Austria, marked by the two countries with a series of
events.

The two presidents stressed that both countries support the
construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, which should be
carried out in compliance with the EU legislation and the
requirements of the Third Energy Package. Plevneliev voiced hope
about a fair dialogue between the member states and the new
European Commission, which would authorize the continuation of
the project. Taking a journalist question, he urged for more
active participation of the Russian side in the talks with the
European Commission in order to find a solution of the
disputable issues.

The President also noted that the construction of gas
interconnectors with the neighbouring countries is of strategic
importance for Bulgaria as it will link it with alternative
sources of natural gas. He was adamant that Bulgaria will
continue off-shore gas prospecting in the Black Sea to further
broaden the gas supply options.

The President reiterated that energy efficiency is Bulgaria's
top priority in the energy sector. "Austria is a world leader in
this area and its experience is of significance for Bulgaria,"
he added.

Bulgaria will also use the Austrian experience in improving
electronic services and introducing e-government, said
Plevneliev and noted that the two countries have signed a
cooperation agreement in this area.

The two Heads of State agreed that Bulgaria and Austria can
further expand bilateral economic cooperation.

In the recent years, two-way trade stands at over 1 billion euro
a year and Austrian investment in the 1996-2013 period total 6
billion euro.

President Plevneliev underscored the opportunities for
investment in information and communication technologies, in the
production of components for the automotive industry, in the
outsourcing of services and the modernization of the Bulgarian
transport infrastructure.

He added that an upward trend has been observable in the number
of Austrian tourists in Bulgaria and Bulgarian visitors to
Austria.

The two presidents further discussed the preservation of
Bulgarian Studies as a separate specialty in the Institute of
Slavic Studies at the University of Vienna. Plevneliev said
Bulgaria is ready to support the specialty through scholarships
and programmes of Bulgarian universities. The two governments
are planning to sign a new agreement on cooperation in culture,
education, science and youth.

In the framework of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region,
Bulgaria and Austria will work to establish a "Danube" brand and
promote the Danube Region as a single tourist destination, the
two presidents said.

Fischer expressed Austria's support for Bulgaria's bid to become
a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council between 2018
and 2019.

The two heads of state considered the need for a common EU
refugee policy and for fair distribution of the refugee
management burden between the member states.

The presidents of Bulgaria and Austria are in favour of the EU's
further enlargement. Plevneliev noted that the EU candidate
countries are neighbours to Bulgaria and said that Bulgaria has
an interest in building a region of connectivity, prosperity,
stability and security which upholds EU rules and values.

On Friday, Plevneliev and Fischer will open a Bulgaria-Austria
business forum at the Sofia Hotel Balkan in the capital. The
delegation led by Fischer includes over 50 senior executives of
Austrian companies. /PK/TK, LN, VE/

Source: Sofia