Bucharest Summit: Balkans ‘an energy hub’ for Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe

The 7th quadrilateral summit took place at Snagov Palace in Bucharest on Friday between the four heads of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia. The agenda of discussions revolved around financial ties, energy issues and efforts for spurring greater growth in the Balkans.

Romanian Prime Minister Statements

In the joint statement, the Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila reiterated ‘the commitment of Bucharest-Four (B4) states to create a region of prosperity bound together by common European values.’ Further she stressed the importance for attaining these aspirations through ‘interconnectivity in the sector energy.’

Romanian Prime Minister, whose country presides the EU Council, delineated Bucharest’s priorities in European institutions, claiming that progressive accession of Serbia to them is among the leading objectives.

Serbian President Comments

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic welcomed Romania’s resolve to facilitate Belgrade to join European institutions and invited the B4 delegations to contribute towards this cause.

President Vucic also discussed on the importance of establishing natural gas networks that will connect all Balkan states and mentioned infrastructural modernisation efforts in road and highway networks linking the B4 countries plus Northern Macedonia together.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Views

Bulgaria President Boyko Borisov underscored to the importance of IGB pipeline project which would connect Greece with Bulgarian natural gas markets and expressed confidence for its eventual expansion via new pipelines to other Balkan states.

President Borisov lauded Serbia for its reform vigour and acknowledged the importance of Belgrade joining the European family. The Bulgarian President also hailed Romania’s Presidency in the EU for managing an important institution during times of crisis and political disruption, referring to the dynamics of forthcoming European elections in May.

Greek Prime Minister Arguments

For his part, the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made an array of comments with respect to Albania’s decree about progressive usurpation of Greek minority plots in the Himara region.

Further, the Greek Prime Minister argued on the importance of natural gas interconnectivity of Balkan states – a development which will improve the quality and augment the volume of cross-border trade transactions. According to the Greek Prime Minister ‘the Balkans become an important energy hub and redraw the map of Eastern Mediterranean basin and Eastern European region, increasing in concrete terms energy diversification requirements.’ For this reason, developments of the IGB and EastMed pipeline projects with Bulgaria and Cyprus-Israel respectively are of crucial importance to be finalised in due course.

Besides pipeline networks, Prime Minister Tsipras also emphasised the importance of modernising telecommunications and high-speed road networks for facilitating cross-border movement of Balkan people.

The Greek Prime Minister also declared that Greece will host the 8th Quadrilateral Summit in due course.

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