New Pipeline Seen In Bulgaria As 'Freedom' From Russian Gas Imports
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who was in Sofia for the occasion, said the Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria pipeline would help limit Moscow's ability to pressure European Union members and other countries.
The commissioning event was hosted by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and was attended Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, as well as the presidents of Serbia and North Macedonia. Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Chuka also attended.
"People in Bulgaria and across Europe are feeling the consequences of Russia's war [against Ukraine]," von der Leyen said. "But thanks to projects like this, Europe will have enough gas for the winter."
"Europe has everything it needs to break free from our dependency on Russia," she added. "It is a matter of political will."
The 182-kilometer pipeline connects to the Trans-Adriatic pipeline, which supplies natural gas from Azerbaijan. It is initially projected to provide up to 3 billion cubic meters of gas annually, but could be expanded to up to 5 billion cubic meters in the future.
"Natural gas supplies from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria will break the strong grip of Russian gas on the region," Mitsotakis said. He urged the EU to stand up against "Russian gas blackmail."