Presidents Rumen Radev and Ilham Aliyev: Energy and transport connectivity is key to tackling the crisis2022-09-30 18:56:00
Gas transmission operators of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia propose to transport an additional 5 bcm of natural gas per year from Azerbaijan to the EU using the gas transmission systems of European countries
Energy resource shortages and disrupted supply chains due to the war in Ukraine are a major generator of inflation and improving energy and transport connectivity in our region is key to tackling the crisis. This was the common position of Presidents Rumen Radev and Ilham Aliyev, who met today in Sofia. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan is on a two-day official visit to Bulgaria at the invitation of the Bulgarian head of State.
The trust in bilateral relations and the active top-level dialogue in recent years are the basis of the strategic partnership between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, Rumen Radev and Ilham Aliyev said. Bulgaria and Azerbaijan will also celebrate 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations.
The Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector, which will be launched on 1 October, gives Bulgaria the opportunity to receive natural gas from Azerbaijan for the first time and changes the energy map of Europe decisively, Radev said. In the Bulgarian President's words, the gas interconnector not only strengthens the strategic partnership between Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, but is also a catalyst for the development of economic cooperation for the whole region of Central and Eastern Europe. The possibility of opening a representative office of the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR in Bulgaria was also discussed.
The two presidents agreed that Azerbaijan's role as a supplier of energy resources to the EU is increasing with the Memorandum of Understanding signed in July this year between the European Commission and Baku, which envisages the gradual increase of natural gas exports from Azerbaijan to the European Union to 20 billion cubic meters by 2027. In this connection, the proposal of the gas transmission operators of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia to transport an additional 5 bcm of natural gas per year from Azerbaijan to the EU using the gas transmission systems of the European countries was discussed, it became clear during the meeting. Thus, in President Radev's words, without waiting for the construction of new infrastructure, gas will reach Central, Western and Southern Europe much faster, cheaper and more securely.
The two also considered the possibility for the large producers of polymers, cement, glass and fertilisers in Bulgaria, which use natural gas, to receive direct supplies from Azerbaijan, which would make them much more competitive. This opens up prospects for developing mutually beneficial cooperation in new areas, expanding economic exchanges and establishing joint production and exports to third markets.
Expansion of bilateral economic exchanges, transport of goods to Europe, as well as cooperation in areas such as information technology, robotics, automotive industry, agriculture and food production were also among the highlights of the meeting.
Rumen Radev pointed to the significant contribution of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation for to the preservation and development of the Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage in Bulgaria's historical and spiritual capital of Veliko Tarnovo.
President Ilham Aliyev was welcomed by President Rumen Radev at an official ceremony in Sofia and paid tribute at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier. The two heads of State held a one-to-one session, followed by plenary talks between the official delegations.