EU member states should be provided with more flexibility to act in their own domestic energy markets and mitigate the effects of the energy crisis, said Greek Alternate Foreign Minister for European issues Miltiadis Varvitsiotis after meeting his counterparts of Bulgaria and Romania in Athens on Thursday.
Each country should be able to use the right tools and intervene in the domestic market according to its own energy mix, he noted.
Varvitsiotis met with Bulgaria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vasil Georgiev and Romania’s Deputy Foreign Minister Daniela Grigore Gitman, holding the meeting at his own initiative.
As the Greek minister noted, “We do not want our citizens to pay a high price on this energy crisis. We do not want to face dilemmas such as peace vs an increase in gas prices or cheap energy vs green energy. We want to have cheap, green and peaceful energy sources.”
Furthermore, he added that “we are committed to disengaging from Russian energy resources in the framework of the European Union. This should happen naturally, in the optimal way, without affecting the lives of our citizens.” He added that Greece is committed to supporting Bulgaria’s and Romania’s accession to the Schengen Area.
Romania’s Gitman supported the need for energy independence from Russian natural gas. Stability and security in the Western Balkans are of strategic importance to Europe and its society, noted Gitman, and she added that “Europe is not complete without the Western Balkans.” She also underlined the importance of Greek energy projects in Alexandroupolis for the entire region’s energy security. At the trilateral meeting, they discussed how to improve collaboration “to transform and boost the deterrence and defense in NATO’s eastern flank,” she said.
Georgiev pointed out that security in the region should uniform: “We cannot not have security in Ukraine and the Russian border and have security in the southeastern Mediterranean, and similarly we cannot not have security in the southeastern Mediterranean and have security in the Western Balkans.” It is key to face the new challenges resulting from the war in Ukraine jointly, he said, adding that Bulgaria is working hard for the accession of the Western Balkans to the European Union, and will support all countries to do so, “as long as they fulfil certain obligations.”