The EU welcomed Tuesday an agreement between Greece and Turkey on the construction of an interconnection between their countries' gas networks to carry natural gas supplies from the Caspian Basin to Turkey, Greece (and, at a later stage, the Balkans) as soon as 2006, IRNA reported from Brussels.
European Commissioner for transport and energy Loyola de Palacio in a statement said the Commission is "particularly pleased at the outcome of these negotiations, which will not only bolster peace and stability in the region but will also make it possible to supply new gas resources from the Caspian Basin and Iran to the internal gas market of the enlarged European Union, and to the Balkans, thus improving security of supply for all stakeholders concerned by this infrastructure."
Acting as facilitator and catalyst in this process, the European Commission had, in 1999, helped set up the first economic cooperation agreement between Greece and Turkey, focusing particularly on interconnecting their national gas networks, said a Commission statement.
In 2000, these intergovernmental agreements made it possible to institute commercial negotiations between the gas companies of the two countries (DEPA in Greece and BOTAS in Turkey).
This was the basis for the Commission to grant 5 million euro in funding under the trans-European energy network programme towards technical and commercial studies for the construction project. The last agreements were finalised in December 2003 following a meeting in Athens between de Palacio and the Greek and Turkish ministers, and after a series of contacts between her and the authorities of the producer countries, leading to confirmation that the work on the construction project should begin as early as 2004.
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