Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov, meeting Nabucco managing director Reinhard Mitschek in Vienna on November 23 2010, has reaffirmed his country's support for the gas pipeline project, saying that it would help achieve diversification of gas supplies to Bulgaria and reduce the country's energy dependence. Nabucco was an essential element of the Southern Corridor and had been approved by the European Commission as a priority European project, key to the security of gas supplies for the entire continent, Mladenov said, quoted in a Foreign Ministry media statement. Mitschek said that Nabucco would make a very large contribution to the energy security of Bulgaria. He thanked Mladenov for Bulgaria's support and "very good cooperation" which would ensure that the project is carried out in good time. An intergovernmental agreement between the countries participating in the gas pipeline project was signed in July 2009 and was ratified by Bulgaria's Parliament in February 2010. Nabucco will directly connect the world's richest gas regions - the Caspian region and the Middle East, to European consumer markets. The pipeline will link the Eastern border of Turkey, to Baumgarten in Austria - one of the most important gas hubs in Central Europe - via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. Nabucco's shareholders are Bulgarian Energy Holding, Botas (Turkey), MOL (Hungary), OMV (Austria), RWE (Germany) and Transgaz (Romania), Each shareholder holds an equal share of 16.67 per cent of Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH.