Southeastern Europe Remains Unprepared for Possible Energy Crisis, Observers Say
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region remain unprepared to respond adequately to a possible energy crisis as the conflict in Eastern Ukraine goes on. The conclusion was drawn Monday at a conference on "Energy Security and State Capture Risks in Europe," hosted by the Sofia-based Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD).
Opening the conference, Bulgarian Defence Minister Velizar Shalamanov pointed to a direct link between energy supplies and national security, which is due to the fact that both of these areas are dependent on external factors. Shalamanov said Bulgaria imports natural gas exclusively from Russia, which is a form of dependence similar to the dependence resulting from the continuing failure of the Bulgarian Air Force to replace its Russian fighters with other aircraft after more than 10 years of talks.
Michael Ruhle, Head of the Energy Security Section in NATO's International Staff, said the crisis in Ukraine has brought home the understanding that geographical location is essential for energy security and gas pipelines mean economic and political power. Ruhle said that besides the military solidarity epitomized by NATO, it is necessary to have energy solidarity in the EU.