V4 ministers for energy issues agreed in Bratislava yesterday to move forward with the north-south gas pipeline, which will mean an uninterrupted pipeline stretching all the way from north Poland to Croatia.
After the meeting, Slovak economy minister Juraj Miskov reiterated how Slovakia regarded the construction of the north-south gas pipeline as one of the most crucial projects for energy security in Europe and for boosting competition on national markets.
The pipeline will produce greater diversification of routes and gas sources, and so provide countries like Slovakia (but also the whole of Europe) with greater energy security in the case of an outage of gas supplies from Russia, for instance.
Minister Miskov signed the agreement with his counterparts Martin Kocourek (Czech R.), Pal Kovacs (Hungary) and Waldemar Pawlak (Poland). The agreement should improve the level of co-operation and the priority given to pushing mutually-beneficial energy projects forward.
Slovak gas transmission company Eustream already signed a Letter of Intent with the Polish transmission system operator GAZ-System S.A. two weeks ago, and it has already called for expressions of interest (Open Season) in the capacity of the planned gas interconnector with Hungary.
The north-south gas artery is regarded as highly strategic by the European Commission, and so it has already earmarked EUR 30 million for the project. The working group set up by the V4 countries to deal with the issue will now head to a special session of the European Commission on 3 February to lobby for its full support.
On Friday this week Prime Minister Iveta Radicova will meet with her Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban and sign a bilateral treaty on the gas interconnector between the two countries.