EU should increase funding of energy infrastructure - PM Sobotka


15.05.2014 12:21

Bratislava - The European Union should look for ways to increase the volume of funding it provides to co-finance important energy infrastructure from its budget, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslave Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said at international conference Globsec in Bratislava today.


Slovenský premiér Robert Fico (vlevo) a český premiér Bohuslav Sobotka se zúčastnili 15. května v Bratislavě mezinárodní konference Globsec. ČTK Koller Jan

Energy security was a topic discussed by prime ministers of Visegrad Group countries at the Globsec conference today. The group comprises the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary.

The prime ministers agreed that it is necessary to secure better interconnection of European markets, above all of the markets for gas, and reduce dependence on Russia.

The EU has a list of projects of international importance, for which co-financing mechanisms could be looked for, according to Sobotka.

Sufficient co-funding from the EU could motivate private investors to participate in building energy infrastructure, Sobotka said.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said energy security is an absolute priority for the Visegrad Group.

The individual states must work on technical measures which will extend the possibilities of the so-called reversed flow, according to Fico. If a country lacks gas, a neighbouring state can help it thanks to the reverse flow, although gas flows in an apposite direction under normal circumstances, Fico said.

Fico also mentioned the importance of gas interconnection on the North-South axis running through Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

Czech and Slovak prime ministers welcome the efforts of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to create en energy union in the EU, which would ensure energy security to its member states. Now it is necessary to negotiate the specific steps that would lead to the the creation of the union, Sobotka and Fico said.

Tusk started to promote strongly the establishment of the energy union in April in reaction to the crisis in Ukraine, and the steps Moscow took in the crisis.

Russia is an important supplier of gas and oil to the EU, and could use its monopoly in export of these commodities as a lever to exert pressure, Tusk said.

He also stressed today that Russia uses gas price as a political tool. But gas paradoxically means more for Russia than for European countries, which buy the commodity, Tusk added.

Sobotka mentioned the importance of building terminals for liquefied natural gas at the conference.

"The goal is to have the ability to import gas from new territories and integrate the regional market for gas," Sobotka said.

Moreover, oil infrastructure and market for electricity should also become interconnected, he added.

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