Serbian President Backs South Stream Pipeline
The President of Serbia has given his public backing to the South Stream pipeline. Tomislav Nikoli, Serbian President since May 2012, gave the infrastructure project his vocal support during a two day trip to Bulgaria.
"The South Stream pipeline will create huge opportunities for Eastern Europe," said Mr Nikoli during his official visit.
"The construction alone will be vital in creating jobs, besides the income generated by transit fees. In Serbia alone, there will be $1.9 billion invested in the project, which will have a substantial impact on the Serbian economy."
The President dismissed theories that the pipeline will lead to greater dependence on Russian gas.
"We will not be dependent on Russia. South Stream will provide security of supply and will enable our businesses to supply other markets and countries.France is a consumer of Russian gas, but no one wonders about their dependency on Russia. This is about ensuring that consumers get cheap gas, not nationalist politics. This is a fantastic opportunity for Bulgaria, Serbia, and every other country involved in the pipeline."
In July, the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ivica Dačić, also gave rapid development his support. At a conference in Belgrade, he said
"South Stream is the most important international project that Serbia is currently involved in and will be key to the country's economic development, ensuring job creation, and energy security for the region.
"We will ensure that there is maximum protection for the environment, and are confident that we have the necessary regulation in place to ensure the highest possible standards. Furthermore, our objective is to ensure energy sector supply and develop our partnership with Russia."
As a major infrastructure project, South Stream will help connect the East and the West, is an important step towards economic growth, and will help to break down cultural and social boundaries. The South Stream pipeline will bring gas from Russia, crossing the Black Sea and emerging at Varna on the Bulgarian coast. From there, it will travel through Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, and supply the intensive manufacturing industries of northern Italy.
The total length of the gas transmission system will account for 2,446 kilometers. According to the consensus forecast by the world's leading forecast centers, Europe's annual demand for additional gas import may reach 80 billion cubic meters by 2020 and surpass 140 billion cubic meters by 2030.