Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány called for the European Union to put €200 million - €300 million toward the cost of building the Nabucco gas pipeline, and for the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to support the project with loans, speaking at an international summit on the pipeline in Budapest.
The Nabucco pipeline would deliver gas from Central Asia to Europe, reducing the region's energy dependence on Russia.
The energy supply “iron curtain” between Eastern and Western Europe must be dismantled, Gyurcsány said. We have to end the supply bottleneck between the regions and build pipelines that will secure the supply in Central Europe, he added.
The Nabucco conference could not have been called at a better time, considering the enormous economic damage done by the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine, Gyurcsány said. Europe has understood that a joint effort is needed to compensate for these damages, he said.
Europe has to take a new approach to countries that could supply the Nabucco pipeline, Gyurcsány said. It has to be taken into account that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have ambitious goals, not just to deliver gas to Europe. These suppliers expect a strategic partnership, they want a transfer of technology, support for research and development, and European perspective, he added.
Heads of state and high officials from twelve countries, as well as the chiefs of several international organizations are participating at the conference. The aim of the summit is for participants to confirm their commitment and to prepare advance financing for the project which, according to the latest estimates, is expected to cost €9 billion - €10 billion.
The construction of the 3,300-kilometer Nabucco pipeline could start in 2009 or 2010 and be completed in 2013. (MTI – Econews)