Bulgaria could be ‘backbone of a stable prosperous region’ – Barroso

Recalling that in 2008 he had said that Bulgaria could be the backbone of a stable prosperous region, European Commission President Jose Barroso told journalists in Brussels on February 23 2010: “I believe this is truer than ever before”.

Speaking after meeting Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov, Barroso said: “As we face the most significant economic crisis in our generation, Bulgaria’s European commitment and perspective is crucial”.

Barroso thanked Purvanov for being one of the first leaders to inspire the European 2020 debate.

The European Commission was currently preparing its proposals for the spring European Council which will be based around the three key priorities of smart growth, green growth and inclusive growth.

“We put innovation, we put energy, we put employment at the centre of the European economy,” Barroso said.

He said that he and Purvanov had discussed how the 2020 strategy could be applied to Bulgaria.

“We have specifically discussed energy security and solidarity where I believe Bulgaria has an important contribution to give also to the European Union,” Barroso said.

“We take this concept of solidarity extremely seriously, as we have shown during the most recent Russia-Ukraine gas crisis. We are now taking structural action at the European Union level for energy security and energy diversification. I know how committed Bulgaria is to this agenda.”

Barroso said that in the coming weeks, the Commission would support 44 major energy infrastructure projects in the second batch of the European economic recovery plan.

He said that 2.3 billion euro would be granted to 32 gas and 12 electricity projects in the EU over the next 12 months.

Bulgaria would be among those to benefit with the support of projects for reverse flow and the Nabucco project to diversify gas imports.

“I discussed the issue with President Purvanov about some ideas he has and we have agreed to remain in touch also through the services of the Commission and the Bulgarian authorities,” Barroso said.

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