The European Commission on Thursday offered tangible support to the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB) natural gas pipeline project, ruling that Greek and Bulgarian plans for its implementation do not constitute a state subsidy.
By the same token Brussels is banning Greece’s Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and Bulgaria’s BEH from tying down any more than 40 percent of the capacity of the pipeline at the entry points in Bulgaria and Greece respectively.
The measures that Athens and Sofia submitted to the Commission include state resources that fall into the category of state subsidies as Brussels defines it. However, the Commission has deemed them compatible with the idea that the project will contribute to achieving basic strategic targets of the European Union, such as the diversification and the increase in the security of supply of the bloc with natural gas.
The Commission also ruled that the measures are necessary because the pipeline could not have been implemented without financial support, which also does not cause an unjustifiable distortion of competition, as 60 percent or more of the new capacity will be open to rivals of DEPA and BEH.