Balkans join EU energy code

Eight Balkan countries will join forces in Athens with the European Union today to establish a single regulatory framework for transporting energy in Southeastern Europe, in a bid to advance the region’s position on the world power map. A treaty will be signed by British Trade and Industry Minister Alan Johnson on behalf of the EU and by ministers from Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and Turkey. It will help ensure that countries in the region adopt EU single market regulations on energy regarding petrol, natural gas and electricity markets. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas described the treaty, which Greece will also sign, as an historic agreement that will help unify the energy sectors. «The signing of this treaty creates new conditions for the economy, peace, stability and security in the wider region,» Sioufas said. The treaty also aims at creating a stable regulatory environment that will boost energy investment in the region. The World Bank has estimated that 21 billion euros will be poured into energy investments in the region because of the pact. The unification process has also drawn the interest of countries that are not directly part of it. According to the Development Ministry, the United States and Canada have also given financial support to the treaty. Greece has played a central role in the issue as the country pushes ahead with plans to develop its link with different energy grids. Apart from agreeing to run a natural gas pipeline from Turkey to Greece, which will then go on to Italy, the government has also signed a deal for a pipeline to carry Russian oil through Bulgaria to northern Greece.