Disaster-hit Serbia asks EU for assist

Belgrade is in search of help to deal with the power disaster

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Saturday requested the EU to offer monetary assist to the Balkan nations amid the continued power disaster, which has been exacerbated by the bloc’s sanctions on Moscow and a pointy lower in Russia’s gasoline provides.

You are reading: Disaster-hit Serbia asks EU for assist

Talking in Sofia on the opening ceremony of the Greece-Bulgaria gasoline pipeline, Vucic addressed European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen instantly, since she was within the viewers.

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“We’re grateful to your assist throughout the [Covid-19] disaster, however so far as cash is anxious, we can’t cowl the gasoline prices now. Please put our Balkan international locations on the listing with EU international locations,” stated the Serbian president.

Talking concerning the want for quick diversification of power sources, Vucic emphasised the significance of the brand new pipeline, which can give his nation, together with Bulgaria and Romania, entry to gasoline provides from Azerbaijan.

He confused that when the undertaking was launched no person knew “how vital it might turn into.” The president additionally expressed hope that subsequent yr his nation would have the ability to launch a Bulgaria-Serbia interconnector.

Vucic is thought for his gloomy forecasts concerning the power disaster. Though Serbia just isn’t an EU member state, the nation’s power provides transit by way of international locations which might be, which means that sanctions imposed by the bloc on Russia instantly have an effect on it. Regardless of Serbia’s EU ambitions, Vucic has been opposing sanctions on Moscow, and has made it clear that his nation would proceed to depend on power from Russia. In September, nevertheless, the Serbian president warned of a “very chilly” winter this yr and stated that the following one “can be polar for all of Europe.”

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Von der Leyen, who additionally spoke at Saturday’s ceremony, sounded extra optimistic. She known as the Greece-Bulgaria pipeline “a sport changer” for Europe’s power safety, and stated that “it means freedom from dependency on Russian gasoline.”

The pinnacle of the European Fee additionally provided reassurances that “Europe could have sufficient gasoline for winter.” This turned doable, she stated, owing to tasks equivalent to the brand new Greece-Bulgaria pipeline, and likewise thanks to assist from Norway, the US, Algeria, and different international locations.

Nevertheless, the EU’s power officers appear to carry a view nearer to Vucic’s. On Friday, EU Commissioner for Power Kadri Simson warned that “this is not going to be a simple winter for us, and the following winter can be much more tough.”


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