Talks between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice president responsible for Energy Union, at a meeting in Athens yesterday, primarily focused on Greece’s prospective role as a key energy hub and gateway for new gas entering Europe from the Caspian region, the visiting official told reporters afterwards.
Sefcovic, who is touring European capitals to check on the energy union progress of EU member states, reiterated the European Commission’s full support for the development of both the TAP and Greek-Bulgarian IGB natural gas pipeline projects.
Tsipras told the visiting official that Greece is playing a crucial role in the regional energy sector’s future as a result of the country’s geographical position, while also making note of the effort being made by Athens to utilize opportunities such as that of the prospective TAP natural gas pipeline.
Construction work on the Greek segment of this infrastructure project, to bring new gas to Europe via Greece’s north, Albania and Italy, is scheduled to officially commence in May. A ceremony is planned to take place in Thessaloniki to mark the start.
In an exclusive comment to the Athens News Agency, the European Commission’s vice president said Greece is making satisfactory progress on energy efficiency objectives set as part of the EU’s wider drive towards energy union.
The visiting official said he offered encouragement to Athens to continue pursuing reforms in the energy sector, while adding that he will contribute to an effort for Greece to utilize EU structural funds for investments in energy efficiency projects.
The Commission’s vice president noted that he and Greek partners are looking for ways to boost Greece’s level of innovation, growth, and competitiveness, which, he added, would offer benefits to the Greek economy, citizens and the integrated European energy market.