Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 12
By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:
As any other country, which proved itself as an economic and political leader in the region, Azerbaijan is expanding its cooperation with other countries. One of the most promising markets for the country is Europe, where Azerbaijan needs reliable strategic allies.
Hungary is one of these allies. The Declaration on Strategic Partnership, signed during Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's recent visit to Hungary is a clear sign of that.
President Aliyev said that the Declaration on Strategic Partnership is also a great foundation for possible future agreements between the EU and Azerbaijan.
Of course, "Southern Gas Corridor" will be the main project which will connect Azerbaijan and Europe in the coming years. This project will allow Azerbaijan to supply its gas to Europe, while the EU will get the alternative energy supply routes. This will increase its energy security.
"Southern Gas Corridor" is the result of the joint cooperation of producers, transit countries and consumers.
However, President Aliyev said that great coordination work is required to achieve the main goal - gas supplies to Europe in 2018-2019. Hungary's assistance in this issue will be very important.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's statement is significant amid these statements. He said that the relevant infrastructure must be created for the gas supply to Central Europe. The neighboring countries must lay the connecting pipelines between each other.
Hungarian prime minister said that the European Union has done very little in this sphere. He added that Hungary should become a model country and show that it will be able to purchase gas from the neighboring countries.
The prime minister said Hungary has several neighbors which haven't succeeded to create suitable conditions and opportunities in this sphere so far. Without that, Azerbaijani gas will not be able to be transported to Hungary, he said.
Orban urged the neighboring countries and partners in the EU to take necessary steps to create a single energy market.
This statement of Hungarian prime minister is especially relevant in the light of the latest economic developments in Azerbaijani-EU relations.
Recently, the EU announced the start of a more thorough checking of the deal worth of $400 million on acquisition of 66 percent share by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) in a Greek gas transmission system operator.
The EU believes that the deal can lower the competition level in the Greek market.
So, on the one hand, Europe expresses desire to purchase Azerbaijani gas, but on the other hand, it hasn't decided for sure whether to allow Azerbaijan to enter its gas market.
Therefore, the statement made by Orban about the need to take steps to create a single European energy market can be understood as a need to define clearer terms for the suppliers and naturally, guarantees for their investments.
All the more so, the cost of the Southern Gas Corridor project alone is estimated at $45 billion.
Azerbaijani President said that the ongoing economic and financial crisis in the world, in Europe and in the South Caucasus region hasn't ended yet.
The president said that by making such amount of investments under these conditions, Azerbaijan shows its serious intentions and political will.
It seems like it is time for Europe to show the seriousness of its intentions and political will.
Seba Aghayeva is deputy head of Trend Azerbaijan News Service
Time for Europe to show seriousness of its intentions
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 12