Borissov, Vucic inspect Balkan Stream gas pipeline

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic inspected the Balkan Stream gas pipeline in its Letnitsa section on Monday. “What I know is that there are no wars where there are gas pipelines,” PM Borissov said. He underscored the fact that Balkan Stream is planned to transit natural gas from different sources, which will contribute to diversifying supplies for the region.

By the end of June, all pipes are scheduled to be laid out along the route of the pipeline, which is 474km (295mi) long and divided into ten sections that are currently being worked on.

Close to 70 archaeological sites, and counting, have been uncovered during construction works. About BGN 18m has been spent in archaeological expenses so far. More than BGN 1.8m has been paid to compensate farmers for having to give up land ownership in right-of-way sales, with the sum expected to reach BGN 5-6m by the time the project is completed. Over 1,600 people are working on the pipeline, while 480 more are currently quarantining and will be doing so for 10 more days at the most. In July and August, when construction works are projected to ramp up to their highest pace, 3,500 people and 1,500 units of machinery will be involved in the process.

Balkan Stream is of significant importance to both Bulgaria and Serbia, as completing the project means economic growth, industry growth and supply security for one of the most important energy sources, as was noted by President Vucic during a briefing with the media. He believes that Balkan Stream is a major project in the long haul and hopes that the Serbian and Bulgarian parts of the pipeline will soon be connected.

The Serbian head of state thanked PM Borissov for helping elevate bilateral relations to such heights. Aleksandar Vucic noted that on Monday he and Borissov inspected two joint projects that are key to both Bulgaria and Serbia. One was the Europe Motorway, which will allow Bulgarians to travel from Sofia to Belgrade in three hours and vice versa for Serbians. The other project that Borissov and Vucic inspected was Balkan Stream.

Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov said that the joint inspection on Monday marked the lifting of quarantine requirements for citizens travelling between the two countries, measures imposed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. He noted that the virus has caused great economic damage across the world, but that people need to gradually return to normalcy. Despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, construction operations on both Balkan Stream and the Europe Motorway never stopped.


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