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Brussels, 3 February 2011

Remarks by President Barroso ahead of the Dinner with the leaders of the Visegrád Group, Romania and Bulgaria

"Energy infrastructure is a backbone of our internal market and crucial for Europe's security and prosperity. The North-South initiative, which I will present tonight ahead of Friday's European Council, has a special role to play in strengthening the EU's strategic energy infrastructure.

The North-South initiative will connect and integrate the power sources of the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas, ensure the free and diversified flow of energy within Central and Eastern Europe and thus enhance the economic security of the region and of our Union as a whole. It will also prepare the region to serve as an important gateway to import corridors coming from the Northern and Caspian regions.

As a next step, a High-Level Group chaired by the EU Commission will prepare a detailed Action Plan with specific priority projects and the necessary actions with deadlines for North-South interconnections for gas, oil and electricity. The aim is to have this plan endorsed in the second semester."

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