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President of the European Commission
Southern corridor summit
The context of this Summit is very clear. Our strategic priority in the EU is to enhance energy security, in particular by diversifying EU's energy sources and energy routes.
The Southern Corridor initiative is a key priority project for the EU. Our objective was to provide a further political push for the implementation of this strategic initiative and these were indeed achieved during this very important summit. It was a very open discussion. I really want to tell you that I was indeed positively impressed by the way in which all participants were exchanging their opinions on the subject. We also have agreed a very important declaration, that was signed by Prime Minister Topolánek and myself on behalf of the EU, but also by the President of Azerbaijan, the President of Georgia, the President of Turkey, and representing the President of Egypt, his minister for Energy.
We have shown the EU is serious about this project; we will provide the legal, financial, political framework for companies to do their business. Energy is a traded commodity, but as was highlighted during the Summit, the political input we put in this project is also important, so that we show indeed our interest for this project.
The results are very good. Apart from the declaration, and I will ask you to read it carefully, because it is a very important document, we have agreement on a common strategy and clear scheduling for the completion of relevant projects within the Southern Corridor, including the Trans-Caspian link. Today, we have commitments from producer, transit and consumer countries.
We now need to work quickly on the follow-up. We want to see the signature of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on Nabucco by June 2009, so by next month, and on the ITGI project by the end of 2009, conclusion of the feasibility study on the Caspian Development Corporation initiative by the end of this year as well as the imminent signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on energy between EU and Iraq.
I believe we have an understanding from all those that have signed the Declaration that the Caspian Development Corporation is a useful commercial framework that will bring benefits to all concerned.
Last but not least, very positive developments on transit through Turkey, and in fact building on the progress that has been achieved already in the conference in Sofia. Turkey is a very close partner and Turkey is clearly part of our vision. After today's discussions, I am confident that we will reach agreement on the transit arrangements through Turkey. In particular, I am very pleased that Turkey has agreed to sign the inter-governmental agreement on Nabucco in Turkey before the end of June.
This is, as Prime Minister Topolánek said, the final meeting of a long series of summits. I have been spending all the week here in Prague. And since this is also his last summit, I want once again publicly to thank him for the great leadership he has shown. We are very grateful in the EU for everything that was achieved during this successful Czech Presidency. I am sure it will be like that until the end of the month of June. Once again very warm thanks on behalf of the Commission for the very close, perfect co-operation between the Czech Presidency and the Commission and my special thanks for the personal involvement of Prime Minister Topolánek in all the efforts with the Senate to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, and also for the very important conclusions that we have achieved this week. The Eastern Partnership is indeed a historic, I use the word historic, summit; this Summit today will bring very concrete benefits, and of course the Employment summit and also the bilateral summits with Japan and Canada were important meetings that underline our commitment to a stronger Europe, a Europe that is able to defend its interests and promote its values in the world.