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SPEECH/ 09/339

José Manuel Dur ã o Barroso

P resident of the European Commission

Remarks by Commission President José Manuel Barroso upon the signature of the Nabucco intergovernmental agreement

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

Signature of the Nabucco Intergovernmental Agreement

Ankara, 13 July 2009

Today we witness the signature of the "Nabucco Intergovernmental Agreement" between Turkey and four Member States of the European Union, in the presence of many of the countries from whom we wish to buy gas to the European Union and Turkey.

Nabucco will provide energy security to Turkey, to South East Europe, and to Central Europe. Nabucco is thus a truly European project.

I can comfortably say that this is an achievement of which we can all be proud, because Turkey and the European Union have tackled, together, a common challenge, i.e. the security and diversification of their energy supplies.

It is also a day to look ahead, and not just to the arrival of the first gas, which industry experts believe could be as early as 2014 or 2015. This agreement could - in the months and years to come - open the door to a new era in the relationship between the European Union and Turkey, and indeed beyond.

Energy can help to establish new structural links between Europe, Turkey, the Caspian Sea States and Central Asian States.

Gas pipes may be made of steel, but Nabucco can cement the links between our people.

What we are witnessing today is a powerful illustration of the strategic bonds between Turkey and the European Union.

But relationships need results, and Nabucco will bring tangible benefits. Co-operation has brought us this result today and will lead us to further successes tomorrow.

The reason I think these negotiations have succeeded – and I speak here for the Commission which has facilitated the negotiations – is that we have been conscious of the need for all parties to be content with the outcome. I think we have been able to structure an agreement that delivers benefits to all.

The European Commission is very proud of the contribution we have made to this agreement. I would like to thank in particular Commissioner Piebalgs and his team for all their work in getting us to this point. I also want to thank Minister Yildiz who has shown leadership and imagination in finding a solution that is right for Turkey.

But Prime Minister Erdogan, most of all I want to thank you. I am happy to be here with you to celebrate Nabucco's real birth.

And I draw an important lesson from what happens today, one which has as much resonance here in Ankara as it does in Brussels.

Nabucco has been agreed, if I may say, in the European way: through long and detailed discussion and an accommodation of everyone's concerns. That is the way Europe works, resolving differences, finding solutions to everyone's concerns. Turkey and the European Union have worked together in a positive spirit. This constructive and unifying approach has created the opportunity for all of us to benefit.

The famous composer, Giuseppe Verdi, said that although he had many difficulties to fight against, his Nabucco opera was born under a lucky star.

I hope the same is true of this very important project.

Thank you very much.

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