Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis addressed the inaugural session of the Eastern Partnership Summit, organised by the Czech European Union Presidency in Prague on Thursday.

Karamanlis stressed the importance of energy interdependence between the European Union and its partners in eastern Europe, as well as the need for the creation of a legally binding framework guaranteeing the security of investments and market deregulation.

Karamanlis reminded that last January the EU had faced the most serious crisis in its history concerning the supply and transfer of natural gas, and stressed that the EU’s current summit with its eastern partners is coming at the most suitable moment for an improvement in energy cooperation and the strengthening of energy security.

The prime minister pointed out that energy security constitutes one of the main challenges of our times and that, regardless of the varying importance that the issue has in each country, joint perception and consensus exists among Europeans.

The demand for natural gas is not expected to decrease in the coming years according to Karamanlis and for this reason he expressed clear support for promoting investments in infrastructures with the aim of achieving better diversification of energy sources in Europe.

The importance of developing regional electric power markets was underlined by the Greek Prime Minister, stressing at the same time that the deepening of the EU’s energy cooperation with its eastern partners is of fundamental significance.

“This is also the reason why Greece supports the creation of a targeted regional Action Plan for Energy Infrastructures,” pointing to the need for widening liquefied natural gas imports in the EU.

Lastly, Karamanlis stressed that the importance of the EU’s strategy for the Eastern Partnership Summit lies in the possibilities that this strategy provides for strengthening the regional stability, the relations of good neighbourliness, and the economic progress of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.

Addressing reporters on the sidelines of the Summit the Greek prime minister stressed the special importance of maintaining good relations between the European Union’s member-states and its eastern partners.

Karamanlis said that Greece desires special relations with the eastern partners, stressing the need for the promotion of political and economic reforms in these six countries, namely Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia and Armenia.