Declaration Natural Gas for Europe: Security and Partnership- Sofia, 24- 25 April 2009 Natural Gas for Europe: Security and Partnership- Sofia, 24- 25 April 2009

Below is the full text of the Final Declaration of the Sofia Energy Summit, “Natural Gas for Europe. Security and Partnership”, which was signed by 28 states and organizations from Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, the European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Egypt, France, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Montenegro, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Serbia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, USA.

‌We, the Participants in the Energy Summit "Natural Gas for Europe: Security and Partnership", held in Sofia on 24-25 April 2009 upon the invitation of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Georgi Parvanov;‌ 
 Endeavouring to develop a working and lasting bond of cooperation between producer, transit and consumer countries, intended to increase each Participant's country energy security and that of all Europe; 
 Recognizing that our joint efforts have to be focused on creating strategic energy partnerships on a regional and global level;
‌ Having debated on some of the most topical issues of energy security and trans-regional energy cooperation;
‌ Noting with satisfaction and encouragement that the spirit of dialogue and understanding prevailed in all our discussions;
‌ Recognizing the valuable input of the Business Forum, held in Sofia on 24 April 2009, and taking into consideration the Views of gas industry companies, energy consultancies and other business representatives;
 Taking into account the other energy conferences, in particular those held in Budapest on 27 January 2009, in Ashgabat on 23 - 24 April 2009, and that to be organized in Prague by the Czech Presidency of the EU on 8 May 2009;
‌ Emphasizing that our deliberations, as well as the practical ideas and proposals for energy cooperation and international gas projects that emerged as a result, are intended to increase the prosperity and well-being of the citizens of our countries and regions;
‌ Given the current trends in the energy sector, we encourage and support the following Principles and Policies for enhancing European energy security. We underline the role of the Black Sea and Caspian region and South-East Europe in this respect:
‌ The world is faced with the challenge of making a transition from a high to a low carbon-based economy, and this process should contribute to sustainable development and energy security;
‌ To meet economic development and climate goals, in the next 20 years, Europe's demand for natural gas imports will increase and will necessitate new projects offering diverse energy suppliers, sources and supply routes for gas delivery;
‌ Recent developments have underlined the following aspects:
‌ - National well-being is intrinsically linked to reliable and diverse supplies of energy, including gas;
‌ - Greater interconnectivity and an enhanced principle of solidarity in the European gas networks are needed to address emergencies and generate greater market efficiencies;
‌ - Greater diversity, competitiveness and transparency in all aspects of the supply chain to boost system integrity, economic development and energy security;
‌ - The current decreasing level of oil and gas prices and its effect on planned investments make it even more necessary to support all major infrastructure projects that contribute to the import of significant gas volumes to Europe, to diversify suppliers, sources and supply routes and to minimize risks, including transit risks;
‌ - An efficient international dispute settlement mechanism is needed to deal with developments that are likely to disrupt or reduce energy flows significantly. 
‌Stable, transparent, equitable and effective legal and regulatory frameworks, including the obligation to uphold contracts, as well as in the supply, transit and receipt of gas, are the key to energy security; 
 Transparency by governments and companies in the gas sector and related industries, and the need to enhance public financial reporting and accountability are of paramount importance to enhanced energy cooperation;
‌ Energy cooperation should comply with the best environmental and social practices, public disclosure and dialogue with various stakeholders at all levels of the gas chain;
‌ Extending transparency at all levels of gas chain transactions and best international, market-based practices to all parts of the supply chain should be strongly encouraged;
‌ Cooperation in energy emergency responses contributes to enhanced energy security in the region;
‌ The safeguarding of critical energy infrastructure should be further encouraged.
‌ Energy cooperation will additionally benefit from the application of the principles of sustainability, reliability, predictability, competi-tiveness and partnership;
‌ Strengthening European energy security and cooperation requires the efficient monitoring and sharing of these agreed principles by all the producing, transit and consumer countries. POLICIESImporters and exporters of gas are best served by a diversity of gas suppliers, purchases, and supply routes, which will increase competition and market efficiency;
‌ Mutually beneficial partnerships at all levels of the gas chain require market-based transactions, including on transit;
‌ Fulfilment of legally contracted commitments and the pursuit of legal remedies, including compensation, in the event of non-fulfilment;   Introduction of innovative technologies at all levels of the gas chain; Rapid development of international gas infrastructure, pipelines, LNG terminals and strategic storage to guarantee diversification of gas supplies to Europe in a sustainable and viable way;
‌ All transit countries should ensure unhindered transit of gas flows and its efficient monitoring;
‌ Steady energy policies should stimulate an enhanced private sector role; notably, its fundamental principle, the Energy Charter Treaty, is essential for enhancing energy security across the European continent.
‌ We stress upon the geopolitical importance of the Black Sea and Caspian regions for European energy security and the diversification of sources and routes of gas supplies;
‌ South-East Europe has a strategic location, linking producers - Russia, countries in Central Asia, the Caspian sea region, the Middle East and North Africa, the transit countries of the Black Sea region and the Caucasus, with the European energy markets;
‌ In this regard, we support the realization of all infrastructure projects that aim at diversifying the supply of hydrocarbons to Europe to provide energy security for all countries involved;
‌ Based on a solidarity arrangement, LNG terminals and ship-based re-gasification in this region should be available to all interested countries, either directly or through other states. 
‌ The Participants stressed the importance of maintaining a regular exchange of views on strategic energy issues based on the Sofia Energy Summit.
‌Sofia, 25 April 2009