A two-day summit aimed at securing gas supplies to Europe is taking place in the Bulgarian capital.
Leaders from the EU, the Balkans and gas supplier countries are meeting in Sofia, but the Russian prime minister’s last minute decision to boycott the talks has dampened chances of some ties being strengthened. Vladimir Putin is said to be upset by Bulgaria’s plan for the construction of the South Stream pipeline – Moscow’s project to pump Russian gas to Europe under the Black Sea. And in order to diversify its energy sources, Sofia is also behind the EU’s flagship Nabucco project to bring Caspian gas to Europe while bypassing Russia. But while Brussels and Moscow have been competiting to sign up enough gas suppliers to back their respective projects, the two pipelines have been severely hit by financial difficulties.