FP: Bulgaria Is the New Battleground in Fighting Russian Energy
Bulgaria, a country playing a "central role in Europe's emerging energy picture", is becoming "the latest wishbone in the struggle between Moscow's efforts to to assert its energy dominance over Europe and the West's efforts to cage that gassy bear," according to Foreign Policy.
Its article titled "Sofia's Choice" explores the clash of energy agendas of the US, Europe and Russia in Bulgaria, "a small, Russophile country".
The text comes after US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Sofia earlier this week. At a joint press conference with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Kerry underscored Washington's commitment to the energy security of Bulgaria and announced plans to send the top US energy official.
FP quotes Amos Hochstein, the State Department's special envoy with the Bureau of Energy Resources, as saying the region "has been extremely vulnerable to the use of energy as a political and economic tool, and the way out of that vulnerability is to diversify its energy market."
In Hochstein's words, Washington is intending to "give Bulgaria and its neighbors the kind of options that could improve their security and their economies," unlike South Stream, "a political pipeline, intended to continue the dependence of Europe on a single supplier for another generation."
Reminding of the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia in the aftermath of the latter's actions on the Crimean peninsula and the "carrots" used by Western countries with regard to Eastern Europe to fend off Russian aspirations there, the article points to the fact that "the battle for influence has spread from the streets of Kiev... to Bulgaria."
The country is described here as "a country literally created by Russia and one long...