Serbia's new govt plans to invest EUR 12 bn in energy infrastructure

Serbia's new government plans to invest EUR 12 bn in energy projects, including oil and gas pipelines and increasing power production capacity, prime minister-designate Ana Brnabic told parliament on Tuesday.

"Energy and new energy policy will be an absolute priority," Brnabic, a member of the Serbian Progressive Party, now the ruling political faction in Serbia, said in a presentation seeking support for a third term as a Prime Minister.

The country has no direct connection to the sea and has to import electricity, and is heavily reliant on Russia for gas deliveries via Turkey and oil deliveries via Croatia.

Ms Brnabic said the new government would diversify the country’s energy sources by completing a gas link with Bulgaria by allowing for connection to a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Greece.

She said her new government would also increase its hydropower capacity and take on building an oil pipeline to Hungary. The parliament, in which the ruling party has 120 of the 250 seats, will hold a vote after discussions, probably on Wednesday, expected to confirm Ms Brnabic as prime minister.

During her first term in office in 2017, Brnabic was Serbia's first female and openly gay prime minister. Serbia is a candidate for European Union membership and Ana Brnabic commented on the choice of joining the EU as the country's "strategic destination".

"The entire region can be prosperous and stable only as a member of the wider European family," she said but added Serbia should be given full control over its foreign and security policies.

Serbia has condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations yet has refused to join in sanctions against Moscow even though EU officials have invited Serbia to harmonise its policy with the bloc.

The election of the new Serbian cabinet will follow after almost seven months since the elections in April. The formal announcement of the results was delayed down to voting irregularities at one polling station, preventing parliament from being summoned in Belgrade.

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