Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski labeled Bulgaria’s transit tax on Russian gas exceeding EUR 10 per megawatt-hour as illegal. He asserted that Macedonia intends to utilize all available legal avenues to eliminate this tax. Speaking at a press conference in Belgrade alongside Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, Kovachevski emphasized the need to either remove the tax or augment the existing pipeline’s capacity to access alternative gas sources.

Macedonia has formally raised concerns with both the EU and Bulgaria regarding this issue. Kovachevski highlighted another challenge: Bulgaria has entirely leased the gas capacity of the Zhidilovo gas interconnector, hindering Macedonia’s access to sources beyond Gazprom. He urged for the capacity to be freed up to enable access to diverse gas sources, including those outside of Russian suppliers, such as Azerbaijan and the United States.

Supporting Kovachevski’s stance, Serbian Prime Minister Brnabić expressed agreement and pledged joint efforts to address the issue. She highlighted the upcoming completion of the Niš – Dimitrovgrad gas interconnector by year-end, aiming to establish alternative gas connections. Brnabić emphasized the necessity of predictability in energy policy planning and infrastructure investment, seeking support from the EU and understanding from Bulgaria on this matter.