The EU agreed yesterday to press ahead with the $5.8 billion Nabucco gas pipeline project linking the gas market to supplies from the Caspian Sea.
Energy commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, met energy ministers from partner states - Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary - in Vienna yesterday at the opening ceremony of the energy community.
The pipeline runs from the Caspian basin through Turkey to Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria.
Ministers there made a commitment to work to "successfully complete" the project.
The commitment carries political significance as EU leaders in recent months have mooted plans to diversify gas supplies in order to reduce dependency on Russian sources, a situation exacerbated by Moscow's decision to cut off supplies to the Ukraine in January over a contract dispute.
The EU commission sees Nabucco as one of several new pipelines likely to supply the continent over the next two decades.
"Gas is essential to the European economy. The European commission is actively guiding investments into transmission and is hoping to assist in overcoming the technical and commercial issues involved in bringing gas through many jurisdictions to the EU," Mr Piebalgs told the conference.
President of the EU Energy Council, Martin Bartenstein, said: "The Nabucco gas pipeline is one of the most important European energy projects, which allows the EU to diversify its transport routes and gas supplier countries."