Every year, European countries find it more difficult to cut loose from Russia's natural resource exports, which transforms Gazprom into one of the main pillars on the European energy market, daily newspaper Gazeta writes, noting that new EU member state Bulgaria makes an exception to the rule.

The paper reads that not all European countries cope with this vision. The European Commission searches for plans to put an end to the monopoly in the energy sector as the market is split into transportation, production and development companies.

However, Bulgaria, Greece and Italy find it rewarding to collaborate with Russian infrastructures, wishing to exploit its transit potential.

Bulgarian monitoring center Top Energy data show that Russian gas deliveries for Balkan countries grew by 13.2% in 2007.

In the same time, Bulgaria, the main Russian partner in the region increased its purchases by 4.7%. Plus, for 2007, authorities established a maximum quota of gas transportation on its territory as gas pipes cannot cope with the amount of gas requested.

During his visit to Bulgaria on January 17 and 18, Russia President Putin will discuss among others about the South Stream project that aims at building a pipeline between Russia and Bulgaria through the Black Sea to West Europe. A three party accord between Russia, Bulgaria and Greece will also be signed to establish a company due to project the Bourgas-Alexandropolis pipeline.