Turkish min due to attend Nabucco summit amid calls for EU's support .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler will travel to Hungary on Monday to take part in a Nabucco pipeline summit, at which participants are expected to urge EU to demonstrate clear political and financial support for the project.

Nabucco-member countries Turkey, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary will attend the summit which will take place on Jan. 27.

Besides Nabucco-member countries, high-level representatives from the EU, the United States, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Egypt and Georgia will also participate in the summit.

European countries, hit hard by the latest gas dispute involving Russia and Ukraine are expected to urge the European Union to demonstrate its political and financial support for the pipeline project and speed the process up.

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany recently said that the main goals of the two-day meeting would be to secure clear financial and political commitment from the European Union.

"We expect the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to make a clearer commitment to pre-financing the project," he was quoted as saying by AFP.

"This project is not purely about business but also about Europe’s energy security. It is therefore vital to make sure we have resources that are backed and guaranteed by the EU."

Nabucco is a 3,400-kilometre (2,112-mile) pipeline between Turkey and Austria aimed at transporting up to 31 billion cubic meters of gas each year from the Caspian Sea to western Europe, bypassing Russia and Ukraine.

The project has become all the more important for ensuring Europe’s independence from Russian gas after most of the continent found itself cut off from vital supplies this month during a two-week pricing dispute between Moscow and Kiev.

So far, however, Nabucco has been slow to get off the ground because key issues -- such as financing and where the gas would actually come from -- have yet to be agreed.

The pipeline consortium consisting of six shareholders, OMV of Austria, MOL of Hungary, Transgaz of Romania, Bulgargaz of Bulgaria, Botas of Turkey and RWE of Germany, recently raised the cost estimate to around eight billion euros ($10.7 billion) from an initial projection of 4.4 billion euros.