Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Parvanov: Burssels is not worried that Belene will be constructed with Russian money

Ralitsa Kovacheva, February 23, 2010

On the second day of his visit in Brussels the Bulgarian president Gheorghi Parvanov met the president of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek and the president of the European Council Herman van Rompuy. Bulgaria to have a coordinating role for the European strategy for the Balkans, Parvanov offered to Van Rompuy, the Bulgarian daily Dnevnik reports. The foreign minister Nikolay Mladenov also attended the meeting. Yesterday he proposed Bulgaria to become Europe's coordinator for the Balkans during his meeting with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.

In a statement after his meeting with European Parliament's president Jerzy Buzek, Mr Parvanov expressed his joy from the positive stance the European Parliament had in approving the regulation for financial aid for the closure of the first 4 reactors of the Kozlodui nuclear power station. Parvanov added that the money should be used also for renewable energy sources but in the same time this should not be interpreted as state aid because it came in a moment when Bulgaria lost a lot from of the closures in the station.

Mr Buzek said on his part that it was very important to diversify energy sources and that Bulgaria could play a key role here, given its geographic situation. According to Buzek, our country could provide a link for the transit of energy sources from the Caspian see and the Middle East.

No one in Brussels expressed any uneasiness with the possibility Belene (the second Bulgarian nculear station) to be realised with Russian capitals, president Gheorghi Parvanov commented on Monday evening. After his meetings with the Commissioners for energy Guenter Oettinger and climate change - Connie Hedegaard, Mr Parvanov said that Bulgaria being part of the European Commission's efforts for more energy security was also discussed. And also:

"our ambition is to make Belene a European project. To incorporate in ti investors from Germany, France and others who might be interested".

Regarding the other energy projects, Parvanov stated:

"What impressed me very much was the staging that we were considering Nabucco and South Stream in the same way ". (here the word "consider" in Bulgarian means also watch, given that the president used the word staging before that)

However, it was not clear whether he meant that his opinion coincided with the position of the European representatives or that the EU treated both projects equally. According to the Bulgarian president it is important:

"to look for more and various ways to supply Europe with natural gas and in this regard South Stream provides gas which is welcome, especially given the volumes. Of course, we, as a country, are especially active on Nabucco. Even more active than all others because our contacts in Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey ,as part of the future route, indeed create more guarantees for the realisation of the project".

Parvanov asked for European support for Bulgaria's project to get LNG from Azerbaijan through the Black Sea, he said. This project could supply the country with up to 4 bn cubic meters of gas. He also said that together with the development of renewable energy sources the energy from coals should be protected and modernized.

"... you know that Bulgaria has not a small share of production of electricity from coal and we should do our utmost to protect this sector by modernizing it because this would mean not only a more stable economy but more jobs as well".

Responding to a question whether Bulgaria would take part in any of the pilot projects for carbon catch up and preservation, Gheorghi Parvanov recalled his recent visit in Australia last year:

"One of the results there was that conditions have been created for us to take part in their institute, where some of the most famous world scientists work, so that we could, literally, borrow models which we could later adapt to the Bulgarian conditions".

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