Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Sergey Shmatko on a visit to Bulgaria to save "Belene"

Adelina Marini, September 18, 2009

The Russian minister of energy Sergey Shmatko is coming today in Sofia to personally see what will be the future of the project for construction of a second nuclear power station in Bulgaria - "Belene". In an interview for the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) a day ago, Mr. Shmatko explained that the uncertainties around the financing of the projects as well as the expenses of the National Electricity Company (NEC) for building the infrastructure of the station, increase the price of the project. During his first visit in Sofia in Spring when he took part in the energy forum, organised by the president Georgi Parvanov, Sergey Shmatko stated unequivocally that "Belene" is of significant importance to Russia. Then there still were uncertainties around the financing and Russia offered a loan.

However, the new government still hasn't stated a clear position on whether it will continue with the construction. So far, the new energy minister Traycho Traykov explains that the price would be too high - 10 bn euro and this makes the project unprofitable or, at least, if the state is to finance it. In his interview for the BNT Mr. Shmatko says: "Our estimations are a little bit different, although it should be noted that everything would depend on the expenses of the so called owner, because there are expenses of the owner, related to the land, the construction of the necessary infrastructure and so on. But on the other hand, such a discrepancy in the estimations for the construction of "Belene" can be explained with the uncertainties surrounding the financing of the station".

But he admitted that to a large extent the cost of the project will be defined by the interests over the credits that will be taken for the purpose. Today minister Traykov will talk with his Russian counterpart and in the afternoon they will give a briefing for the media.

euinside reminds that the uncertainties surrounding the intentions of the government, led by the prime minister Boyko Borisov on the large energy projects with the participation of Bulgaria, was severely criticised by the president Georgi Parvanov.