Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Traycho Traykov: When there are good projects, there is always money for them

Adelina Marini, November 2, 2009

Bulgaria will have to secure 300 mn euro from the budget when the realisation of the Nabucco gas pipeline starts with which the EU hopes to diversify its gas suppliers. The amount is 16.5% of the share Bulgaria has in the Nabucco consortium and the total amount for the project is 8 bn euro. The Bulgarian minister of the economy, energy and tourism Traycho Traykov also announced that our country will ratify the intergovernmental agreement and has never thought of giving up its share.

He said this after his meeting with Joschka Fischer, a political consultant of RWE and OMV for the Nabucco project. Mr. Fischer was a minister for foreign affairs and vice chancellor in the government of Gerhard Shroeder. He was also a leader of the German Green party. Gerhard Shroeder also got a job after he lost the 2005 elections to Angela Merkel as a consultant in the project company for Nord Stream.

Joschka Fischer is in Bulgaria as part of his tour in the countries, participating in the project for the Nabucco pipeline with the aim to secure that the project will become a priority one for all participating governments. But still the ratification process has not been competed. But, according to Joschka Fischer 2010 will be an important year for the beginning of the realisation of the project. Asked by euinside whether Nabucco is still facing the problem with the gas supplies, Mr. Fischer explained that filling of the pipe will not be a problem because it can take gas from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Northern Iraq. 50% of the pipe is designated for the participating countries and the rest - for whoever wants it. But he admitted that still there are unsolved issues in the bilateral relations of Turkey (through which the Nabucco will pass) - between Turkey and Azerbaijan and between Ankara and Armenia.

To the question of euinside whether the security problems in Iraq might be a threat to the Nabucco plans to use northern Iraqi natural gas, the former first German diplomat responded that no one can say how will the events develop in Iraq bu he assured that the Northern part of the country is stable and it is where the 2 biggest natural gas deposits in the region lay. For this reason Mr. Fischer denounced the participation of Iran as a potential supplier, adding that Iran does not have gas, the country even is an importer.

And regarding the question whether he considers South Stream as a competitive project to Nabucco, Joschka Fischer said that in at some point it might appear that both projects will be equally important. But the fact is, he underlined, that Europe has in January found out that it urgently needs diversification of suppliers.

Beside his short statement that Bulgaria is still supporting the Nabucco project as well as how much money our country will have to pay for it, the Bulgarian energy minister was reluctant to answer more questions. He even proved as a bad host because when journalists started asking about the price, where the money will come from and how can we have money for Nabucco and not for South Stream, minister Traykov suddenly thanked everyone and was on his way to leave the hall. The he was stopped by his guest Joschka Fischer who requested more time for a final statement: "We are talking about 1 gas project that will supply the biggest gas market in the world. This means that this project will pay back. Many times."

But this was supposed to be the remark of the Bulgarian minister and not of the consultant of RWE and OMV on Nabucco. At least because 300 mn euro is 3 times the amount of money that was cut from next year's budget of the National Helath Care Fund for hispitalisation. And if the Bulgarian government really considers that this project a priority one, it needs to "sell" it to the taxpayers instead of avoiding the questions.

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