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Bulgaria's Ex PM Strikes Back at Borisov over Russian Energy Projects

Date: 14.06.2010

The development of the Russian-sponsored energy projects is strategically important for Bulgaria, according to former PM and socialist opposition leader, Sergey Stanishev.

Speaking on Sunday, Stanishev has criticized his successor, Boyko Borisov, for his recent statements that Bulgaria could not afford the construction of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant and the Burgas-Alexanroupolis oil pipeline.

On Friday, statements of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov led everybody to believe that his government was withdrawing from the Burgas-Alexandroupolis project. Borisov later clarified his words to mean that the Cabinet was still considering it but still criticized the planned pipeline for its environmental impact and economic unfeasibility. He also said Bulgaria was freezing the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant because it did not have the necessary EUR 13 B.

“The big issue is that Bulgaria will lose many strategic advantages from the freezing of the Belene project. This project has been technically prepared in the best possible way, and will increase Bulgaria's energy independence. Another advantage is the cheaper electricity production price, and the environment-friendly nature of nuclear energy,” Stanishev declared adding that without the Belene NPP Bulgaria will not be able to meet its commitment to the EU to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 16% by 2020.

“I fail to understand where these enormous sums came from – EUR 13 B?! The construction contract with Atomstroyexport was signed for EUR 4 B,” stated the Socialist leader whose government in 2005-2009 negotiated with Russia the deals for the Belene nuclear plant, the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, and the South Stream gas transit pipeline.

On Saturday, PM Boyko Borisov estimated the cost of the Belene project at EUR 13 B based on the deal recently signed by Russia and Turkey for the construction of a NPP in Turkey which will be twice larger than the one in Belene in terms of production capacity.

“The very construction of the nuclear plant in this time of economic crisis is a huge engine for the economy,” he claimed.

“There is a huge difference between us and the Gulf of Mexico. They are extracting oil there, while in the Gulf of Burgas the tankers will get unloaded and the oil will be pumped from the port when the pipeline is completed. But this is happening right now as well because of the refinery,” said the former PM with respect to Borisov's criticism of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis project based on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“When a prime minister is making a statement, this is the position of the state and cannot go without consequences. We have witnesses numerous occasions of the current government changing its mind on important issues within a few days,” declared Stanishev.

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