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Bulgaria PM Denies Stirring Chaos with Energy Projects Talk

Date: 12.06.2010

The project for the oil line Burgas-Alexandroupolis is unprofitable from economic stand point and no one will sign under it, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, reiterated Saturday.

Borisov voiced his conviction about the oil line in the southern city of Blagoevgrad where he gave diplomas to graduates from the College for Tourism and opened a children sports competition, organized by the local branch of his Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party.

On Friday, at a meeting with EU Ambassadors to Bulgaria, Borisov, made headlines when he said Bulgaria is pulling out of the project. His statement was swiftly followed by an official press release of the cabinet, explaining the government will, after all, wait for the official environmental assessment, followed again by new comments on the part of the PM, forecasting a negative assessment. Economy Minister, Traicho Traikov, at first appeared stunned by Borisov’s words, and declared the issue has not been discussed and the cabinet had not made an official decision on the oil line.

Borisov denied Saturday accusations that he threw a bomb, insisting he told the Ambassadors the truth, and the fact that the countries involved in the project (Bulgaria, Russia, and Greece) have not slated any money in their state budgets for it is undisputable.

“This is how I answered the Greek Ambassador’s inquiry. I was not a bomb; it was the truth – the oil line is unprofitable. Do you want to go to Burgas now and ask local people if they want a tanker entering their sea every day during the beach season? What is important for me is what Bulgarians think. If we visit the “Trakiya” highway, we will se construction works going on. It we go to Burgas-Alexandroupolis, we will see nothing, just meadows and woods,” Borisov said.

The Prime Minister also touched on his other statement that turned into breaking news Friday – that Bulgaria is freezing the construction of the second Nuclear Power Plant in the Danube town of Belene, saying Saturday that the work there can start as early as the next day on condition the State finds a strategic investor.

“Right now there is just a pond there and nothing else; a pond costing EUR 2 B. My predecessor, Sergey Stanishev, broke ground, announcing that Bulgaria’s participation in the project will cost EUR 4 B, but we ended up needing EUR 13 B. Where can we get this money from – health care, education, or from those on welfare?” Borisov pointed out.

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