Bulgarian FinMin Seeks to Quell Govt Conflict over Belene NPP Scandal
Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov believes there is no conflict in the Bulgarian government even though the Cabinet has been shaken by a scandal over the talks with Russia for the Belene NPP.
Djankov's name has figured prominently in the scandal based on the talks for the fate of the Belene project, which is supposed to be Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant, between the Bulgarian National Electric Company NEK and Atomstroyexport, subsidiary of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.
The scandal started on Tueday when Bulgarian Minister of Economy, Energy, and Tourism Traicho Traikov declared he would fire NEK CEO Krasimir Parvanov because the latter had signed an agreement with Atomstroyexport that he was not authorized to sign, and which was detrimental to Bulgaria's interest by setting June 1, 2011, as a deadline for making a final contract with Russia on Belene.
On Wednesday, however, Traikov was severely scolded by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov since it turned out that NEK CEO Parvanov had coordinated his actions with Traikov's superior, Finance Minister and Deputy PM in charge of the economy, Simeon Djankov, and will now keep his job.
Commenting the case from the USA where he is on a four-day tour, Finance Minister Djankov declared that Bulgaria's interests have been protected with the signing of the latest documents with Atomstroyexport on Belene. He told BNT late Wednesday night that he had been aware of the talks and the actions of NEK CEO Krasimir Parvanov in his dealings with the Russians.
According to Djankov, none of the two documents that Parvanov signed obliged Bulgaria to build the Belene NPP at any price – which is precisely the accusation that Traikov mounted against the NEK head Tuesday night.
Djankov denied any sort of conflict between him and his subordinate, Economy Minister Traikov.
"We are not in any kind of conflict. Traikov is a passionate defender of the Bulgarian position, just like Krasimir Parvanov, just like myself, and just like the Prime Minister. It is only normal that on such a tough topic there will be some tumultuous passions from time to time but there is no need to be hysterical. Indeed, Bulgaria's interests are fully protected. This agreement signed on April 5 is very important for Bulgaria because the previous deadline expired on March 31, and there was the risk of going into a legal dispute and arbitration and stuff like that with the Russians," Djankov declared.
According to the documents signed on Tuesday between NEK and Atomstroyexport, June 1, 2011, is set as the date for making a final agreement on the fate of the Belene NPP, while June 30 is set as the deadline for conducting an analysis of the safety requirements for the future NPP.
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