Verheugen: Nuclear Talks to Delay Bulgaria's EU Entry

Politics | June 7, 2004, Monday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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Verheugen: Nuclear Talks to Delay Bulgaria's EU Entry EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen warned Bulgaria its EU entry could be delayed if it tries to renegotiate closure deadlines at its only power plant of Kozloduy. Photo by Bulgarian Foreign Ministry

Bulgaria runs the risk to delay its accession to the European Union should it open again the Energy chapter of the acquis communautaire, according to a senior European Union official.

EU member states have no intention to open again already closed chapters, said EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, who pays a two-day official visit to Bulgaria.

He added the only option for the government of Saxe-Coburg is to seek a reschedule in the decommissioning of Kozloduy units.

Last week Gordon Adam, who has moulded the image of a pro-nuclear lobbyist at the European Parliament, suggested that Bulgaria re-open the Energy Chapter. According to him the Bulgarian stance might receive a warmer welcome after the accession of ten new member states.

Earlier the World Council of Nuclear Workers President Andre Maisseu accused Verheugen of manipulating Bulgaria into closing four units at its only nuclear power plant.

There are people who deceive the Bulgarians and mislead them, Verheugen counteracted.

Meanwhile Bulgaria closed provisionally three or four remaining chapters at an intergovernmental conference in Brussels - the Agriculture, Regional Policy and Coordination, and Finance and Budgetary Provisions.

EU concerns over the safety of Soviet-designed 440-MW reactors of Bulgaria's only N-plant Kozloduy has hinged the country's EU accession in 2007 on their closure the previous year.

The decommissioning of the two oldest units at the end of 2002 came after strong pressure from the European Union. The nuclear lobby and opposition parties protested that the reactors are economically necessary and called EU demands "arm-twisting."
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