Bulgaria Rules out Energy Chapter Reopening

Politics | June 9, 2004, Wednesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
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The Bulgarian government counteracted calls for reopening the Energy chapter of the acquis communautaire, describing such a move as "short-sighted".

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

Bulgaria is nearing the end of its pre-accession negotiations and it is not worth it to bring its EU entry in question by opening again the Energy Chapter, government spokesman Dimitar Tsonev told private bTV channel.

He echoed the position of EU Enlargement Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, who warned that Bulgaria's accession to the European Union will be delayed should it open again the Energy chapter.

In the words of Tsonev the government has never promised to reopen the Energy chapter. That was just an option, Tsonev said.

The ruling party Simeon II National Movement has called "cheap populism" the proposal of the Bulgarian Socialists to hold a referendum on the shutdown of Kozloduy units.

The decommissioning of both 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."

At the beginning of the week the European Commission has proposed that Bulgaria closes the Competition chapter, which would bring the country to one chapter of ending its pre-accession negotiations.
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