Bulgarian Opposition Demands Urgent Explanation on Belene Blunder
Bulgaria's right-wing Blue Coalition demanded Wednesday to urgently summon to the Parliament Economy and Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov, and Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to explain the latest energy blunder.
The co-Chair of the Blue Coalition and leader of one of the parties in the formation – Union of Democratic Forces, UDF, Martin Dimitrov, called on Traikov and Borisov, to come to the Parliament ASAP and tell the MPs what exactly the ousted Director of the National Electric Company (NEK), Krasimir Parvanov, had signed with the Russian "Atomstroyexport," regarding the project to build a second Bulgarian Nuclear Power Plant, NPP, in the Danube town of Belene.
Dimitrov, who is also the Chair of the Parliamentary Economic Committee, says the MPs must know the exact commitments made by Bulgaria and if the contract can be annulled or halted.
On Tuesday, Economy and Energy Minister, Traicho Traikov, fired Parvanov over him exceeding his authority during negotiations with "Atomstroyexport" for the NPP construction. With the endorsed documents Parvanov has committed Bulgaria to sign, no later than two months from now, a final contract for the NPP realization.
Dimitrov says this is a hard blow on Bulgaria's national security, accusing the cabinet of the center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party and their closest ally, the far-right, nationalist Ataka of working to fulfill the wishes of President, Georgi Parvanov, to realize Russian energy projects in the country in times when the new European requirements on nuclear safety are yet to be prepared.
"It is irresponsible to make such decisions without even including the Parliament. How is it possible to sign commitments for a project with a price constantly going up? This is a huge damage to national security and where are now Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and the State Agency for National Security, DANS? How is it possible to let a "clerk" endorse the most important deal in Bulgaria's recent history?" the right-wing leader asked, reminding independent experts expect Belene's price to reach the sky-rocketing EUR 13.5 B, to be provided by Bulgarian taxpayers.
Dimitrov pointed out that if it wasn't for Traikov's Tuesday statement, the fact there is an annex signed for a final NPP contract would have remained hidden from the public, adding the initial plan might have been to endorse such contract without anyone finding out, except a few "trusted" people within the cabinet, but the Minister had made the plot fail.
Former Energy Minister and MP from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Rumen Ovcharov, also took the stand and reminded that about a month ago, the GERB Parliamentary group and Borisov have stated their readiness to hold a debate on Belene, but the promise never materialized.
Ovcharov demanded to schedule the debate ASAP, otherwise "we risk ending up having empty discourse of people who not only lack expert knowledge, but attempt to make the issue a political one."
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