Bulgarian PM, French President Discuss Energy, Security
French President Francois Hollande has said he would like to see French companies fully engaged in the process of diversification of Bulgaria’s energy supplies.
Speaking after a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Paris on Tuesday, Hollande said he and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls would be willing to see Electricite de France (EDF) being present in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant announced in October of last year that it had signed a deal to extend the operational life of its Unit 5 with a consortium comprising EDF and Russian companies Rosenergoatom and Rosatom Service.
Bulgaria’s economy has a huge potential to accept French companies, Hollande said at a joint news briefing with Borisov at the Elysee Palace, according to BGNES news outlet.
The most recent acquisition of industrial assets in Bulgaria by a French company was the purchase of a bentonite production plant in Karzdhali by Paris-based Imerys.
Commenting on the options for diversification of energy sources before Bulgaria, Borisov said that his country, which currently relies almost entirely on Russian suplies to meet its gas needs, is keen on building a hub that could receive gas from various other sources. These could include supplies of LNG as well as gas extracted from the Black Sea shelf – an option currently being explored by French energy giant Total.
An international consortium comprising Total, Austria’s OMV and Spain’s Repsol holds the exploration licence for hydrocarbon drilling at Bulgaria’s Khan Asparuh Black Sea block.
Bulgaria deserves to be home to the proposed gas distribution centre thanks to its strategic location, Borisov opined.
“I am very happy that President Hollande understood what I meant; I can say that we found the engine needed to help us implement this idea,” Borisov said, according to BGNES.
Commenting on the need to join forces in the fight against violent extremism, Francois Hollande said key challenges include countering of the radicalization of people through Internet and the travel of European citizens to areas of conflict for the purpose of joining terrorist groups.
In January, Bulgaria extradited to France a French citizen suspected of links to the two gunmen who conducted the deadly attack against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
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