Bulgarian MPs Approve Debt Payment for Belene N-Plant
Lawmakers have approved on a first reading a bill that will allow state energy company NEK to pay nearly EUR 630 M to Russia's Atomstroyexport.
The text was adopted by a parliament committee on Tuesday, after Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova warned a further delay in payments might pose a risk to the country's entire energy system and might even push Atomstroyexport to claim NEK's insolvency.
Once the bill, which was rushed to Parliament's floor, is finally adopted, it will allow the disbursement of nearly EUR 630 M to NEK that authorities will seek a way to return in the future through possible increased revenues from new energy projects.
The sum is to be secured through an increase in the Energy Ministry's budget. Any transfer of sums to NEK will have to be approved by the EU Commission as it will be tantamount to state aid.
Bulgaria lost an arbitration suit in June and is forced to pay for the equipment procured to the Russian company for the construction of Belene nuclear power plant (NPP), a project that the previous government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov ditched in the winter of 2012.
Petkova on Tuesday called for the money to be transferred as quickly as possible, since hundreds of thousands worth of interest rate were being added to the sum on a daily basis.
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