Bulgaria’s PM: The Plans will be Accepted despite the Protests from Miners and Energy Workers

Politics | September 29, 2023, Friday // 12:17
Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s PM: The Plans will be Accepted despite the Protests from Miners and Energy Workers Nikolai Denkov

Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov has spoken with the leaders of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITU) and the Confederation of Labor "Podkrepa" (CL "Podkrepa) unions.

The Prime Minister has categorically refused to postpone the adoption of the territorial plans for the coal regions. Despite the protests and blockades in the country, this will happen today at a cabinet meeting.

Denkov was adamant that the government will not allow itself to lose 4 billion leva:

"In addition to 1.4 billion leva, more than that, which are related to Stara Zagora, Kyustendil and Pernik, another 3 billion are related to all other territorial plans. So it should be clear that the government will accept the plans today".

Asked if people would keep their jobs, he commented:

"At the moment, nobody can tell them that until retirement they will keep the same job and salaries. There is no such sector in the world, and there is none in Bulgaria. The way to avoid escalation is to sit at the table and talk".

The Prime Minister added that the plans have been revised:

"It is clear that we are talking about the year 2038. No one is talking about another date at the moment. There were objections to dropping 2026 for "Bobov Dol" TPP - it was dropped. There was a proposal to prepare an agreement. We have prepared a version of the agreement, and we have sent it to the unions. There is time to negotiate".

Regarding the projects of companies that caused misunderstandings with GERB, the Prime Minister said that the texts have already been corrected.

"These are not companies that have been selected. These are companies that, upon a preliminary question, said - we are ready to invest. When the negotiations with the EC are finished, application guidelines will be written next year, a procedure will be opened in which each will be able to apply and there will be a real competition who will invest and can get co-financing. This process is just beginning," said the Prime Minister.

The answers given by Denkov did not satisfy the unions. Local people will decide how the protests will continue.

"I don't think the government should have sent a deputy minister, whose name we don't know, to explain about the territorial plans for a just transition of the coal regions. The two main issues are the replacement power when coal plants are shut down and saving jobs."

With these words, GERB leader Boyko Borissov began his traditional morning statement to the media in the corridor of the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, energy workers from the Staro Zagora region and Kyustendil region have already blocked roads and are protesting.

"The plan, which we have not seen, should solve these issues. I want to call on the government to quickly explain what will happen there, and not to put the cart before the horse with the companies," said Boyko Borissov.

GERB-SDS supports the proposal to postpone the consideration of next year's budget due to the parliamentary vacation:

"We spent years without a budget. In addition, the parliament will be on vacation. More precisely, it will work, but on the ground for the local elections. The committees cannot work, and therefore we will support Asen Vassilev as much as necessary. Today he will present to us, in front of the people who work on the budget. This time we will not make the old mistakes and when the budget is presented, it will be voted on."

Borissov expects that support for the government can be confirmed through the results of the local elections:

"The three parties that currently participate in the non-coalition assembly as a bloc should have the most municipal councilors and the most mayors. This will reaffirm the government's power"

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms also supports the later submission of the budget for next year, said MP Delyan Peevski.

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Tags: Denkov, plans, protests, Borissov

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