Bulgarian PM: Belene N-Plant Not on My Agenda with Putin

Business | November 12, 2010, Friday // 14:00|  views

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov will meet his Russian counterpart Saturday, apparently focusing on the South Stream project. Photo by BGNES

The focus of the meeting between Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will not be on the Belene Nuclear Power Plant, but on the South Stream gas pipeline, according to Borisov himself.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister added that no third country has been involved in the negotiations and urged the Bulgarian pundits not to believe in foreign media guesses, probably referring to recent article published in a major Russian newspaper, which mentioned that Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi has an alleged role in the Bulgarian-Russian negotiations on South Stream.

The high-profile meeting between the Bulgarian and Russian PMs, which is scheduled for Saturday, was expected to revolve around three major projects on Bulgarian soil, in which the Russian state is involved: the South Stream gas pipeline, the Belene NPP and , the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

Of these three, the South Stream gas pipeline seems closest to materializing. During its regular meeting on Wednesday, the Bulgarian government decided in favor of the setting up of a joint venture with Russian gas company Gazprom for the construction of the Bulgarian route of South Stream, thus finally dispelling any doubts about its commitment to the Russian-sponsored gas pipeline.

The Burgas-Alexandroupolis project is apparently put on hold, since the the project's environmental impact assessment was stated unsatisfactory by the Bulgarian Ministry Environment.

The Belene project was not considered unproblematic either, but it was expected that on Saturday Borisov and Putin will shake hands not only on South Stream, but also on the Nuclear Power Plant. The Russian state company Atomstroyexport was supposed to build Belene, but Bulgaria under Borisov has been haggling with its parent company Rosatom about the exact price.

Recently, the Bulgarian government invited Serbia and Croatia to join the Belene NPP project. Croatia has already chosen not to participate, while Serbia attempted to increase its share in Bulgaria's future Nuclear Power Plant from the initially proposed 1% to 2% to 5%

After Borisov's statement, it seems most probable that the main focus on Satuday's meeting between Borsiov and Putin will be on South Stream.

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Tags: Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, Vladimir Putin, Belene Nuclear Power Plant, Burgas Alexandroupolis, South Stream gas pipeline, Russia


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