British Ambassador to Bulgaria Recommends Curbing Energy Dependence on RussiaDiplomatic Channel | September 9, 2014, Tuesday // 09:53| views
British Ambassador to Bulgaria Jonathan Allen, photo by BGNES
British Ambassador to Bulgaria Jonathan Allen has suggested that the most important task for the caretaker government and its successors is to put an end to Bulgaria's dependence on Russia.
In a Tuesday interview for the Bulgarian National Television, he underscored that the EU was ready to help Bulgaria make its energy sector independent.
He said that forecasts about Russia were no easy matter and it was therefore essential to find new energy sources both in Bulgaria and in other EU member states.
Asked to comment on the need to build the South Stream gas pipeline, Jonathan Allen said he could not see how the project supported Bulgaria's goal of achieving energy independence from Russia.
He pointed out that the European Commission had a number of very serious questions for Bulgaria regarding the project, adding that the country had done right to suspend work on the gas pipeline and start drafting its replies to EC.
"If the government says that it stops work on the project and it replies to the EC, I trust the government," he added, as cited by dnevnik.bg.
Asked whether UK citizens were still afraid of a Bulgarian influx, he said that this was old news and reiterated that Bulgarians seeking jobs in the UK were welcome, but not the ones who were only after access to social security.
Jonathan Allen specified that Bulgaria had also taken steps to prevent abuse of its social security system, adding that the rules regulating the sphere were much more stringent than in the UK.
He said that he had recommended to his successor, Ema Hopkins, scheduled to take over duties as British Ambassador to Bulgaria in May 2015, to learn Bulgarian so that she could communicate with the people directly and make up her mind on different issues on her own.
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