Bulgarian PM: Energy Is Only Risk for Gov't

Domestic | October 30, 2015, Friday // 20:28|  views

Photo by BGNES

Energy is "the only risk for the government," against the backdrop of other sectors where a clear program and strategy are being applied, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said.

In an interview with public broadcaster BNT, Borisov underscored the BGN 3.8 B deficit in the sector, reminding it had been “inherited” from previous governments who had embarked on large-scale projects. 

His comments on energy followed a question about his move to dismiss Deputy Energy Minister Anton Pavlov earlier on Friday. Borisov then explained he was not satisfied with his work.

Commenting on local elections in Bulgaria and the cyber attack that hit the database of election authorities, he said: “As a ruling party we also bear responsibility for holding the elections. It was a heavy blow to us.”

On another development – the post-election chaos with hundreds of people trapped inside a sports hall where ballots were being counted – he said election officials were to blame. Earlier on Friday, he asked Delyana Ivanova, the head of the municipal election commission in Sofia, to step down. He later told BNT the right decision had been that “whomever we appointed there [to the commission], we should remove them. I don’t even know her name.” Ivanova was appointed as part of GERB’s quota to election bodies.

Asked about the latest series of incidents with nationalist Ataka party’s leader, Volen Siderov, he said Siderov had behaved normally the last time they met ten days earlier. “I hope he’ll recover”.

He also embraced the idea put forward by members of his GERB party of partially lifting lawmakers’ immunity in light of Siderov’s actions and the need to act more swiftly against criminal offenses done by MPs.

“The Prime Minister has no immunity, ministers have no immunity. Our job isn’t easy, it’s difficult, but we do it without immunity.” Bulgaria’s society will feel relief if lawmakers acting improperly outside Parliament are subject to legal sanctions.

About the attack against former undercover agent Alexei Petrov, in which two grenade launchers were used against his car in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, Borisov said:

“I’ve known him [Alexei Petrov] for 35 years, I know he is the best expert. If he is watching this now, I call him… to tell if he knows something.”

Petrov, a formerly a secret agent with counter-intelligence and part of the Specialized Squad for Combating Terrorism, was an associate to Borisov in a private security firm back in the 1990s.

Pointing to the importance of Maritsa Mortorway’s completion on Thursday, he voiced his hope to have the respective motorways to Serbia (Sofia-Belgrade) and to Greece ready over the course of a few years, but also to finish work at Hemus, a major thoroughfare in Northern Bulgaria linking Sofia and Varna, by the end of next year.

Borisov also commented on a recent spat with Russia that followed his remarks about Bulgaria having halted a number of Russian projects, apparently to the benefit of the United States. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov then retorted Bulgaria’s head of government should be ashamed before his voters.

“Lavrov is the best diplomat in the world at the moment, in my opinion. But he made several mistakes.”

"Lavrov, tiny as I am in his eyes, I can at least annoy him a little.”

Syria was also broached in the interview, with Borisov reiterating the government’s calls on Europe to back Turkey in its idea to set up a safe zone in Syria.

“This is the viable [solution to the migrant crisis]. Not that I’ve come up with it. I put it forward [at EU summits] every time. What is more plausible: that [migrants] stay near [Syria’s] border and return if the war ends? Why should one bring them to Berlin and then send them back?”

A reference was also made to what the MP apparently believes is the essence of the Syria crisis: “It [Syria] was a thriving state, almost like Bulgaria. We imported democracy for them [Syrians] and razed it to the ground.”


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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Anton Pavlov, migrants, Syria, turkey, Maritsa, sofia, local elections


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