Bulgaria Must Notify EU of Possible Decision to Restart Belene NPP Project, Juncker Tells Borisov

Bulgaria in EU | August 4, 2016, Thursday // 17:18|  views

Photo by EPA/BGNES

If Bulgaria decides to build a new nuclear reactor, it must notify such an investment project to the European Commission as required by the Euratom Treaty, the head of the EU executive body has said.

“The European Commission fully respects the right of Bulgaria to determine its energy mix,” the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has said in a letter to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

The government press office in Sofia released on Thursday a facsimile of the letter in English and a translation of its text into Bulgarian. The document, which carries no date, is Juncker’s reply to a letter from Borisov on the situation of the energy sector in Bulgaria dated 7 July 2016.

Borisov indicated last month that it was still possible to restart the project to build a nuclear plant in Belene, on the Danube river. The project was cancelled by Borisov's previous government in 2012.

Jean-Claude Juncker also notes that thanks to Borisov’s engagement in particular, “tangible progress is being made in the region“ of southeastern Europe as regards a better integration of the energy systems into the European markets and increasing security of supply through diversification of energy importrs.

“The High-level Group meeting taking place in Budapest on 8-9 September will mark concrete progress on a number of key infrastructure projects, including on the [gas] interconnectors  of Bulgaria with Romania, Serbia and Greece,” Juncker says in the letter.

He adds that based on its cooperation with the European Commission Bulgaria has been able to secure an alternative source of gas – LNG from Greece.

“Taken together, all these developments mark important steps towards the Balkan Gas Hub concept, on which the Commission continues to work very hard and which could also include new gas supply infrastructure from Russia in a manner that is fully compatible with EU rules,” Juncker says.

He also says that in this context and with the help of the Commission Bulgaria is organising a stakeholder/investor roundtable meeting in Varna next month which will be an opportunity for the EU executive to renew its support to the gas hub project.  

In 2014, Russia abandoned its South Stream project designed to carry Russian gas to Europe under the Black Sea and Bulgaria’s territory over objections of the European Commission.  The pipeline was planned to come ashore near Varna.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Borisov, Juncker, European Commission, balkan gas hub, Belene


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