Bulgaria: To Clean after Borissov in Brussels Is Overwhelming Task, Will Radev Manage?

Domestic | May 28, 2021, Friday // 18:06|  views

President Rumen Radev had not set foot at the  European Council since 2017and now found out that he had to watch his step in Brussels. His reflexes of  a soldier put him on the lookout because former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov had planted mines that could explode all of a sudden.

After an urgent change in agenda because of the plane diversion incident in Belarus, European leaders have returned to one of their priority themes – the Green Deal. For Bulgaria, this topic is more unpleasant than pulling out a tooth. Borissov, who has never been a favorite of the "greens", was saved from it by readily giving consent to any proposal, but with a second thought - he never planned to deliver on his promises. "There is no government greener than ours," he assured his European partners. At the same time, he was turning a blind eye on how the last beaches in Bulgaria are buried under concrete, how greedy businessmen cut down forests clearing plots for new ski slopes and lifts, how  his cronies import European garbage...

Complaints in Brussels from Bulgarian environmentalists raised suspicions about his sincerity, but he dispelled them in one stroke on December 11, 2020.During his last in-person appearance at the European Council (after that all sessions were held remotely because of Covid) he made his boldest promise: by 2030 Bulgaria would cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 55% compared to the level in 1990.Which meant the country would give up more than half its energy and production capacities emitting greenhouse gas. It was never clear what the country would replace them with, but Borissov emphasized renovation as a method of saving energy, which means his own savings kept in the drawer.

Borissov's intimate thoughts did not mean anything to European leaders and they reminded Radev that Bulgaria has already made a commitment which it must fulfill. Confronted with an accomplished fact, Radev said:

"In this situation our duty is to defend, as far as we can, our interests and to convince our European partners that if someone wants us to achieve this as a national goal - and it is already requested, it is enshrined in the documents - they must support us extremely seriously, otherwise our problems will be huge."

Better one small fish than an empty dish

Such is the foreign policy of the state, which instead of agreeing acceptable terms before signing a deal, tries to invent them post-factum. Making the same mistake twice can be interpreted not only as nonsense, but also as a deliberate damage. Bulgaria gave up four nuclear reactors 15 years ago without agreeing European energy compensations.

Now we doing the same with the TPPs. But the situation with them is even more dramatic because they generate 46% of the electricity in the country. "If this goes away, we have to replace it with something else. And the way it is replaced will result in losing autonomy, because 50% of the energy mix of the country comes from coal and this makes us independent from resources, technologies, people", explained Radev.

According to the President, Bulgaria has only one way to defend itself – to team up with other victims of green transition, such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Italy and to rely on a collective pushback to negotiate more favorable terms. In his words, "great investment is needed, which must be provided by those who are pushing us in this direction."

The question is, who's pushing us?

The president's answer is: the rich. Because "if we do not take additional measures, the rich will become richer and the poor poorer and we will lose our competitiveness." Sounds logical, but is it? There are nuances here smacking of old rhetoric - the rich West aims to further impoverish poor East.

During the years of transition Bulgaria became noticeably impoverished, but it was not plundered by the West, but robbed by its own nationals. If he wants to find guilty rich people, Radev should look around our own home and nail them, because their predatory behavior doomed the state to be at the bottom of all European rankings. Using to the utmost the outdated technologies in coal mines and TPP is a behavior typical of parasitizing species that do not care about the fate of their host.They will only fall off when their parasitizing becomes unprofitable – for example, when the price of greenhouse gas emissions exceeds the revenues from the sale of "cheap" electricity.

The Bulgarian Energy Mafia is not poor,

but because of it, the population is impoverished. Usually the state points to our misery in order to soften the hearts of Europeans and loosen their purse strings. And Radev has no other argument to lean on.However Borissov has already made it meaningless, because everyone will say now: How come you found BGN 3 billion to build a transit pipeline through your territory, and at the same time you have no money to replace the poor-quality lignite coal in your TPP?

Why didn't you ask for a branch connection from the pipeline for your own needs – didn’t you plan to have a Balkan gas hub? Why didn't you build your interconnector with Greece to reduce your dependence on Russian natural gas, and now you're complaining that you would lose your coal autonomy?

Apart from that, we have to ask ourselves: Why do we keep two paid nuclear reactors in warehouses? Borissov did not dare to install them, because the Americans always teased him: Watch out for corruption! In order not to wash dirty linen in public, "forget" about energy capacity of 2,000 MW. And nuclear energy and natural gas are considered to be tolerable transitional sources in the EU prior to the transition of energy generation to zero pollutants of nature.

In ten years of mixing in high European circles, Borissov did not learn foreign languages, but he developed a mentality of an international beggar. Radev took a different course, because while he was in Brussels, the European Commission announced on 25 May that Bulgaria will receive a grant worth EUR 511 million, part of the seventh tranche of financial support under the SURE instrument.

But this should not trick Radev into going Borisov's way, because it has many dangerous pitfalls. Before you ask for help from abroad, you have to help yourself. The time of  the caretaker government he appointed is short but enough to do something very important: bring to light at least a few of the shady affairs and start off a healing process. Large parasites do not even hide, but live with a sense of impunity, because the state cared for them as if they are the most valuable national capital. More valuable even than coal, for which Europe is shedding tears./Svetoslav Terziiski, SEGA daily, translation Novinite.com

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Tags: Bulgaria, President Radev, Brussels, Borissov's legacy


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