Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov has said that he will raise with other EU leaders the question of compensation for countries negatively affected by Russian counter-sanctions, saying that his had lost 80 million euro because of Moscow’s embargo on agricultural produce.
He said that should a planned European Council meeting on July 12 – called to discuss the Greece crisis – go ahead, he would raise the issue of losses because of the counter-sanctions and ask for help.
Borissov, speaking on July 11, said that Bulgaria was making huge efforts to absorb European funds, while losing money because of sanctions and counter-sanctions.
“Will there be a rescue plan for those affected by the sanctions? Our losses so far are 80 million euro. So this is something that I will put on the table with my colleagues, because we are among the worst-affected in this regard,” he told reporters.
Borissov also spoke on the issue after July 10 talks in Sofia with European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister said that his country hoped for understanding and support from the European Commission because of the losses endured because of counter-sanctions by Russia on dairy, fruit and vegetables.
Such support would be necessary to prevent producers going bankrupt, Borissov said.
A government media statement quoted Hogan as saying, “we must ensure that Bulgaria does not continue to suffer from the Russian embargo, notably the dairy sector, which has serious problems”. According to the statement, during Hogan’s visit to the Bulgarian capital, practical actions that could be implemented in the short term were discussed.
Borissov’s comments on the sanctions and counter-sanctions issue came a few days after Russian agency Itar-TASS claimed that Borissov had expressed hope that the sanctions on Russia, imposed by the EU over Moscow’s actions regarding Ukraine, would be lifted soon.
However, the full interview, a copy of which was made available by the Bulgarian government, showed that Borissov’s remarks had been taken out of context and used selectively, omitting Borissov’s stated support for the sanctions against Russia and his lauding of the EU’s positive role in Bulgaria’s development.
(Photo: Council of the EU)