Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov is expected to visit Russia before the end of May to discuss joint energy projects, several media reports in Bulgarian media claimed on May 22.
Borissov’s visit is tentatively scheduled for May 29-30, according to the reports, which have not been officially confirmed by the Bulgarian government.
The reports come on the second day of Bulgarian President Roumen Radev’s official visit to Russia. On the first day, Radev met with Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, who said afterwards that he was hoping to meet his Bulgarian counterpart in the near future.
Radev is also scheduled to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin on May 22. Ahead of the meeting, Russian news agency TASS reported that the documents prepared for Putin included a July 2018 deadline for Bulgaria to clarify how it intends to use the equipment built by Russia’s Atomstroyexport for the Belene nuclear power plant.
The project was shelved by a previous Borissov cabinet in 2012, but was forced to purchase Atomstroyexport’s reactors after losing a 600 million euro arbitration case in 2016.
Last week, the Bulgarian government said that it would table a motion in Parliament asking for the legislative body’s approval to “resume activities to seek opportunities to build the Belene nuclear power plant”. Any plans to use the reactors, however, would require the approval of the Russian company that built them.
During his visit, Radev has also raised the issue of direct natural gas deliveries from Russia under the Black Sea. Borissov, who has championed the idea of a ‘Balkan gas hub’ near Varna, has also repeatedly attempted to secure Russian supplies for the project and could once again try his luck during the upcoming visit.