Bulgarian MPs vote to accept presidential veto on Energy Act amendments

Bulgarian Parliament voted on January 27 to revise the bill amending the country’s Energy Act, removing a provision that was vetoed earlier this week by President Roumen Radev.

The provision in question would have allowed the country’s electric grid operator ESO to use an imbalance settlement period of one hour until the end of 2023.

In his veto motives, Radev said that this breached two separate EU regulations, which stipulate a harmonised imbalance settlement period of 15 minutes in EU member states.

As EU law has primacy over domestic legislation of the bloc’s member states, the proposed changes breached the principle of the rule of law and would have a negative impact on the market and society, Radev argued.

At a sitting on January 25, Parliament’s energy committee voted to endorse the presidential veto and strike down the provision. The vote in the National Assembly on January 27 to amend the bill in line with the veto passed with 136 votes in favour.

Bulgaria’s constitution grants the head of state a limited power of veto, through enabling the President to return legislation to the National Assembly for further discussion. The National Assembly may overturn the President’s veto through a simple majority vote or accept the veto and review the vetoed clauses.

Since taking office in January 2017, Radev made liberal use of the power and this was his 30th vetoed bill. This was only the third time that Radev’s veto was endorsed and the vetoed provisions struck from the law.

In one instance in an earlier legislature, the government coalition failed to muster the support needed to overturn the veto. The National Assembly overturned the veto on every other occasion.

(Bulgarian Parliament. Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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