Bulgaria’s Parliament voted on July 6 to mandate Energy Minister Roumen Radev (not to be confused with the eponymous head of state) to conduct negotiations with Ukraine on the sale of equipment from Bulgaria’s never-completed Belene nuclear power station to Ukraine.
The decision was adopted with 155 votes in favour, from GERB-UDF, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and 57 against, from pro-Kremlin Vuzrazhdane and the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
The vote coincided with the one-day visit to Bulgaria by Ukrainain President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
On July 6, Zelenskyy and Bulgsarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov were scheduled to sign a joint memorandum on energy cooperation, the text of which was approved by Bulgaria’s pro-Western government on the eve of the Ukrainian President’s visit.
Parliament’s decision requires that the negotiations on the sale of the Belene equipment be held within 60 days of the July 6 vote, and sets a minimum price of the euro equivalent of 1.17 billion leva.
The decision also rescinds a June 2018 vote to explore ways to complete the construction of Belene, a project initiated during Bulgaria’s communist era and which involves Russian technology.
WCC-DB MP Ivailo Mirchev told bTV on July 5 that talks with Ukraine about the sale of Belene equipment started half a year ago, but had not been completed. Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, who took office a month ago, has accelerated the process.
“Belene NPP has been a corrupt project for many years. We paid billions, huge commissions were taken. If we don’t sell the equipment to Ukraine now, we are left with this scrap metal. It cannot be used anywhere because no one wants to work with Russia We must do everything possible to get the most out of this project,” Mirchev said.
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