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05.08.2014 16:35
South Stream Still Suspended in Bulgaria after Caretaker Government Was Announced
Energy board to guarantee transparency in Bulgaria’s energy sector; South Stream construction still on hold

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Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev announced Tuesday the members of the caretaker government after now ex-PM Plamen Oresharski tended the resignation of his cabinet a week ago. Georgi Bliznashki, renowned law professor and former European MP, is to succeed Oresharski. The main responsibilities of the caretaker government will be to arrange the general elections scheduled for October 5 and review the current state budget. As expected, the Bliznashki cabinet will also be responsible for the promotion of Kristalina Georgieva as Bulgaria’s candidate for EU foreign affairs minister.

Two of the vice-PMs are to assume their posts for the second time since the interim government of 2013 – vice-PM for finance and regional development minister  Ekaterina Zaharieva and European funds vice-PM Iliana Tsanova. Prof. Jordan Hristiskov, former employment minister in the first years of Bulgarian democracy, was appointed as deputy PM of social policy. Hristo Ivanov, programme director of the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives will serve as vice PM and minister be in charge of justice.

Bulgaria’s head of state named Vasil Shtonov minister of economy and energy. Shtonov has previously worked as investment banker and consultant in the field of energy and telecoms. Until his appointment as minister he was the marketing manager of Bulgarian cable TV supplier Blizoo.

Energy Board for transparency

President Plevneliev described the situation in Bulgaria’s energy sector as critical. A way out will be sought through the introduction of a so-called “energy board” with the support of Bulgarian and foreign experts in the field so that transparency is increased. This idea was proposed by a group of established energy experts earlier in 2014.

South Stream remains suspended

The project for South Stream gas pipeline is to remain suspended at least until all EU requirements are met.

“We support any pipeline project in Bulgaria. We are in favour of South Stream under the condition that it is realised in compliance with EU rules”, President Plevneliev stated.

Preparatory work still underway

This affirmation comes after Bulgarian media reported that the agriculture ministry allowed the Gazprom – Bulgarian Energy Holding joint venture for the construction of the pipeline in Bulgaria – “South Stream Bulgaria” – to buy land along the projected pipeline route. Now ex-agriculture minister Dimitar Grekov argued that the procedure did not contradict the orders earlier given by ex-PM Oresharski, as preparatory work did not fall under the activities questioned by the EU. 

TAGS: Bulgaria | caretaker government | energy | South Stream | gas | pipeline | politics | energy policy | transparency | energy board | Rosen Plevneliev | Kristalina Georgieva 

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20.03.2022  Teodor Bobochikov, Managing Partner, V-Ridium
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