Статията е достъпна и на български език тук.

Bulgaria should return on its path of becoming a normal European country. Bulgarian citizens have to exert significant efforts in order our country to be part of Europe. Bulgaria does not belong to the Orient or to Russia. Now it should once again, as it was a hundreds years ago, to become a transmitter of the European norms and the European behavior towards the Orient and Russia, but we should not let the opposite to happen.

These thoughts were provoked by the first meeting between the new Bulgarian PM, Mr. Boyko Borisov, and the PM of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin. As it was expected earlier, a major topic on the agenda was energy projects between Bulgaria and Russia, particularly the three major joint-projects– South Stream gas pipeline, Belene Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. The meeting was held in the usual formal and diplomatic bonne-tone, and apparently nothing significant happened at it. This was only at the surface, what stayed hidden to the public is probably much more. However within the diplomatic remarks exchanged by the two PMs there could be found very important messages. Implicitly were presented political intentions, which probably will predetermine not only the destiny of the joint energy projects, but also the Russian-Bulgarian economy and political relation as a whole, as well as the future geopolitical positioning of Bulgaria. Two things clarified after the meeting. At the first place, the PM Borisov confirmed internationally the earlier statement that Bulgaria will review and reevaluate the profitableness and further participation in the two of the above mentioned projects (Belene NPP and Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline). Many analysts commented that this is an attempt for a new political course which seeks to modify the Bulgaria’s dependence and to recede it of the Kremlin’s sphere of influence. On the other hand, PM of Russia seemingly demonstrated calmness and no any vexation about the hardened position of the new Bulgarian government on the joint energy projects. Mr. Putin’s words could be described with the classical American expression - Take it, or leave it. In other words, if Bulgaria wants to participate in these projects it should state it position as soon as possible, otherwise Russia will seek alternatives. Of course this is only at the surface – in fact the Russian economic and geopolitical interests are so serious, that most likely in the next months Moscow will tighten the pressure towards Bulgaria. Russia has shown many times that it knows very well how to utilize the European energy dependence for its political purposes. (the most recent example was the gas supplies crisis in the beginning of 2009).

So far the new center-right Bulgarian government has been giving signs that will change the Bulgarian political attitude towards Moscow, at least regarding the energy policy. Let’s remember, that in the beginning of 2008 the former government led by the Bulgarian socialist party (BSP) made in a completely non-transparent manner series of agreement with Russia in the energy sector. Then we from Bulgarian New Democracy (BND) party demanded the government to reveal to the public the parameters of the contracts. The main reason of our demand was that when the Bulgarian state signs long-term contracts, which will bind the country and will concern the Bulgarian taxpayers for the years to come, it is not normal the whole society to be left in full lack of information on the negotiations and the engagements.  Of course the BSP government did not pay any attention to the demands of the opposition at that time. It could be said that the non-transparency of the Russian-Bulgarian agreements was a continuation of the complete vagueness around the official Bulgarian position about the future of our energetics during the previous mandate (2005-2009).

In the view of the above mentioned I completely support the statement of the new Bulgarian government to make a complete revision of the energy contracts with Russia. This is one of the most hoped effects from the resignation of the political duet Stanishev-Parvanov, which worked obviously against the Bulgarian interests in the energy policy. Of course, the new course could not and should not seek a confrontation with the Russian side. This would not be in favor for nobody. We should base our relation with Russia on clear principles and national priorities. At first place, we should never forget that Bulgaria is a member of EU and we are an ally and partner of the European countries, and not of Russia. At second place, Bulgaria is a part of the Euro-Atlantic community of democratic countries. I say community, because such it is, despite of the desire of many to trigger confrontations between the EU and the USA. With Russia we want to develop friendly relations based on equality and mutual respect – once for all there should be forgotten the rough plans of Churchill and Stalin from the middle 20th century. Bulgaria now has powerful allies – let’s develop our relations with Russia in accordance with our goodwill and common interests.

As for the limitation of the opportunity of Russia to exert political pressure utilizing the energy dependence of Bulgaria and the other European countries, it is necessary our country to seek resolutions not independently, but within the framework of one coordinated energy policy of EU.

Hence, the construction of the South Stream pipeline is a matter which could find its resolution within the EU, and not through bilateral agreements between Russia and separate European countries, as Moscow is trying to do. If for EU and the common European policy is more profitable to be completed the South Stream instead of the Nabuko – OK. But if is not – that we should comply with the EU’s common interest.

The question for Belene NPP is very complicated. (There should be mentioned that within BND there were different opinions, part of them influenced by Mr. Jordan Kostadinov (the former Kozloduy NPP manager), who according to me intelligibly is highly one-sided on that issue). My personal opinion is that the right position could be elaborated when clearly and transparently are fulfilled few requirements. Firstly - to be presented complete expert estimation and economic justification of the project and the eventual consequences and loses in case it is canceled. Secondly – there should be categorical guarantees for fulfillment of the increased requirements of nuclear and radiation safety, as well as there should be implemented the best world practices for nuclear installations. Thirdly – there should be a complete transparence about the agreements with foreign investor, no matter private or governmental, who will participate in the realization of the project. This is indispensable in order to be prevented the threat Bulgaria to be put under energy dependence or the EU’s interest to be harmed. I think that it is most than unacceptable Russia alone to be let to build such a strategic object at Bulgarian territory. This should not happen.

As for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis project there are no more doubts that under the conditions by which the agreement was contracted and in the presence of highly negative opinion of the local population, the building of the pipeline could not continue. The approximately $ 40 millions per year, which Bulgaria could expect if the project is realized, look insignificant in comparison with the huge potential loses for Bulgarian tourist business. This sum is quite an insignificant also in the view of the possible ecological damages that could do a eventual failure of the pipeline. The Russian media announced that Moscow has an alternative way for the pipeline – Samsun-Ceyhan. Even this alternative project starts Bulgaria should have opportunities within the Organization of Black Sea Economic Cooperation to react and to demand compensation in case of ecological catastrophe.

In conclusion there should be mentioned one more very important thing – Bulgaria have to consider very well, in case it cease completely our joint energy project with Russia, whether our partners such as Greece, Romania and Turkey won’t take advantage from that. The trust toward them is a very expensive thing, especially in the view of the fact that our small and poor country was cheated by “friends” many times in the past. However, it appears to be a hard task situation to be correctly analyzed when the Bulgarian public sphere is dominated by experts, analysts, media and politicians, who are highly dependent and constantly trying to influence the public opinion in a direction favorable for foreign interests.

Напиши коментар