President: Climate Change Measures Should Be Kept within Agreed Benchmarks

ESD 13:41:01 29-11-2018

President Radev:
Climate Change Measures Are Necessary but
Should Be Kept within Already Agreed Benchmarks

Sofia, November 29 (BTA) - Bulgaria backs the 2015 Paris Agreement and believes that climate change efforts are necessary and urgent. However, measures should be kept within the set agreements without further lowering the emission benchmarks and should take into consideration the state and development prospects of national energy systems, President Rumen Radev wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday.

The post comes amid escalating concerns in Bulgaria among workers, the unions, employers in the sector and the government over the future of coal mining and coal-fuelled power plants in this country on the backdrop of plans for more stringent emission standards and costlier emission allowances - and ahead of the 2018 Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, on December 3-4.

Bulgaria can't afford to lose competitiveness in the energy sector and will work to keep the social rights of workers, wrote the President.

He recalls that he has expressed this view since he assumed office and that he had presented it at the European Council meetings in early 2017 before the formation of the incumbent government.

Radev says that under his instructions the caretaker environment minister had presented it at an EU Environment Council where Bulgaria disagreed to lower carbon emission benchmarks further.

On Friday the President is scheduled to meet with representatives of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) and the Podkrepa Labour Confederation at their request. Radev says he is confident that the opinion of the trade unions will concur with the position already expressed by him.

The unions already had a meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov Wednesday evening to discuss the situation in the energy sector. Representatives of employers' organizations also attended the meeting at the Council of Ministers, Cabinet reported late on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova, Chair of the Parliamentary Energy Committee Delyan Dobrev, the heads of CITUB and the Podkrepa Confederation of Labour, Plamen Dimitrov and Dimiter Manolov, Kiril Domuschiev of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria, Vassil Velev of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association, as well as representatives of the Bulgarian Industrial Association, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bulgarian Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers.

The leaders of the trade unions raised the question of retaining the Maritsa East energy complex's capacity, underscoring the reasons for their protests. Minister Petkova familiarized the participants in the meeting with the measures taken by the Government in this regard. She noted that the mines and the thermal power plants (TPPs) from the Maritsa Basin are of strategic importance for the functioning of the energy system in Bulgaria and the region. Bulgaria's position for the upcoming Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland, was also discussed.

Bulgaria's position, adopted by the Council of Ministers, does not support more ambitious goals concerning carbon emissions.

According to employers, the measures for the Bulgarian energy sector's liberalization must continue. The participants in the meeting agreed that the sale of electricity at market prices will guarantee the sector's stability in the long run. RY/MY/RY/PP

Source: Sofia