PM Borissov Attends European Council, Comments Covid, Green Deal, Regional Issues
June 11 (BTA Correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) - Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said here Friday that the mandatory COVID-related quarantine period in Bulgaria will be reduced to 10 days from the present 14 days. ''I have given instructions that children must go to school,'' he also said. In wide-ranging remarks for the press on arrival for the second day of a European Council in Brussels, he spoke about the coronavirus measures, the Green Deal discussions and regional issues.
''We finally have a unified action plan from the European Commission, this time they have worked hard on it,'' Borissov said commenting the pan-European measures against the COVID-19 pandemic which are being discussed. ''I think we are late, we should have done it in July. Many EU countries are taking measures that cause panic in other countries and create discord,'' Borissov said.
He summed up statements from his counterparts that wearing masks prevents the spread of the infection but not fully. ''In Bulgaria, we must comply with the requirements set by the Ministry of Health,'' said Borissov.
He hailed the swiftness of action by the European Commission with regard to a coronavirus vaccine and said that it is important to have a transparent process of production and procurement, and affordable prices.
"We have to trust the professors fully and not experiment much on health issues," he commented.
He added that Bulgaria spends more than 120,000 leva a day on tests.
The EU funding for dealing with the economic aftermath of the pandemic, which is expected to come in the next EU budget, is not yet available, Borissov said.
He said that it will be a major accomplishment if the budget talks end in January - February.
Green Deal discussions left for December
Regarding the negotiations on the so-called Green Deal, which sets out measures towards a cleaner economy and reduction of damage to nature, the Prime Minister said he had presented Bulgaria's problems, along with those of other countries that use coal for energy production. The issue will be discussed again by the European Council in December.
Borissov expects that the EU could agree to lower the pollution reduction target to 55 per cent by 2030 from the 1990 levels. ''We must prepare very quickly with alternatives for after 2030, it will be very difficult for countries such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Poland, to cope,'' said Borissov.
He noted that some EU countries are not happy with having the money for a clean-up of the economy go for nuclear energy projects. Bulgaria should carefully and promptly think of things other than new power generating facilities, he said adding that Bulgaria has network losses of close to 1,000 MW - from buildings and inefficient productions, and can do much to lower these losses by retrofitting buildings and replacing the lighting.
The Prime Minister said that Bulgaria has a lot of work to do. ''This is an EU decision and they will be very strict about it'', he added.
Borissov thankful to President Radev
The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to the President Rumen Radev for saying during a visit to Athens earlier in October that Bulgaria and Greece are "a bridge of stability". "My colleague Kiriakos Mitsotakis told me that he [President Radev] had lots of good words about Bulgaria. We have done so many things with the Greek: interconnectors, investments, joint productions. We continue to support them for as much dialogue with Turkey and Cyprus as possible, for resolving the problem in the Mediterranean," Borissov added.
His remark apparently meant to highlight a change he saw in the President's traditionally strong criticism for the Boyko Borissov government, especially in recent months.
Borissov added that he is in favour of immediate dialogue among Athens, Nicosia and Ankara, and withdrawal of the Turkish vessels. "Any assistance and help they have asked of us, we have provided," said the Prime Minister. He added that he is going to have a meeting with President Macron on regional issues, including the EU accession of North Macedonia and Albania. RY,RI/DT,LN