site.btaUPDATED New Fee for Russian Gas to/via Bulgaria Put on Hold

New Fee for Russian Gas to/via Bulgaria Put on Hold
New Fee for Russian Gas to/via Bulgaria Put on Hold
A metering station on the Bulgaria-Serbia gas interconnector, Kalotina (BTA Photo)

It transpired Monday that Bulgaria is putting on hold a new fee of BGN 20/MWh for the import and transit of Russian gas via Bulgaria. The fee was introduced by the government in October, angering Hungary and Serbia - and President Rumen Radev. The decision for halting the enforcement of the fee was announced by Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) co-leader Kiril Petkov. He said it is backed by all parties supporting the government. That means his own CC-DB, GERB-UDF and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF).

Petkov said: "We are postponing the enforcement of the fee. We are working with the European Commission and when they come up with an overall mechanism - if they do - we will go ahead and apply the fee. We will follow the common European approach. This free should not be unilateral,  Bulgarian-only. We have to work with the EC so that together with all EU member states we can apply this fee in a way that will also have an effect on the Russian economy."

MRF floor leader Delyan Peevski confirmed that the fee "is getting shelved for now".

Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov commented that "common European solutions are being sought". "We are seeking a common European framework where the decision on the fee would fit in," he told reporters. 

The government has said that the fee would generate additional revenue for the country, would ensure level playing field of Russian pipeline gas and alternative non-Russian gas supplies, and reduce Russian revenues used in its war of aggression in Ukraine. Hungary and Serbia slammed Bulgaria's decision claiming that the fee would increase the price they pay for the Russian gas that they still use. President Radev joined the critics of the fee early on, saying that with it the government is acting against the interests of an EU and NATO partner country (Hungary) and a neighbour (Serbia), threatens to undermine Bulgaria's role as a gas transiting country and will bring to failure Bulgarian gas transmission and storage operator Bulgartransgaz. The President also took the matter to the Constitutional Court. The Republic of North Macedonia threatened to claim compensations from Bulgaria if the new fee results in a higher gas price for Bulgaria. The European Commission said it was discussing the new fee with the Bulgarian authorities.

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By 13:23 on 18.05.2024 Today`s news

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