site.btaUPDATED GERB-UDF, CC-DB with Common Bill to Abolish Russian Oil Derogation
GERB-UDF and Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) are ready with a joint draft bill for the abolition of the derogation, which will satisfy both parties and will be submitted to Parliament on Friday, GERB leader Boyko Borissov told reporters in the National Assembly in the presence of Radoslav Ribarski of CC-DB and Energy Committee Chair Delyan Dobrev. Borissov emphasized that GERB-UDF and CC-DB will defend the bill together.
Borissov said that he and CC-DB co-leader Kiril Petkov agreed that it would be pointless to have two opposing bills "clash" in Parliament and allow the opposition to back one of them over the other, causing tensions between the two coalitions. That is why both CC-DB and GERB-UDF withdrew their individual bills.
Parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee Chair Jordan Tzonev MP of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) told reporters earlier Thursday that the informal power-sharing coalition of GERB-UDF and CC-DB, backed by the MRF, has agreed on January 1, 2024, as the end of Bulgaria's exemption from an EU ban on the export of derivatives from Russian oil.
The joint bill will reassure CC-DB, whose concerns are that fuel prices could be impacted during these two months, Borissov pointed out. At the same time, it is an opportunity to end the derogation sooner. "If there are shocks, they will be addressed after the rotation, when Mariya Gabriel is Prime Minister. Our colleagues (from CC-DB) were afraid that it would be a trap by GERB, when we insisted on January 1," Borissov said. He suggested that GERB and CC-DB will bear the blows together, if it comes to that, however, he was sceptical about such an outcome. "If necessary, I will tender my resignation," he added.
Borissov said that while no one can guarantee that the end of the derogation will not lead to soaring fuel prices or fuel deficit, he did recall that fuel prices under the derogation reached nearly BGN 4 per litre in 2022.
The leader of GERB-UDF said that he and his colleagues decided to keep an interim period for what has been produced in excess by December 31 this year by the Russian refinery, to allow the refinery to export it because of the insufficient storage capacity. These would be the final quantities of fuel of Russian origin to be exported from Bulgaria.
Ribarski commented on the concerns of GERB-UDF and CC-DB that the sanctions could be circumvented, which is a unifying point of the bill. He said that the penalties for those found to be circumventing the terms of the derogation have been significantly increased - BGN 20 million for a first offence and BGN 50 million for a second offence. A deadline is given to secure long-term supplies, so that there is no impact on the final price of petroleum products extracted from this oil, as well as to ensure that supplies do not stop mid-winter, Ribarski said.
Borissov and Ribarski said they had no knowledge of an imminent sale of Lukoil's business in Bulgaria.