site.btaUPDATED PM, Employers' Organizations Agree that State Energy Strategy Should be Prepared within Months
Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov met with representatives of the employers’ organizations in Sofia on Wednesday. “We are in full agreement that an energy strategy for the country should be prepared in the next few months,” he noted.
"This energy strategy should be based on the modelling of the development of the energy system, which we were able to do in June, July and August. What the colleagues have proposed, and it is very useful, is that this energy strategy can be complemented with an industrial strategy, because the biggest consumers of electricity are large industrial enterprises," Denkov explained.
The Prime Minister met with representatives of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association, the Bulgarian Industrial Association, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists of Bulgaria.
"When predicting what will happen with the energy capacities in the country, we must take into account what is the expectation for the development of energy-intensive industrial production," Denkov said.
He stated that the other topic discussed in detail at the meeting related to the workforce. "On the one hand, there is a shortage. On the other hand, in terms of regions, we are talking about workers who feel threatened. Part of the task is to make those people who are currently worried about their future understand that there could be better opportunities for them, with better pay and a better working environment. That means attracting investors. That was the third topic that we talked about - how to create a process that is transparent and clear, where the best national and international investors are invited in the three regions, but not only there. This way we can ensure the economic development of the country and the best possible conditions for the workers and their families in these regions," the Prime Minister stressed.
The Stara Zagora region has all the conditions an industrial investor should be interested in, Denkov pointed out. The whole energy system is centred around Stara Zagora, there are motorways, Turkiye and Greece are extremely close, there is a very fast access to Sofia and the West, he underlined. The Prime Minister added that on October 9 talks are to be held with the Greek and Serbian prime ministers on how to develop the motorways and the north-south roads, some of which go to Stara Zagora. "The region has a huge future if we manage to implement what we are currently discussing," Denkov said.
He said there should be appropriate incentives for investors to come to these regions, such as infrastructure and business environment. It is necessary to think about how to encourage workers to seek other types of employment, which would be in a more welcoming environment and require additional qualification, the PM said, adding that such opportunities are provided. "However, I can see in my conversations with the protesters that they do not believe what they are being told. We have to work together to break this mistrust," Denkov stressed.
He added that he received criticism from the employers' organizations about the government's communication on some issues and recommendations for its improvement.
"I agree. The truth is that we were extremely stressed with the tight deadlines in which we had to complete our tasks. Somehow communication remained on the back burner," Denkov noted.
The main measures envisaged in the Territorial Just Transition Plans and the possibility of participation of large enterprises in changing the economic image of Stara Zagora were also discussed.
On Tuesday, Denkov took part in a meeting with protesting energy workers and miners in the National Assembly building. After the negotiations, he announced that an agreement had been signed.
"We have done everything that can be done at the present moment. Negotiations on these documents began with their submission on September 30. The conversation should be on how to improve these documents, not putting ultimatums," he said.