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  1. #26
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    Fuel Prices in Bulgaria to Stabilize at Current Levels - Energy Minister

    April 24, 2012

    Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev has rejected claims that the cost of transferring the reactor earmarked for the Belene NPP to the Kozloduy NPP will be costlier than the implementation of the scrapped Belene project.



    Photo by Sofia Photo Agency


    Fuel prices in Bulgaria will stabilize around their current levels, according to Delyan Dobrev, Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism.

    In a Tuesday interview for private TV station Nova TV, he explained that high fuel prices were driven by the cost of crude oil on international markets and the high excise tax rates in the EU.

    Dobrev spoke about the dangers inherent in price-fixing agreements but assured that the state had mechanisms to impose stringent penalties for the infringement.

    The Energy Minister opposed EU plans to increase excise tax rates on diesel.

    "Excise tax rates in Europe are higher than in the US but Bulgaria is a full-fledged member of the EU and can therefore defend its interests within the Council of the European Union," Dobrev added.

    Commenting on biodiesel, he advised against "measures of last resort" in environmental protection.

    Dobrev went on to say that the money for the Belene NPP project had long been spent because the equipment had been ordered before the issuance of a construction permit and Bulgaria was now paying a loan for this.

    A report of Belene NPP consultant HSBC published Monday stated that the N-plant would have cost been EUR 10.35 B, or over BGN 22 B, under the most optimistic scenario.

    Dobrev, however, ruled out such an option as "impossible", given the current condition of financial markets.

    Bulgaria's Energy Minister suggested that the cost of the suspended nuclear power plant project could have reached EUR 30 B.

    "Apart from the fact that Belene NPP proved to be costlier than what we had been told, we also had no plan for its construction," the Minister observed.

    Dobrev reminded that the HSBC report contained a price tag for the electricity that would have been generated by the Belene NPP - EUR 75 per MW/h, or BGN 150.

    The Energy Minister rejected allegations that that the installation of the nuclear reactor initially earmarked for the Belene NPP at the Kozloduy NPP would cost as much as the scrapped Belene project.

    He said that the costs for the transfer of the reactor as a a seventh unit at the Kozloduy NPP would amount to tens of millions, rather than billions, that would have been necessary for the Belene N-plant.

    Dobrev further dismissed claims that the national power utility NEK was facing bankruptcy due to the EUR 250 M loan taken from six banks for purchasing equipment for the Belene NPP.

    He specified that two of the six banks were against a loan extension and the money that was urgently needed was EUR 55 M.

    The Energy Minister explained that the government was doing its best to find additional funding to pay back the money to those banks.

    "It is a tough situation but I am sure we will find a solution," he concluded.
    Source: Bulgaria: Fuel Prices in Bulgaria to Stabilize at Current Levels - Energy Minister - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency

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    Bulgaria Saw Fourfold Growth of Chinese Investments 2011

    April 24, 2012



    File photo of Chinese Ambassador to Bulgaria Guo Yezhou


    Bulgaria observed a fourfold growth of Chinese investments in 2011, according to Chinese Ambassador to the country, Guo Yezhou.

    "Until the beginning of 2011, Chinese investment in Bulgaria was USD 16 million, while at the end of 2011 it reached USD 70 million," Guo has revealed, as cited by Xinhua.

    He added that Chinese investment in Bulgaria is currently concentrated in the areas of agriculture, automotive, renewable energy and environmental protection.

    According to Guo, Bulgaria's exports to China increased by 42% year on year in 2011, while the first two months of 2012 saw a 100% increase year on year.

    On Monday, the envoy participated in a a scientific conference on China's development, jointly organized by the Federation of Bulgarian-Chinese Friendship and the Bulgarian Anti-Fascist Union.
    Source: Bulgaria: Bulgaria Saw Fourfold Growth of Chinese Investments 2011 - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency

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    Bulgaria Ups Highway Speed Limit in Controversial Move

    April 25, 2012



    Photo by Sofia Photo Agency


    Bulgaria's MPs have approved at first reading proposed legislative amendments that allow the country's highway speed limit to grow from 130 km/h to 140 km/h (87 mph).

    "We want to increase the speed limit because of the new highways under construction and the new, high quality roads. The existing restrictions will remain in the risky road sections," explained Regional Development Minister Liliana Pavlova.

    The opposition right-wing Blue Coalition and left-wing Bulgarian Socialist Party have harshly criticized the increase of the highway speed limit.

    According to them this would cause a significant increase in fatalities and road accidents, which, having in mind the decrease in traffic accident victims over the past year or two, would take Bulgaria back to a very unfavorable situation.

    Bulgaria's Interior Ministry initially rejected the idea for an increased highway speed limit. However, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has pointed out that the increase will be valid only for certain sections of the highways.
    Source: Bulgaria: Bulgaria Ups Highway Speed Limit in Controversial Move - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency

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    Bulgaria Moves to Seduce More Macedonian Tourists

    April 24, 2012

    Thousands of tourists from Bulgaria, Greece, and Macedonia chose to spend the Orthodox Easter holidays in the southwestern Bulgarian resort town of Sandanski.



    Photo by BGNES


    Bulgaria will try to attract a greater number of Macedonian tourists, as the country is to present itself at the Skopje Travel Market 2012 that is launched on Tuesday.

    New products, lesser known tourist routes and detailed information on Bulgaria's Spa and wellness centers will be presented at the Macedonian tourism fair, the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism has announced.

    Companies from Sofia, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo and the Black Sea summer resorts will be featured at the Bulgarian pavilion.

    The fair's visitors will have the opportunity to taste Bulgarian wines. The Skopje Travel Market 2012 ends on April 28.

    In 2011, a total of 382 826 Macedonian tourists visited Bulgaria, which is a 23.5% increase year on year.
    Source: Bulgaria: Bulgaria Moves to Seduce More Macedonian Tourists - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency

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    Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia Seek to Boost Agriculture Cooperation

    April 24, 2012


    Bulgaria's Agriculture Minister Miroslav Naydenov has departed on a two-day official visit to Saudi Arabia, the Ministry's press office has announced.

    The visit is at the invitation of the Saudi Minister of Agriculture, Fahd bin Abd al-Rahman bin Sulayman Balghunaym.

    The two Ministers are expected to discuss their countries' cooperation in the field of Agriculture.

    Naydenov will visit the Al Safi Dairy company and the King Khalid Wildlife Research Centre.
    Source: Bulgaria: Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia Seek to Boost Agriculture Cooperation - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency

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