BTA News

Finance Minister: President Radev’s Decision Casts Him as Gazprom’s Defender but This Will Not Stop New Gas Transit Fee

Finance Minister Assen Vassilev Thursday told reporters that President Rumen Radev will not stop the implementation of the law by referring to the Constitutional Court the new fee imposed on the import and transit of Russian gas to and via Bulgaria. All countries using the gas transmission network must prove if the natural gas is Russian or not, he said, adding that the first payments are due on November 14.

Earlier in the day, President Radev referred to the Constitutional Court the fee of BGN 20 per MWh which was enacted through revisions to the Act on Control over the Implementation of Restrictive Measures in View of Russia’s Actions Destabilizing the Situation in Ukraine, which took effect on October 13.

Vassilev said: “The President is not protecting the national interest, at least not the way I see it.” The fee is in the national interest of Bulgaria, not of the Russian Federation and Gazprom. With this decision, Radev declared himself as Gazprom’s defender. His decision is against the policy of Bulgaria and its government, this is a shame for the presidential institution, the Finance Minister said.

He said the fee does not make gas more expensive for consumers in Serbia, North Macedonia and Hungary but makes it less profitable for Gazprom.

“The National Revenue Agency and the Customs Agency can apply precautionary measures if Gazprom Export decides not to pay. There are bank guarantees for the contracts with Gazprom Export. Bulgaria cannot stop the transmission of natural gas,” Vassilev said.

Lukoil posted a loss of BGN 1.822 billion in Bulgaria for the 2009-2020 period, a profit of BGN 170 million for 2021 and a profit of BGN 404 million for 2022, Vassilev said. So far this year Lukoil has paid BGN 154 million in taxes. The company has until October 31 to prepay all the temporary solidarity contributions and to pay at least 90% of the taxes due. Bulgaria is to receive from Lukoil about BGN 400 million, including BGN 154 million already paid.