President Radev: The crisis in the EU energy markets shows that abandoning nuclear and coal capacities is premature
Many parties are counting the votes they will win, but not the number of people infected with Covid and how many medical doctors and nurses we have
The crisis in the EU energy markets has shown that the decision to abandon nuclear and coal energy is premature. As a consequence, the insistence of 10 countries, including Bulgaria, that nuclear power and natural gas power generation be recognised as green energies has been accepted. Coal still has an important place as a baseload power. This is what President Rumen Radev told reporters in Brussels after the European Council meeting.
This gives Bulgaria a perspective to continue developing its nuclear energy and natural gas energy projects, Rumen Radev added. The President called for a very clear distinction to be made between baseload capacities, such as nuclear energy, coal and gas on the one hand, and renewable sources on the other. In his words, the Green Deal is necessary and we should strive for green energy, but it is 38% of the EU's energy mix, 26% still comes from nuclear energy, 16% from gas and 13% from coal.
We cannot 'scrap' our baseload capacity until we find sustainable solutions to the fundamental problem of how to store the really cheap and clean renewable energy. They provide stability and independence for the energy mix, Rumen Radev said, pointing out that the current crisis had returned the focus to the issue. "While we are dependent on gas prices on the international market, we should pay greater attention to these baseload capacities," the Head of State concluded. In his words, building a strategic autonomy involves the energy sector, including nuclear power and coal.
The President pointed out that the EU has not committed itself to a specific financial assistance over soaring gas and electricity prices, but has made recommendations and the responsibility rests entirely on the member states and their financial capabilities. "The only financial dimension as a measure, and it can be a political tool in the hands of the European Commission, is what I have proposed very clearly - to remove or at least reduce the price of greenhouse gas emissions to ease up the burden particularly on countries like Bulgaria, where coal has a significant share in the mix," Rumen Radev said. The proposal of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary to review the electricity and gas markets and the market for the emissions trading system was endorsed. "If irregularities are found, there should be a way to take measures. We expect such a report to come out in November. The aim is to curb profiteering on the exchanges," Rumen Radev stressed.
On migration, President Radev again raised the issue of drawing up a clear operational plan in case of a sharp increase in migration pressures on the EU's external borders. There should be early commitments on the part of the EU and of each state on how they will react to a situation, which includes security aspects as well as humanitarian and political dimensions, the Bulgarian president added.
Responding to a journalist's question about the lack of a good vaccination campaign in Bulgaria and Romania, the President pointed out that the EU reports an average vaccination rate of 75%, but in Eastern Europe the spread of the coronavirus is worrying. "I call for awareness, for understanding of what the government is doing," the president said. He added that the way in which the latest measures had been introduced in Bulgaria might be subject to certain criticism, but everything possible had to be done to prevent an even higher increase in infections.
Many parties are currently counting votes - will they gain or lose votes if they take clear stands, but they are not counting the people who are infected, or how many medical doctors and nurses we have, they are not counting how many people die every day, Rumen Radev said. On the green certificates, the President pointed out that he did not see constructive and clear positions from the parties. "Some of them are busy organising protests and secretly supporting and fanning up these protests. Others are just not saying a thing. They are all scared of what is happening and do not want to take a stand on what to do in this crisis," the president said.
On the rule of law, discussed during the meeting, the President said the issue required dialogue, political will and legal arguments.