Minister Asen Lichev met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Rumen Aleksandrov

20 Sep, 2021 | 13:53


Minister Asen Lichev met for a working meeting with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Rumen Aleksandrov to discuss priority issues concerning Bulgarian membership in the European Union in relation to the need to find a solution for the future development of our country in view of the Union’s ambitious policy in climate and energy.

The meeting touched upon the entire array of issues pertinent to the green transition. The two ministers exchanged views on the legislative package “Fit for 55”, presented by the European Commission (EC) on July 14th this year, which contains 15 legislative proposals that will have a huge impact on all spheres of public life for decades to come. The EC’s new proposals include abolishing free greenhouse gas emission allowances for the industry, boosting the commitments for sectors outside the Emissions Trading Scheme, such as waste, agriculture, transport, buildings and others with additional 10% for Bulgaria. A novelty in the proposed policy is the inclusion of buildings and road transport in the emissions trading scheme. All this means a complete transformation of all spheres of economic and social life in a very short time.

Minister Lichev highlighted that these key elements require extremely active work and engagement at all levels and all ministries in order to achieve the goal, set in December 2020, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thereby also ensuring the protection of workers in individual sectors and maintaining the competitiveness of enterprises. In order to ensure the fairness of the transition for everyone in the EU, Bulgaria will defend the position that national peculiarities, including the geographical location, the starting positions of Member States, and the principle of technological neutrality, must be taken into account. The Minister underlined that he relies on the strong support by the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the European Union.

Deputy Minister Aleksandrov highlighted that the Taxonomy Regulation and limiting the role of natural gas and atomic energy, which are all currently discussed in the EU, will have a considerable impact on our country. The rapid pace of EC legislative proposals makes it difficult for Member States to adapt to new challenges and find the most appropriate solutions. Minister Lichev noted that currently, in broad coordination with all departments, a National Strategy for the Circular Economy is being developed, which will contribute to the consolidation of Bulgaria’s capabilities to meet the new challenges.

Minister Lichev acquainted Deputy Minister Aleksandrov with the recommendations by the European Commission in follow-up to the 2020 Annual Report for the Operational Program “Environment” 2014-2020, which require corrective actions by Bulgaria. He also informed about the ongoing proceedings before the European Prosecutor’s Office, initiated on letters by his predecessor Emil Dimitrov.

The two ministers agreed that the new EU legislation in the field of climate and energy requires a very serious analysis before proceeding to concrete decisions on the future closure of power plants on coal in Bulgaria, because the integrated national plan for energy and climate, adopted by previous administrations, lacks a strategy that would have provided clarity and predictability for specific actions in the sector in the context of the transition to lower carbon emissions.

In conclusion, the unconditional need for the social tolerability of the transition to a climate-neutral economy was reaffirmed.