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Bulgaria Could Have Yielded to Outside Pressure in Raising Gas Transit Fees

Hungary Today 2023.10.24.
President Rumen Radev (L) with Viktor Orbán during his September visit to Budapest.

One week after Bulgaria introduced a special tax on Russian gas transiting its territory to Hungary, and while both countries commemorated the Bulgarian-Hungarian Friendship Day on 19 October, the joint demarche against Sofia promised by Belgrade and Budapest has further sharpened the differences between Bulgaria’s head of state and prime minister, reported Magyar Nezmet. President Rumen Radev has sharply criticized the neo-liberal Nikolay Denkov government for trampling on European norms and treaties, and for interfering in the sovereign decisions of other countries.

“What kind of European solidarity and European integration are those in government talking about when they attack a country that is a Member State of the EU, an ally and a partner in NATO and the EU? A country with which we have strong, deep cultural and historical ties and which is one of the main investors in our country” – President Radev commented, pointing out that Serbia is affected in the matter, as are the Hungarians.

I do not want to believe that this government does not realize that our transport and communication with Europe goes through these two countries,”

the head of state added.

During his visit to Tirana, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov reacted to President Rumen Radev’s criticism and sharp reactions from Hungary and Serbia to the introduction of a transit fee for Russian gas passing through their territories. He said that the Russians were behind the joint reaction of Serbia and Hungary. The two countries have issued a joint statement opposing the decision, but Denkov assured that it protects “Bulgarian interests”.

“It was interesting to note exactly where the Hungarian minister was speaking from, and accordingly one can wonder whether there are other interests. As I said, we are defending Bulgarian interests,” he said, referring to the Hungarian response from China, where the Hungarian government delegation was attending the third gathering of the One Belt, One Road forum.

On the one hand, it is about revenues that can be included in the budget. On the other hand, it is a pretty good opportunity to create real competition, so that pipeline gas can compete with liquefied natural gas”.

– Denkov added.

Nikolai Denkov. Photo: Wikipedia

According to the neo-liberal news portal Mediapool.bg, which is backed by America for Bulgaria, a U.S. foundation that had played a crucial role in the election victory of Denkov’s party (PP), Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has two options to challenge the decision on the Bulgarian gas price increase: firstly at EU level, either through the European Commission (EC), the European Court of Justice or both. Secondly, he could take a tougher approach and put direct pressure on Bulgaria by blocking the Balkan country’s accession to the Schengen area, which is due to be voted on by member states this December.

The opposition Epicenter news portal, on the other hand, criticized the Denkov government for its decision.

The angry reaction of Serbia and Hungary after the increase on transit fees from Russian gas through Bulgaria does not bode well for our country, and could lead to total international isolation”.

The paper believes that, together with internal scandals, the We Continue with the Change (PP) government is already causing irreparable damage to Bulgaria’s domestic and international standing, and at a very critical time. Bulgaria has never in the last half century been so alone, misunderstood, rejected and humiliated as it is now under the current government, the paper says.

Georgi Markov, a former constitutional judge living in Hungary and former MP for the center-right GERB, struck a similarly strident tone. He commemorated the Day of Bulgarian-Hungarian Friendship in the news portal Pik.bg, mentioning the good personal relations between Viktor Orbán and former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, saying that such a decision could never have been taken under Boyko Borisov’s government. He believes that

the centuries-old Bulgarian-Hungarian friendship was blown up by Bulgaria, not by bomb but by law, on US orders, without consulting the Hungarian or Serbian prime minister, as political and human etiquette dictates.

George Soros and US President Joe Biden want to punish Viktor Orbán by turning off the tap on the gas pipeline, and thus remove him from power.

Markov also asks the question in his article, as whether Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov has been given the authority to destroy inter-state relations, to set EU Member States and friendly peoples against each other? Has he been given the mandate by the Bulgarian people to play Majdan with the Hungarians and Viktor Orbán, who was elected by almost three million votes? Surveys show that the Hungarian Prime Minister is the most popular foreign politician in Bulgaria. “Well, no! He has a mandate from Soros, who funds the US Democratic Party,” he added in his article.

Bulgarian Gas Transit Fee Raise a Threat to Our Energy Security
Bulgarian Gas Transit Fee Raise a Threat to Our Energy Security

It it thought the U.S. pressure had resulted in the Bulgarian government's sudden decision.Continue reading

Via Magyar Nemzet; Featured Image: Facebook Rumen Radev

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