Bulgaria Deputy Prime Minister Assen Vassilev told parliament on Thursday that Bulgaria will never negotiate with Russian energy giant Gazprom ever again. Bulgaria’s contract with the company has expired, and Russia unilaterally suspended supplies.
Asked by a pro-Russian nationalist Vazrazhdane party member about when the government would resume talks with Gazprom, Vassilev told parliament that Bulgaria’s contract expires at the end of the year, has not been terminated by Bulgaria and that Russia has unilaterally suspended gas supplies.
State-owned gas company Bulgargaz still regularly reminds Gazprom that the Russian company is not fulfilling its contracts with Bulgaria, which expire at the end of this year.
“If we sign a contract with Gazprom now and they stop the gas in February, we will be left without gas for the industry and without heating for the people,” the deputy prime minister said.
He added that Russia suspends gas supplies with claims for payment in roubles only for countries with low consumption and recently expiring contracts.
Bulgaria and Poland were the first two EU countries that had their gas supplies cut off by Gazprom on 27 April after they had refused to pay in the demanded currency.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party, part of the ruling coalition, also insists that talks must be held with the Russian gas company to restore supplies. However, this is not leading to tensions in the ruling coalition because “Continuing Change” has a leading role in gas issues.
“When someone stops your gas, even though you are paying and fulfilling your contract, you cannot count on the same person not to stop your gas when you are in a difficult situation. We have a proven unreliable partner,” said the Bulgarian deputy prime minister.