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Parliamentary delegation, led by National Assembly President Tsetska Tsacheva was on an official visit to the Russian Federation
March 15, 2010

Major energy projects between Bulgaria and Russia were the key issues in the conversations between the President of the National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva and the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Sergey Shmatko. A parliamentary delegation, headed by the National Assembly Chair is on an official visit to the Russian Federation.

“This is my first meeting with the President of the National Assembly of Bulgaria Tsetska Tsacheva” Russia’s Energy Minister said to media representatives. "We consider very important the open dialogue with Bulgaria’s legislature for the implementation of the major energy projects with Bulgaria. I share the understanding that the established constructive relations with the new Bulgarian government, have to be complemented with a constructive interaction with the Bulgarian Parliament. During our conversation we discussed the question of starting the NPP Belene project”, the Russian energy minister said. "I want to inform you that the legislative branch of Bulgaria is inclined to ensure the successful implementation of these projects, in a close interaction with the executive branch of government", he noted.

Asked what would happen if a strategic investor for NPP Belene was not found Sergei Shmatko said: "We are very happy that we established a dialogue with the Bulgarian government regarding the Belene project. This is an ongoing project, which is not just Russian-Bulgarian, but one with a distinct European character. It implies the participation of large French and German companies for the supply of equipment for more than 1 billion euro. The project fully complies with European requirements and is receiving political support from Europe, added Sergei Shmatko. Therefore, we will stick to this format in the future. We have no doubts that the project for Belene NPP will find support. The Russian Federation is ready to provide financial support until a strategic investor is found. We had the opportunity to discuss the whole range of issues with the Speaker of parliament", stressed the Energy Minister of Russia.

In her statement before Bulgarian and Russian media representatives, the Chair of the National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva accessed the conversations as very open and constructive. "I discovered that minister Shmatko is well informed about the public attitudes in Bulgaria regarding the implementation of these major energy projects and in particular with the concerns of Bulgarian citizens about the environmental consequences and their impact. According to Tsetska Tsacheva the Russian side is very well aware that in terms of openness and transparency it is very important for the Bulgarian society to be informed and acquainted with the benefits of these projects and of course with some of the possible negative consequences.

Tsetska Tsacheva indicated that Bulgaria's policy is to consult the energy projects with the European Union in order to achieve transparency to all partners. She stressed that Bulgaria seeks to set its relations in the energy field within the frames of the Common Energy Policy of the European Union. She confirmed that the National Assembly was about to adopt a long-term energy strategy of the country, which will take into account the real needs of Bulgaria, the outlines set by the EU in the context of creation of a common energy policy of the Union and the latest trends in the energy dialogue in Europe. During the meeting, the National Assembly Chair Tsetska Tsacheva emphasized before the Russian side that Bulgaria considers particularly important the granting of constant energy supplies on the part of Russia and that the crisis, which happened in January 2009 and hurt the most our country is something that should not occur in the future.

The Bulgarian parliamentary delegation laid wreaths at the Memorial site of the fallen for the liberation of Pleven Russian soldiers and at the monument of St. st. Cyril and Methodius. In Moscow, the Bulgarian parliamentarians bowed to the relics of St. John of Rila, kept in the restored Church of the Holy Trinity in the center of the Russian capital. The temple is considered one of the few recreating the historical appearance of Moscow.

The Bulgarian delegation includes Deputy National Assembly Chairman Georgi Pirinski, Krasimir Velchev, Chair of the Friendship committee Bulgaria - Russia and MPs Irena Sokolova, Delian Dobrev, Dimitar Lazarov, Georgi Kolev.

On March 16, 2010, the Bulgarian parliamentary delegation will meet with the President of the State Duma Boris Gryzlov. The programme of the day envisages also meetings with Valery Draganov, President of the Parliamentary Group for Friendship with Bulgaria in the State Duma of the Russian Federation and the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov .
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