The day in 3 news: Coalition tensions mount over Lukoil, Dogan’s Varna plant sued for 35 million levs, Minister says 30% of roads need repair

The day in 3 news: Coalition tensions mount over Lukoil, Dogan’s Varna plant sued for 35 million levs, Minister says 30% of roads need repair

© Георги Кожухаров

Lukoil derogation causes ongoing coalition spat

Tension is rising within the ruling coalition partners of GERB and WCC-DB over whether the Lukoil refinery's derogation for importing Russian oil into the EU should continue and, if so, the exact nature of terms. A contentious topic is when and how much taxes Lukoil can pay, while a part of Lukoil's profit is distributed as a subsidy to consumers.

WCC-DB asked not to convene a meeting of the National Assembly on October 27 to discuss the topic after yesterday's announcement from MRF's Delyan Peevski that parliament would discuss the matter, mindful of the local elections two days later. However, another MP, GERB's Delyan Dobrev, pointed out that there will still be a meeting, although without the support of WCC-DB any major planned vote would lack a majority. GERB and DPS have a total of 105 MPs together.

GERB and DPS had previously supported the cancellation of the derogation but have now changed their mind and seek the continuation of Lukoil's exemption.

Dogan's plant must pay 35 million levs

Varna District Court has ruled in favor of the national gas distributor Bulgargaz regarding 35 million levs owed by Varna power plant, investigative media site Bird reported.

The heating plant, the ownership of which can be traced back to Ahmed Dogan, honorary chairman of the pro-Turkish party MRF, must also pay more than 1.5 million levs in costs. The plant owes money to Bulgargaz for failing to pay for gas deliveries in 2022 when prices skyrocketed.

The Varna court had made its decsion in the summer and was not appealed by the power plant. For this reason it is now final and on October 19, Judge Desislava Zhekova ordered the issuance of the writ of execution.

Bulgargaz had sought a total of 36.5 million levs, but the court rejected this request.

5500 km of major roads need repair

Nearly 30% of the main toll roads in Bulgaria need major repair, according to Minister of Regional Development, Andrey Tsekov. He added that over the last 30 years the level of maintenance and restoration of the road network has been unsatisfactory.

Tsekov insisted that 28% of the toll roads are in an unsatisfactory condition, meaning about 5,500 kilometers. In addition, some roads built in the 1970s are yet to be modernized and repaired. "This is an extremely serious problem because if we assume that we have to carry out immediate basic repairs of these 5500 km of roads over the next year, we will have to spend about BGN 10-15 billion. Obviously, this is not within the budget, since the normal amount that is allocated by the budget for road maintenance is in the order of BGN 1 billion, plus an additional BGN 2 billion for major repairs and new construction," Tsekov added.

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