Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

WITHOUT THE ENERGY CHAPTER COPPENHAGEN WOULD HAD BEEN OUR WATERLOO

Foreign Minister Solomon Passy to the BANKER WeeklyIs the favourable for Bulgaria decision, made at the meeting in Coppenhagen, connected with our country's agreement to decommission units 3 and 4 of the Kozlodoui N-plant in the year 2006?- Without the Energy Chapter Coppenhagen would had been our Waterloo. It facilitated our negotiations with the EU. This is due to the fact that the question regarding Kozlodoui's small units has been decided over and over again by all Bulgarian governments since 1992. This created for our country an image of a not very reliable partner. The decision which our Government has arrived at recently is the best one for Bulgaria as it gives an opportunity for experts to find out during the promised partners' check-up the nuclear safety of units 3 and 4. And solving one of the most difficult problems in the negotiations we created conditions for a quick final sprint. When shall negotiations on an additional financial compensation for the units' decommissing begin?- We could be more specific on that question after the partners' check-up of units 3 and 4 safety. The agreement of such sums is part of the financial aspects of Bulgaria's membership in the EU, that are to be specified in the future negotiations.Is there a danger that the one year and a half term till the ratification of the contract for Bulgaria's accession into NATO shall not be sufficient for carrying out the reforms in the country?-First of all I would like to underline that the one year and a half term is for fulfillment of the procedural steps for our integration into NATO. In other words, this term concerns the pre-accession process, i.e. negotiations for joining the Alliance, signing of pre-accession protocols, and their ratification by the member countries. Bulgaria is not expected to to complete the entire spectrum of reforms within this year and a half. The fulfillment of many of the reforms in Bulgaria and in the other six invited countries is a long process - a fact which is clearly realized by the NATO members. Some of the reforms, e.g. that in the armed forces, will continue after Bulgaria's acceptance as a full-fledged member of teh Alliance. That is also the case with NATO's three new members - Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary - which joined the Alliance in 1999, and where the process of reforms in the defence sector and other spheres has not been completed yet. Nevertheless, concerning the package of reforms that should be completed till the date of Bulgaria's actual membership in NATO, I believe that the work will be done on time.

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