SOFIA, April 28. /TASS/. Bulgarian employers demanded that the country's government resume dialogue with Gazprom and supplies of Russian gas, Deputy Prime Minister and Economy and Industry Minister of Bulgaria Korneliya Ninova told a briefing on Thursday. She was speaking after a meeting with employers' organizations.
She specified that more than 25,000 enterprises, whose representatives took part in the meeting, provide 86% of the country's GDP, manufacturing products worth more than 20 billion euro, while employing about 82% of the country's workforce.
"The purpose of our meeting is to save the Bulgarian economy and industry, save jobs, and reduce inflation. Based on the results, we urge the government to resume negotiations with Gazprom and gas supplies under the existing agreement," Ninova said.
"In the meantime, [we suggest that the government should] make a decision and freeze the cost of gas at the current prices level. [They should] introduce additional taxes on excess profits of energy companies and continue paying compensation for the high cost of electricity," she added.
As chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Ninova announced that she would submit the appropriate proposals to the parliament for consideration.
When setting forth their proposals, the representatives of employers' organizations stressed that today there is no alternative to Russian gas, and insisted that Bulgaria fulfill its obligations under the Gazprom agreement to pay for natural gas in rubles.
They insisted that "they do not intend to pay extra for gas to new intermediaries" who will undertake furnishing gas supplies to Bulgaria, by sidestepping Gazprom. According to preliminary calculations, this would raise the cost of gas by more than 30%.
Earlier, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov repeatedly stressed that he would not succumb to pressure from Gazprom and, accordingly, would not allow payments for gas in rubles.