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Bulgaria will not raise gas transit tariffs for now, party leaders say

According to Bulgaria's Former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, when the European Commission offers the country a comprehensive mechanism, then Bulgaria will implement it

SOFIA, December 11. /TASS/. Former Prime Minister, leader of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party Boyko Borisov and former prime minister and co-chairman of the We Continue the Change political association Kiril Petkov said that Bulgaria will not increase gas transit tariffs for the time being.

"At the moment we are postponing the implementation [of the gas transit tariffs hike]. We are working together with the European Commission, and when it offers us a comprehensive mechanism, then we will implement it," Petkov said as quoted by the Focus website.

"We are very close to [join] Schengen <...> and we should not miss this chance because of fees, so we will give in to follow the European approach," Borisov said in turn.

Earlier, Hungary, Serbia and North Macedonia announced that they would take joint measures to prevent Bulgaria from introducing additional fees for the transit of Russian gas. Budapest, Belgrade and Skopje believe that Sofia's decision contradicts the principle of European solidarity and violates EU trade rules.

On October 13, the Bulgarian parliament introduced an additional tariff of 20 levs (about 10 euros) per MWh for the transit of Russian gas flowing through the TurkStream pipeline and its branches to Serbia and then to Hungary.

On October 17, Serbia and Hungary prepared a joint statement in which they indicated that Bulgaria’s decision to increase the rate for gas transit from Russia is a hostile step that "threatens the security of energy supply" of the two countries. On November 10, Hungary sent a letter to the European Commission. North Macedonia later submitted a request regarding this matter to the International Energy Agency.

The parliament's decision caused controversy within Bulgaria itself. On October 26, the country's President Rumen Radev appealed to the Constitutional Court in connection with the introduction of additional fees for the transit of Russian gas, noting that the adopted law violates a number of provisions of the constitution, the principles of guarantees of property rights and free economic initiative. According to the president, such a step does not comply with the legality of taxes and fees, since the legal status of the contribution is unclear - whether it is a tax, fee or duty.