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Power-Sharing Coalition Agrees on March 1, 2024 as End to Bulgaria's Exemption from EU Russian Oil Ban

19:18 | 07.12.2023 Category: International

Sofia, 7 dec. /BTA/. The power-sharing coalition of GERB-UDF and Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB), backed by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), has agreed on January 1, 2024 as the end of Bulgaria's exemption from an EU ban on the export of derivatives from Russian oil, parliamentary Budget and Finance Committee Chair Jordan Tzonev MP of the MRF told reporters on Thursday. The exemption for Russian oil imports must end on March 1, 2024.

The deadlines will be set in a bill that the coalition is drafting and which is expected to be available on Thursday.

The exemption benefits mostly the Russian-controlled Lukoil Neftochim Burgas oil refinery.

Tzonev added that the bill is to order the National Customs Agency to conduct an audit by December 31, 2023 to identify the amount of oil derivatives in the Neftochim depots. They will have to be exported so as not to clog the warehouses, he said.

At an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, the parliamentary Energy Committee rejected two bills on ending the Russian oil derogation: as of January 1, 2024, as proposed by GERB leader Boyko Borissov, Energy Committee Chairman Delyan Dobrev (GERB-UDF) and Tzonev, or as of March 1 at the earliest and March 15, 2024 at the latest, as proposed by CC-DB.

In 2022, the European Commission granted Bulgaria a derogation from the EU embargo on oil imports from Russia due to the country's specific geographic exposure. Under the effective legislation, the exemption is to be revoked on October 1, 2024, three months ahead of the initial December 31, 2024 deadline.

MPs' comments

Venko Sabrutev (CC-DB): We are glad common sense prevailed and a joint bill will be submitted to Parliament, which will be in the interest of society and consumers.

Temenuzhka Petkova (GERB-UDF): GERB congratulated PP-DB that they have concluded that the derogation needs to be revoked and there will be a joint bill abolishing export quotas for oil products from January 1, 2024, and lifting the derogation from March 1, 2024.

Jordan Tzonev (MRF): When there are talks and understanding, people always ask who conceded - everyone did, so that the country can go forward.


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