The derogation remained with the votes of PP-DB, BSP and “Vazrazhdane”. The ruling coalition together with the opposition kept it, rejecting the proposal of GERB-SDS and DPS to drop it within three days. The PP-DB abstained, despite being the biggest defenders of the Lukoil refinery derogation during the debates, with the proviso that they insist that it be canceled only in March.
Thus, 94 deputies voted “for” her removal now and immediately, 55 were against, and 61 of the ruling party abstained. ITN and the independent Radostin Vassilev did not participate in the vote.
PP-DB want the derogation to be removed between March 1 and 15, while the importers from GERB and their supporting partners from DPS insist that it be removed within three days. Yordan Tsonev from DPS still allowed the derogation to expire not in three days, but possibly from December 1.
During the debates, the DPS demanded the resignation of two ministers. It was spoken by Hamid Hamid, who demanded that the Minister of Economy Bogdan Bogdanov and the Minister of Energy Rumen Radev leave their posts. According to him, they are “lawyers of “Lukoil” and support the Kremlin regime. “Mr. Petkov, it is your responsibility to demand the resignation of these two ministers,” Hamid addressed the co-chairman of “We continue the change” Kiril Petkov. “Mr. Petkov , the fault of supporting these people is yours personally. When we boast that we are helping Ukraine, and with our actions we show that you support the Kremlin regime – it is your personal fault. Gen. Atanasov is also guilty. Bulgaria actively supports the circumvention of EU sanctions,” added Hamid.
Atanas Atanasov pointed out that the suggestions of a rift between DB and PP on the subject do not correspond to the truth. PP-DB is for the termination of the derogation, but in reasonable terms, not from today to tomorrow and with the elimination of all risks. The DSB leader stated that his motive for not supporting the repeal of the derogation is because the petitioner is Delyan Dobrev, and he is the person who voted against the government. This is a provocation, said Atanasov.
“Can the refinery process non-Russian oil or not – it can,” said Yordan Tsonev. How do we monitor this derogation so that it does not contribute to Putin’s regime?” he asked. And he pointed out that 40 percent of the oil is for domestic consumption, and 60 percent goes for re-export to third countries, thus violating the sanctions regime. “What are the benefits for the Bulgarian budget? Of these 60% are zero. Well, where do they go then?” asked the MP from DPS. The only thing we managed to do was impose a slightly higher tax and collect a hundred million, which we hope will become 250 million by the end of the year. We are ending the derogation in favor of the Russian oil, Bulgaria is being discredited and the Bulgarian citizens have no benefit,” he summarized. According to Tsonev, we have enough fuel reserves, and these arguments also do not hold up.
“All arguments to continue the derogation are untenable. Have the goals for which Bulgaria accepted the derogation been fulfilled? The answer is no, none of them have been fulfilled,” Tsonev concluded.
Radoslav Ribarski from the PP-DB expressed his surprise that only a year ago the DPS approved the introduction of the derogation and then declared that it was a good decision. His party colleague Iskren Mitev echoed Yordan Tsonev.
“Why is there such a rush, Mr. Tsonev? Why must it be dropped in three days at any cost? “Suddenly, you start accusing us of being in a coalition with Vazrazhdane, which is absolutely insane, and of adopting pro-Kremlin policies?” the PP-DB deputy pointed out. He also quoted Tsonev as saying that this way the treasury would be deprived of 200 million revenues in the treasury.
“Mr. Mitev, you didn’t listen to me carefully, but this is not the first time,” Yordan Tsonev replied and explained that their current rush to cancel Lukoil’s derogation was because data had been released that violates the sanctions regime against Russia.
“For gas it is possible, for oil it is not possible! What is this double arshin? The competent authorities should move strongly on this topic”, exclaimed Tsonev.
Venko Sabrutev expressed doubt whether the real reason for the rush of GERB-SDS and DPS is an intention to devalue the refinery and then sell it cheaply. He added that if the derogation were to be dropped today, Bulgaria would have nowhere to import fuel from. “From which country and which companies will carry out this import? Isn’t this an attempt to reduce the price of the refinery so that it becomes cannon fodder for some investors, Venko Sabrutev doubted. Stopping the derogation will most likely lead to a stop of Lukoil’s work, he predicted.
“We are ready to refine the date from March 15 to March 1, 2024, to end the derogation, but anything else would bring risks,” PP co-chair Kiril Petkov signaled a certain retreat in time even before the debates and immediately after the meeting of the Security Council at the Council of Ministers earlier today. “Regardless of the political rhetoric that will be expressed in the coming days, we will defend the interests of the citizens. We are firmly in favor of ending the flow of money to Putin, but this should not be at the expense of the Bulgarian citizens,” he added. According to him, DPS and GERB are trying to get PP-DB into a political trap, referring to the consequences of removing the derogation at the beginning of winter.