Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova has resigned today (23 February). She told journalists in parliament that she had already spoken with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. In Brussels, Borissov said he asked her to resign.
The reason is the CEZ deal. On Thursday, it was understood that the management of the Czech company approved “Inercom Bulgaria” as a buyer of the Bulgarian business of the company. According to the Commercial Register, “Inercom Bulgaria” is led by Ginka Varbakova, whom Temenujka Petkova said today that she has known for 20 years.
Officially the price for the sale of CEZ has not been announced, but unoficially the figure of EUR 320 million is mentioned. When the news about the deal broke, several politicians, including Volen Siderov, leader of one of the three parties of Borissov’s coalition partner “United Patriots”, expressed amazement that a company without experience could take over such a big business.
CEZ is selling its business in Bulgaria after many years of operation. In Bulgaria, there are three operators, CEZ, EVN and Energo-Pro, but they are not competitors, they have divided the country between themselves.
Petkova explained that in order to avoid any doubt about possible influences, it is better for her to resign.
The minister also said that the procedure was conducted in the Czech Republic under Czech law, which, in her words, excludes suspicions of intervention by the Bulgarian side. In our country the transaction needs to be verified and approved by the Commission for Protection of Competition, the Financial Supervision Commission and the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission. According to Petkova, a check should be made by the State Agency for National Security (DANS) because it concerns strategic infrastructure of national security significance.
Deputy Chairman of GERB Tzvetan Tzvetanov explained that the Coalition Council will decide whether Petkova’s resignation should be accepted after it becomes acquainted with all the details. “I know that Temenuzhka Petkova has no family ties with Ginka from Pazardjik You know that everybody in Bulgaria knows a lot of people, whether they know each other or whether they have known each other for many years or since recently – I cannot say,” Tzvetanov said. He described the Petkova’s work as energy minister as “brilliant” and added that there were people interested in attacking her, and that the opposition would try to make another scandal from this situation.
Later in Brussels, Borissov said that when he returns to Bulgaria, he would meet with the coalition partners and that they would decide who would take the post.
The Co-President of the United Patriots Volen Siderov stated that the government, the new anti-corruption commission and the prosecution should deal with the CEZ deal. “The deal needs to be checked out and everything is questionable to be cleanud up, if there are grounds for termination – the deal should be cancelled”, he said.
Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov called Petkova’s resignation as premature. “I do not find any arguments for the resignation, I do not see anything reprehensible in this deal, but that’s her decision,” Goranov said.