Supreme court annuls Kozloduy closure decision

17 May 2003

A full five-member panel of the SAC upheld the January ruling of a three-judge panel that the government's decision was insufficiently justified. The government had appealed that ruling on behalf of the ministers of energy, European affairs, and foreign affairs, even though government spokesmen had earlier questioned the court's jurisdiction over foreign policy.

Foreign minister Solomon Passy said there was no need to reopen the energy chapter of Bulgaria's negotiations for EU accession, closed in November 2002 when Bulgaria pledged to close Kozloduy 3 and 4 before the ends of their original design lifetimes in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

Meglena Kuneva, minister for European integration, said that the court had not ordered any immediate action to reverse the commitment on early closure, nor is the closure of Kozloduy 3 and 4 to be effective before 2006. Kuneva also said that the rulings of the Bulgarian court are only effective in Bulgaria and have no direct impact on the position expressed in the energy chapter of the Bulgarian EU accession package, adopted at an intergovernmental conference of EU member states.

However, observers have said that it is difficult to see how the government could keep the 2006 closure commitment after the court's judgement that it violates the will of the Bulgarian parliament.

Energy ministry spokesman Valery Marinov said that the government was bound to honour the decision of the country's highest court, but added that: "We don't know how to comply with it."

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