A future for coal plants? Protesters and government signed a 7-point agreement

The miners are still hesitant to end the roadblocks

Energy / Bulgaria
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After nearly 7 hours of tough negotiations with the protesters, the authorities reached an agreement with 7 points, signed by some of the protesters and Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov. The unions in the thermal power plants have put their signatures, but not the unions in the mines - neither from KNSB, nor from "Podkrepa".

There is no unequivocal answer for ending the protests by the miners and energy workers, since a part of the protesting organizations have promised to stop the blockades only after the agreement has been voted in the National Assembly. Another of the organizations insisted on discussing it with their people first, explained the prime minister. Still others have declared that they are stopping the protests.

The market will decide whether and how much coal plants will operate

"We have an agreement with signatures. We are not closing plants, the market will decide," the Prime Minister summed up the result of the agreement, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov

"We restarted the process, we started from these 6 points, we have a final agreement that was signed. This is the beginning of a much more detailed discussion. The signatures are under 7 points, tomorrow they will be submitted to the National Assembly and will be voted on as a decision of the Parliament. For to be confirmed as a commitment of the parties as well," Nikolay Denkov told the media.

"The state will not administratively close any coal plants; they have the freedom to operate and the market will decide which will remain. Besides, we need base capacities so that there are no problems with electricity. Neither the government nor the parties can take any chances such a thing," said the Prime Minister.

"What they want cannot be done their way, but it can be done in a different way. There are rules and they will be followed. Let the plants work as much as the market allows them," he added.

One of the organizations said it wanted to discuss the text with the protesters first and sign it only after that. There is disagreement between the various participants in the protests, the prime minister stated.

According to him, one of the points of the protesters' demands was dropped at their insistence. This is what the two unions behind the protest have agreed on.

Some of the organizations said "we are stopping them", another organization promised to stop them when the agreement is voted on in the National Assembly. Another organization explained that it had to discuss the agreement with the people and then the decision would be made.

There are signatures under this document and these signatures will be submitted to the parliament, the prime minister said.

The agreement was not signed by the representatives of the mines, Dimitar Manolov, president of  Podkrepa CL, announced after the talks. He did not commit to saying whether the protests were stopping.

"Whether we will stop the blockade, it is difficult for me to tell you now," said the trade unionist on BNT.

Earlier, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov stated that he would resign if the points of the agreement with the protesting energy workers were not fulfilled. This happened in the fifth hour of the beginning of the meeting in the National Assembly with representatives of the protesting energy workers and miners and can be heard in a video published on social networks by the MP from "Vazrazhdane" Tsoncho Ganev.

Denkov's statement came in response to a proposal by a trade unionist to explicitly state in the document that if the commitments in the agreement are not fulfilled, the government will resign.

"Please write in the document as point 10 that if all these points are not met, your government will resign and they will commit, I guess, colleagues to sign it," the protesters urged.

"I will not include it in the agreement if these points are not fulfilled, I say again - with the exception of those that contradict European regulations, I will resign," says Denkov.

Negotiators from the miners' and unions' sides went to the hotspots of the blockades to inform the protesters of the agreement reached and make a final decision.

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