Focus on Bulgaria: the Energy Union tour
European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will be in Bulgaria on 14-15 March as part of the Energy Union tour. The Energy Union is the EU's strategy to ensure that European citizens have access to secure, affordable and clean energy.
The Vice-President will meet Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Minister of Energy Temenuzhka Petkova, and MPs from the Bulgarian parliament's Energy and European Affairs committees. Their discussions will focus on Bulgaria's progress towards its 2020 targets for energy efficiency, renewables and greenhouse gas emissions reduction, its energy security situation, and the development of its internal energy market. The Vice-President will also deliver a keynote speech at a conference on 'The role of non-governmental organizations for improving the energy policy and the legal basis in the field of energy – challenges in South East Europe'.
Ahead of his visit, Vice-President Šefčovič said:
I will encourage Bulgaria to deliver its national 2030 energy and climate plan in a comprehensive way, in a timely fashion and with involvement of civic society. The plans are not mere ink on paper but a strong signal towards investors whom we need on board for the energy transition to succeed. Our estimates show that achieving the EU's 2030 targets could lead to an increase of 1.2% in GDP of Bulgaria, more than the EU average. As Bulgaria is currently at the EU's helm, I am also looking forward to discussing the state of play of the Clean Energy package legislativeproposals as well as the Gas directive revision. The Bulgarian Presidency plays a vital role in getting us across the Energy Union's finish line.
From 1990 to 2016, Bulgaria decreased its greenhouse gas emissions by over 40% and is well on track to meet its 2020 reduction target for sectors outside the EU Emissions Trading System. Nevertheless, it remains the most greenhouse gas-intensive country in the EU. It is also the most energy-intensive economy in the EU and, while its energy efficiency has improved, continued energy savings will be needed to achieve its 2020 target for energy efficiency. Bulgaria is on track to meet its renewable energy target for 2020.
In terms of security of energy supply, Bulgaria is relatively vulnerable, as its level of interconnection with neighbouring countries is low. It is also heavily reliant on domestically mined lignite, and as its economy decarbonises it will need to find new internal sources of less carbon-intensive fossil fuels and renewable energy, or else increase energy imports. The situation should be improved by its membership of the Central Eastern and South Eastern Gas Connectivity (CESEC) regional initiative, focused on building cross-border infrastructure, which will help to diversify gas supplies in the region.
As part of the Energy Union Tour, the Vice-President has already visited the Netherlands, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Portugal, Estonia, Belgium, Romania, France, Finland, Luxembourg, Greece, Croatia, Latvia, Austria and Luxembourg.