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PM Petkov Calls on European Partners to Help Bulgaria, Countries Close to Conflict Accepting Refugees from Ukraine

The European partners should provide financial support to Bulgaria and the countries close to the war in Ukraine, which are accepting refugees on their territory, said Prime Minister Kiril Petkov prior to the start of the informal European Council at the Palace of Versailles on Thursday, the Bulgarian Government’s information service reported. Petkov was adamant that it would be impossible for individual member states to provide assistance alone to the people fleeing the war, which is why a joint European response is needed. 
According to Petkov, Bulgaria should consider the possibility of Russia stopping natural gas supplies. “I don’t believe things will come to that, but as I have stated many times before, the only way for Bulgaria to cope with such an extreme scenario would be to stop exporting electricity. The good thing is that I am seeing understanding from my European colleagues about this,” he noted. In this context, Petkov added that Bulgaria is actively working on completing the construction of the gas interconnector with Greece, and is also focusing on investing in alternative energy sources, such as geothermal energy and solar batteries. Through all of these actions, Bulgaria will achieve its energy independence goals, Petkov said. 
Answering a journalist’s question about Bulgaria’s position on a common European loan in response to the record-high natural gas prices, Petkov said that a grant aid mechanism should be considered, through which the European community can show its readiness to cover the costs.
 “Ukraine’s place is certainly in the EU, the question is when it will join the European family,” the Bulgarian Prime Minister said. 
Earlier on Thursday, Petkov conferred with French Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire. Their meeting was a continuation of the discussions Petkov has with French President Emmanuel Macron in February in Brussels. The Bulgarian Prime Minister and the French Minister discussed the deepening of bilateral economic cooperation in the context of joint infrastructure projects, the Bulgarian Government said in a press release.