Bulgaria abolishes tax on Russian gas delivered to Serbia and Hungary

The Bulgarian government has agreed to abolish the transit tax on Russian natural gas that passes through its territory and is delivered to Serbia, Hungary and North Macedonia, the former Bulgarian Prime Minister and now GERB leader, Boyko Borisov has, in the hope that abolishing this tax could help Bulgaria with its Schengen Area bid.

Earlier, Hungary threatened to block Bulgaria’s bid to join the EU’s border-free Schengen area unless it abolished the charges. Romania and Bulgaria have spent more than a decade trying to gain unanimous EU approval to enter Schengen, and their efforts were recently boosted when Austria suggested it was open to lifting its longstanding veto in exchange for other migration-related demands.

But, on Monday, Hungary issued its gas ultimatum at a meeting of EU officials in Brussels, according to three people briefed on the discussions. The threat is the latest move by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to disrupt EU consensus, ahead of a summit of EU leaders this week where he has vowed to block financial and political support for Ukraine.

The Hungarian leader, widely seen as Vladimir Putin’s closest partner in the EU and NATO, has previously criticised the Bulgarian tax, which affects one of the last remaining routes for Russian gas into the EU after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

Bulgaria introduced an 11-dollar excise tax per megawatt-hour of transiting Russian gas in October, the proceeds of which it is yet to collect. The main goal was to squeeze the Russians out of the European market.

(eKapija, 12.12.2023)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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