Bulgaria to restart nuclear reactor in face of gas row

BulgariaSofia - Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said on Friday that his country would restart a Soviet-era nuclear power reactor at Kozloduy, in the face of severe ongoing gas shortages due to the energy dispute between Ukraine and Russia.

Bulgarian news agency Focus reported that Stanishev said his government had decided to begin the 45-day technical preparation process to restart the reactor, because the country had still received no gas from its Russian supplier.

Earlier on Friday, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov called for a new European Union energy policy in the wake of the ongoing dispute.

Bulgaria calls for new EU energy policy

BulgariaSofia - Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov has called for a new EU energy policy in the wake of the ongoing gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

In a speech on national security Friday in Sofia, Parvanonv said that it was "important to build a dependable partnership" between the states of the Caspian littoral.

Parvanov added that the proposed Nabucco pipeline project, which would see gas distributed from the Caucasus without passing through Russian or Ukrainian territory, was not just about a physical project, but also about politics.

EU presidency ready to remove Bulgarian "toilet" art installation

BulgariaBrussels - The Czech presidency of the European Union said Thursday it was ready to remove a controversial art installation in Brussels depicting Bulgaria as a psychedelic Turkish toilet, following protests in Sofia.

The installation by Czech artist David Cerny is located in the main entrance hall of the council building in Brussels, where EU summits take place.

It is meant to poke fun at national cliches and stereotypes of the EU's 27 member states with an 8-ton jigsaw resembling a plastic scale model of an EU map.

Sofia police uses teargas on demonstrators, arrests 30

BulgariaSofia - Bulgarian police used teargas and batons Wednesday to disperse a protest in downtown Sofia, arresting around 30 violent demonstrators, local media reported.

Several police were also injured in the clash, chief commissioner Pavlin Dimitrov said.

Demonstrators, apparently including hooligan football fans, previously hurled snowballs and bottles at the parliament building and a police cordon keeping them at distance from the legislature.

The riot police moved in with force reportedly after receiving a tip that a bomb was set to explode at the scene.

Bulgarian Premier Stanishev in Moscow, Kiev for urgent gas talks

Bulgarian Premier Stanishev in Moscow, Kiev for urgent gas talksSofia - Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev left Wednesday for a one-day trip to Moscow and Kiev and urgent talks about the Russian-Ukrainian gas row which has shoved much of the Balkans into a deep crisis.

In Moscow, Stanishev was due to meet both Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev and the management of the Russian Gazprom, his cabinet said in Sofia.

Stanishev would then fly to Kiev, for talks with Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko and Premier Yulia Timoshenko.

Bulgaria reports reception of gas from Ukraine

BulgariaSofia - The Ukraine has begun delivering gas again to Moldavia and Bulgaria, in fulfilling a pledge Kiev had made, Bulgarian Economics and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov said Saturday.

Dimitrov said he had received information from a centre in charge of monitoring gas distribution in the Balkan region about the resumption of gas deliveries, which are coming from Ukraine's own reserves.

Earlier, Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko in a telephone call with his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Parvanov had promised to supply gas from Ukraine's own reserves, with Kiev aiming to supply Bulgaria with 2.5 million cubic metres per day.