Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Zeman: Gov't should defend ČEZ via EU contacts, arbitration

22 February 2013

Prague, Feb 21 (CTK) - The Czech Republic should use its contacts in the European Union as well as arbitration mechanisms to defend the position of Czech power utility CEZ in Bulgaria, president-elect Milos Zeman told journalists Thursday.

Besides this, the Czech government should also hold bilateral talks and discuss the situation with the Bulgarian cabinet, even though it is outgoing, Zeman said.

"Every sensible government defends the interests of its companies," he said said.

The Bulgarian government of Prime Minister Boiko Borisov resigned on Wednesday in reaction to mass protests against high prices of electricity in the country, which were partly targeted at the local distribution branch of CEZ.

On Tuesday, Borisov said CEZ's distribution licence in Bulgaria should be revoked within the coming hours. According to the Bulgarian prosecutor's office, CEZ "systematically violated" rules.

CEZ said it considered the licence withdrawal procedure in Bulgaria unsubstantiated.

Czech outgoing President Vaclav Klaus said on Wednesday CEZ as not the cause of unrests in Bulgaria. According to him, the developments in Bulgaria are a political struggle in which CEZ was used a tool. Klaus also said he wished that the Czech government and the Foreign Ministry reacted to the situation in Bulgaria resolutely.

Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said he was dealing with the situation in cooperation with the Czech Embassy in Sofia. It is necessary to wait for the appointment of a new Bulgarian government. Until then it makes to sense to negotiate, Schwarzenberg told CTK on Wednesday.

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