Bulgarian miners and energy unions are on effective strike

Bulgarian government is expected to adopt the territorial plans for a just transition in the coal regions of Stara Zagora, Kyustendil, and Pernik, as reported by BNT.

Bulgaria stands alone among EU member states in failing to submit its territorial plans, with the deadline set to expire tomorrow. This delay could result in the country forfeiting hundreds of millions of euros in funding. The state has earmarked BGN 2.2 billion to address the repercussions of closing coal plants and transitioning to a climate-neutral economy. These plans outline how the funds will be allocated to help the regions most affected by the closure of coal mines and associated facilities. The process of reducing operations at thermal power plants is scheduled to commence early next year, with a mandate to close coal plants that have switched to alternative fuels by 2038.

Additionally, a meeting between energy experts and the Bulgarian government is anticipated before the government’s gathering. However, labor and energy unions argue that the territorial plans have been designed to ensure private companies secure over 1.5 billion euros in funding. Tensions in the sector are escalating, leading to protests scheduled for today.

Protesting unions of miners and energy workers have blockaded key roads in the Stara Zagora region. Shortly before 7:00 a.m., they obstructed traffic at the Hain Boaz pass near the village of Gurkovo. The protesters also disrupted traffic on the main road between Stara Zagora and Haskovo, the primary Sofia-Bourgas route, and in front of the Brickell TPP.

Tensions between protesters and drivers reached a critical point during the civil disobedience at the Republic crossing.

It is worth noting that yesterday, miners, energy workers, and representatives from trade union organizations congregated outside the Cultural Center in Radnevo, where an exceptional meeting with officials from the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works was scheduled to take place.

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