Former Deputy Prime Minister for Climate Policy and Minister of Environment and Water Borislav Sadov said today on his Facebook account that he has stopped the implementation of projects in the Kresna Gorge, following the letter he received from the European Commission on July 27.
The Kresna Gorge is part of the Struma (Strymonas) highway at the Kulata checkpoint on the Bulgarian border with Greece.
The letter clearly states that, in accordance with European directives, the EU expects from the Bulgarian government a new Environmental Impact Assessment and Natura 2000 compatibility assessment of the Struma Motorway for Lot 3.2 in the Kresna Gorge area, in which all possible alternatives are re-evaluated fully and on equal terms, Sandov said.
“The EU unequivocally points out that the choice of alternatives cannot be predetermined and that the EU agencies will closely monitor all actions in relation to the project and ensure compliance with environmental legislation, taking the necessary measures in this direction, if necessary,” he explained.
Sandov added that a day before the EU’s letter, on July 26, he had informed the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works about the same circumstances — in order to comply with the requirements of European and national legislation and not Community funds are lost, it is necessary to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment and compatibility assessment and that the decision on the Environmental Impact Assessment from 2017 cannot be implemented.
“Taking into account the letter from the EU, on August 1 I stopped two procedures for the construction of parts of lot 3.2 of the Struma motorway under the Road Infrastructure Agency. Both actually violate European requirements, because they lead to the absence of a new Environmental Impact Assessment and compatibility assessment and predetermine the implementation of the alternative solution approved in 2017 — meaning that not stopping them would lead to a direct violation of European directives and European Commission terms and subsequent measures by the Commission towards Bulgaria,” Sandov pointed out .
“Since the beginning of the government’s mandate, I have indicated that the earliest possible initiation of a new Environmental Impact Assessment and compatibility assessment of all possible alternatives other than the Kresna Gorge and the city of Kresna is the most important condition for accelerating the construction of the motorway, to secure European funding and to prevent future infringement proceedings,” Sandov also reminded.
“My decision is fully in sync with the Bulgarian legislation and the recommendations of the European Commission, including the letter of the EU Directorate-General for Regional Policy and Urban Development (REGIO) to the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works and the Ministry of Environment and Water. my decision does not jeopardize European funds and Bulgaria will not return money after this decision,” he also wrote.
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