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European Commission (EC) has launched an inquiry against Bulgaria because of the introduced in mid-September by the energy regulator so called 'access fee' to renewable energy producers. This was announced by chairman of the 'Bulgarian Wind Energy Association' Sebastian Noethlichs during a round-table on the problems and challenges facing the production of electricity from renewable energy sources. It was attended by representatives from both the sector itself and a number of ambassadors and representatives of the banking sector.
Verification of the EC started in connection with the complaints filed by the associations in the sector due to a charge, which takes between 1 and 40% of the revenues of green plants. Against the decision of the regulator, the case was filed in the Supreme Administrative Court. Later, the minister of economy and energy Delian Dobrev said that he has no information about the launched inquiry, but would not explain why the fee was introduced in a first place. Himself, Dobrev and President of the regulatory body, Angel Semerdzhiev were strangely unwilling to maintain a dialogue with the renewables industry as they, or their representatives did not attend the event, despite the invitation.
During the discussions, the lack of dialogue with the institutions was highlighted as one of the major issues facing investors in the country.
Effects of the 'Access fee'
Sebastian Noethlichs presented data showing that with the introduction of the fee, renewable energy project with a capacity of up to 200 kilowatts will have pay off time between 21-25 years. In larger projects over 5 MW of these terms are 23 to 30 years. Such return does not meet the conditions agreed with the banks and these projects are actually in bankruptcy. Mr. Penkov from Solarvision also presented their calculations, according to which the deficit for green energy in the system for the period July 2012 - July 2013 would be 200 million lev, and the funds collected from the access fee will total less than that amount. This does not mean that this shortfall will be covered, as the deficit is formed in supply companies, and access fees collected by the electricity companies. Even under the umbrella, these companies can not pass it on their costs and revenues, as this would be cross-subsidizing them.
According to Mr. Penkov the caused deficiency is apparently due to erroneous methodology for calculating of the prices and margins by the regulator. Solarvision's calculations, in addition to the green margin calculations, however, have demonstrated that another deficit of 300 million lev will accumulate with the highly efficient co-generation power production. This means that the allowance that all users pay for this energy will be sufficient to pay the total amount of electricity produced from heating companies. While with the green energy production is attempted the deficit to be covered by the 'access fee' with the co-generation installations this can be done only by an increase in the allowance, which will lead to a hike in electricity price for consumers.
The effects on the business environment
"We do not want to interfere with the discussion about electricity prices, but we want predictability so we can do our job," said the CEO of UniCredit Bulbank Levon Hampartzoumian. "In good years the otherwise scares capital available for the business in Bulgaria, can provide economic growth of 1-2%. If we want more growth, foreign capital should come to Bulgaria, and it is interested to do so, if it can make profits." he added.
Ambassadors who attended the event, also expressed concern about the unpredictable business environment that is created in Bulgaria. Ambassador to South Korea Cheng Bi - Ho said he hoped that the government will decide to not discriminate against renewable energy sector.
In September, the unemployment rate in the euro zone - taking into account seasonal employment - rose to 11.6 percent from 11.5 percent in August, according to the European statistical institute 'Eurostat'. Unemployment in the European Union (EU) remained unchanged at 10.6%.
As in the countries of the monetary union and the EU as a whole, unemployment has increased sensitivity compared to September 2011, when rates were respectively 10.3% for the euro area and 9.8% for the EU.
Eurostat estimates that the September unemployment in the EU were 25.751 million, of which 18.49 million were in the euro zone.
Compared to August, unemployment in the EU as a whole has increased by 169 thousand, while the euro - compared with 146 thousand in September 2011 unemployment in the community has increased by 2.145 million in the euro zone - with 2.174 million
Countries with the lowest unemployment rates were 4.4 percent in Austria, Luxembourg and Germany 5.2% and Netherlands - with 5.4 percent. The highest unemployment rate remains in Spain - 25.8%, and Greece - 25.1%, the data for Greece in July.
Unemployment in Bulgaria for September remains unchanged from the August level of 12.4%. In the EU, higher unemployment rates are persistent in Greece, Spain, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia, Lithuania and Ireland. According to the Employment Agency unemployment in Bulgaria in September was 10.6 percent e.
In October, the annual inflation in the euro zone is expected to fall to 2.5 percent from 2.6 percent in September.
Tracking closely the Greek, Bulgarian companies are the most irregular in the payment of its obligations, reveled the study of market research firm "Ipsos" investigating the current
practices among 2,200 firms from 10 European countries. The company engages in debt collection.
The poll cited commercial firms in the service sector, industry and trade, some of which supply goods and services to other companies and some of them - end-users. For companies working with customers, the share of timely payments as a percentage of the total is 71.9% and for companies working with business clients, the figure is 66 per cent. Typically, companies seek external service recovery when it comes to overdue debts from other companies, experts commented.
Bulgarian companies have the highest share of receivables written off then in Romania - over 8% for 11.4 per cent for Romanian companies, according to the survey. In Bulgaria liabilities are derecognised after the five-year limitation period specified Svetla Petrova. She said that unlike other countries in Europe the large Bulgarian companies wait several months or even years, while taking steps to debt collection, while companies in Western countries sought help much earlier.
If steps are taken to recover the amounts in the first three months, the success rate is 90-95 percent, but if you wait a year or two - tends to zero, said Mrs. Petrova.
Companies in the industry derecognised largest share claims. Problems remain in tourism and construction sectors.
In comparison with data from similar study of current practices last year's trend for the payment of arrears is deteriorating, and increases the percentage of receivables written off, says the data. However, the level of optimism among companies in Bulgaria is one of the highest in comparison with other European countries, with Romania, Russia and Germany are the most pessimistic, the survey showed.
Chinese manufacturer of electric vehicles and electric buses 'Build Your Dreams' (BYD) is interested in partnership with the Metropolitan Municipality and to invest in future technology park near Bozhurishte, which is expected to attract Bulgarian and foreign high-tech companies.
The announcement came from the industrial cluster "Electric Vehicles" after the visit to Bulgaria by the general manager of BYD Europe Yangping Chen. In addition to representatives of the cluster, the Chinese manager had a meeting with the Executive Director of "Capital Autotransport" AD Slav Monov with whom they discussed the possible import of vehicles for environmental Sofia.
The offer of the Chinese company is to prepare a business case for the introduction of a test line elektrobuses upon which Bulgarian managers to guide their future strategies for greening transport in cities.
With the commissioning of an electric bus economies of operation shall be paid for 4-5 years, experts explained the Bulgarian cluster. According to them, the advantage of applying these buses is that their full operation without replacing the battery for a period of ten years, which means that more than five years they will run without the municipality to has to pay for charging them with gas or liquid fuels.
As well as a manufacturer of electric Chinese company BYD is the exclusive provider of global mobile giants like Nokia, Motorola and Samsung. The Chinese hold half the global market for batteries for mobile phones.
In recent years the company has an active presence in the European market and develop business with partners from the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary and others.
Working group, chaired by the Deputy Minister of Finance of Germany, Thomas Steffen, studied the potential economic impact of the exit of Greece from the Eurozone, said The Financial Times Deutschland.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is preparing for talks with Greek Prime Minister Andonis Samaras, who is expected to ask for a delay in the achievement of the rescue program for Greece. During a meeting with French President François Hollande, Merkel stressed that he wanted the country to remain in the Eurozone .
The Financial Times Deutschland quoted sources from the Finance Ministry, according to which the decision to establish a working group indicates that Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble want to be fully prepared for possible "adverse scenario".
"My colleagues made calculations of the financial impact (by the exit of Greece) and consider how a domino effect on other eurozone countries could be avoided," the sources noted.
The group consists of about 10 people from various departments in the Ministry of Finance is headed by Steffen, a member of Merkel's party, says the publication.
Asked for more information Schaeuble said the government must be prepared for any scenario, including unimaginable.
The largest oil company in Central Europe - Vienna-based OMV AG said it has discovered gas field in Romania's Black Sea shelf, which may be the biggest in the company's history. It is being developed jointly with Exxon Mobil, reported Bloomberg.
Preliminary calculations indicate that the quantities of raw material might reach 84 billion cubic meters, said in a message to OMV.
One well developed by Exxon, is located 170 km from the coast at a depth of 1000 meters. The study has started in late godinaq depth is expected to be about 3000 meters. From this well OMV Petrom and Exxon hold 50 percent share.
"This may be the biggest discovery in the history of OMV", said CEO Gerhard Royce.
Still too early to say whether the deposit will be possible to be developed commercially, although The investigation will absorb millions of dollars. This year will be done 3D seismic survey.
This is the first successful deep-sea drilling in the Black Sea. Its possible use there is no cheap, Royce said.
Its shares rose nearly 6 percent after the news. They are traded on the Vienna Stock Exchange.
OMV has suffered because of unrest in Libya, which forced the company to suspend operations for 12 oil fields in the country, which had contracts to 2032
By the Austrian company predicted that the average price of oil variety "Brent" will remain above $ 100 a barrel this year and that the difference in price with variety "Ural" will remain small. This is the variety that "Lukoil" processes in Bulgaria and based on the value priced forms of fuel.