The European Commission considers the state aid for the restructuring of the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) as permissible, according to a letter of the Directorate-General for Competition to the Bulgarian Interim Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications.
The letter comes as a result of the talks held last week in Brussels, during which Minister Angelkova provided additional analyses and arguments for accelerating the process for notification of state aid to BDZ by the European Commission as a necessary condition for future negotiations with the creditors to obtain clear parameters and allow the normal functioning of BDZ.
“In relation to the cancellation of BGN 172 Million (EUR 87.9 million) of debts incurred prior to Bulgaria’s accession to the EU in 2007, I can inform you that based on the information provided to us by the Bulgarian authorities this measure appears to fulfill the conditions laid down in the Community guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings which provides a basis for declaring the cancellation of debts of railway service providers incurred prior to the accession to the EU (or prior to the liberalization of the sector)”, informs the letter of support, signed by Gert-Jan Koopman, Deputy Director General of State aid policy in DG Competition.
“The support that we have from the European Commission is very important for us to renew the dialogue with the creditors of the state railways. A meeting with the creditors and the debenture holders of the company will be set to discuss the possibility of rescheduling the debt. The first step has already been made, as the EC states in the letter that there is no breach of competition legislation and the state aid to BDZ can be allocated”, said Minister Angelkova and added that there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the financial situation of the company. She also mentioned that BDZ Holding provides regular monthly payments to the creditors of the company