In the old days the then Soviet TASS Agency started news broadcast with a solemn introduction – ‘TASS is authorized to declare”. Today it was slightly different. TASS quoted the previous Yugoslav, now Serbian, news agency Tanjug, that the Balkan Stream’s opening ceremony, the extension of the TurkSteam in Bulgaria has been unexpectedly rescheduled from today – December 30 to January 1, 2021, to take place in the Serbian town of Zabalj.
Vucic’s press office gave no reasons, but it will be logical to assume that the Serbian president feels lonely and lacks the Bulgarian prime minister and a high-ranking Russian or Hungarian guest.
According to informed sources, Borisov and the CEO of Bulgartransgaz are desperate to avoid any publicity that could shed international media spotlight on the news story.
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A month and a half ago, both submerged trying to keep the golden weld bonding ceremony, bonding the Serbian and the Bulgarian section, off the public eye. Since the start of the mass protests in July and TurkStream’s related corruption disclosures took centre stage, Borisov ceased making public his itinerary, fearing protests and associated negative newsfeed. He understands that pomp ribbon-cutting ceremonies could end up badly for him and could provide fresh impetus to anti-corruption demonstrations, given the $2 billion corruption inflated price tag.
It makes sense for Vucic to postpone the ceremony for January 1, hoping Hungarian and Bulgarian PMs could join as the chance for negative news stories with protesters on the first day of the year is slim to none.
Many consider PM Borisov’s role in securing the Turk Stream’s safe navigation in EU and US geopolitical and regulatory waters as crucial, defining his true allegiances. His addiction to opening and ribbon-cutting ceremonies is a public secret. Missing the chance to declare success on a $ 2 billion investment – one of the most strategically important and certainly one of the largest during his tenure is somewhat strange?
Borisov may be acting on tips from foreign advisers’ that he dumps any association with the Turk Stream’s success in Bulgaria and Serbia, resting in the shade of Chancellor Merkel and the Nord Stream-2.
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