Romania Accuses Bulgaria of 'bridge obsession'

BUCHAREST, Feb 3, 2000 -- (RFE/RL) Romanian Transportation Minister Traian Basescu told journalists on February 1 that the Bulgarian authorities "show a passion for generating problems with us." Instead of dealing with the whole complex of economic problems between the two countries, Sofia "always raises the issue of a second bridge over the [River] Danube," Mediafax quoted him as saying.

Basescu spoke after inconclusive talks last week in Sofia between experts from the two governments. Among other issues, he mentioned Bucharest's demands that transit fees for Russian gas transported to Bulgaria through Romania be raised and that it be allowed to export electricity to Turkey and Greece via Bulgaria for low transit tariffs as well as the issue of transiting nuclear waste from Bulgaria to Russia. Basescu said further disagreements could jeopardize the two countries' chances in their accession talks with the EU.