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Bulgaria seeks EU help for energy sector reform

Bulgaria said Thursday it had asked the European Commission for expert help to reform its troubled energy sector as sanctions loom owing to lagging liberalization of the country’s energy market. During talks in Brussels with European Council President Herman van Rompuy, Bulgaria’s caretaker Premier Marin Raykov asked Wednesday for “a thorough analysis of (Bulgaria’s) energy issues by the specialized units in the European Commission - the Directorates-General for Energy and Competition,” a government statement said. Sofia also sought “an international analysis of the price-fixing practices and the energy sector as a whole to identify problems that led to rising tension among the Bulgarians,” Raykov was quoted as saying by Trud newspaper. January electricity bills, which doubled from those in December, sparked weeks of street rallies against the perceived impunity of power monopolies, and public pressure toppled the government in late February.