Bulgarian coal miners demand job security, fear changes

SOFIA (Bulgaria) -- Hundreds protested Wednesday against the European Union's attempts to shut down mines and reduce carbon emissions.

Bulgarian coal miners demand job security, fear changes

SOFIA (Bulgaria) -- Hundreds protested Wednesday against the European Union's attempts to shut down mines and reduce carbon emissions.

Protesters from all over Bulgaria were transported by buses to the rally in Sofia. There, demonstrators shouted "We want Jobs!" and marched to the government headquarters.

Bulgarian miners claim that the EU's timeline for coal mining and extraction closure is too short. They also argue that it shouldn't be at the cost of the poorest and most carbon-dependent areas in the bloc.

Two of the largest trade unions in the country, the organizers of the protest, claimed they were fighting for Bulgaria's energy independence. They also warned that thousands of jobs could be at risk if the largest coal mines or energy plants in southeastern Bulgaria are closed.

Protesters presented to the government a petition containing 110,000 signatures asking for an extension of the operating life of coal-fired power stations. A possible energy crisis in the EU this winter could cause a social crisis due to the EU's high carbon prices.

Nearly half the electricity produced in Balkan country with 7 million inhabitants comes from coal power plants. 35% of that is generated by nuclear energy. Hydroelectric, solar, and wind power make up the rest.

Bulgaria has one of the highest per capita gross domestic product rates in the EU, making it difficult to reduce carbon emissions.

On Nov. 14, Bulgaria will hold an election in the early stages of general elections. The caretaker government is limited in its powers and there is no functioning parliament.

Union leaders met with Stefan Yanev, the caretaker Prime Minister, and agreed that the closing date for coal power plants should occur after 2040.

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