The economy and energy minister of Bulgaria, Traicho Traikov, was fired from his role shortly after returning from a business forum in Qatar intended to stimulate investment in the former Soviet nation.
The event, held in Doha last week, saw 103 Bulgarian firms send delegations to Qatar, but backfired embarrassingly when no Qataris attended, despite 500 being invited.
Traikov, whose speech opened the forum, was relieved of his duties shortly after returning to Bulgaria.
Prior to the Qatar debacle, he had been criticised for delaying work on major energy projects, including the South Stream pipeline, intended to move gas between Russian and Europe.
“We have no time to waste,” explained Bulgaria’s prime minister Boiko Borissov. “Nothing has moved in the three years he was in charge of one of the most difficult ministries. Work on these projects must be sped up, so that after four years we can show people what we have done and ask to be re-elected.”
Traikov has been succeeded by his deputy in the economy and energy ministry, Delyan Dobrev.
Despite the no-show in Doha, Qatar recently announced that it was to invest €100m in Bulgarian infrastructure, agriculture and tourism.