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  • Premio "Nikola Ghiuzelev" 2019
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• (DF) EC Makes Ten Recommendations on Bulgaria's Draft Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan, 2021-2030
June 18 (BTA corr. Nikolay Jeliazkov) - The European Commission (EC) Tuesday presented its assessments and recommendations on the draft integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) of member states. NECPs are described as the first ever integrated mid-term planning tools that member states are required to prepare in view of the implementation of the Energy Union objectives, and in particular the agreed EU 2030 energy and climate targets. The NECPs describe how each member state plans to contribute to the achievement of the common Energy Union objectives.
• (DF) Patriarch Neophyte Meets with Georgian Parliament Chair Irakli Kobakhidze
June 18 (BTA) - Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte conferred Tuesday with Georgian Parliament Chair Irakli Kobakhidze, who is paying an official visit to Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church said. Kobakhidze noted that Bulgarians and Georgians have very good brotherly relations. He said bilateral meetings aim to deepen them, and also the relations between the governments. "We are very pleased that there is a good relationship between our countries not only in a historical plan but nowadays, too. We are very happy with the good friendship between our churches because it is based on the Orthodox faith. As this common faith determines the identity of both peoples, it is also what brings us closer to each other and creates a good foundation for a strong friendship," the Georgian Parliament Chair said.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, June 18 (BTA)
• (DF) PM Borissov, UN Secretary-General Guterres Talk Climate Change
June 18 (BTA) - Prime Minister Boyko Borissov gave his unreserved support for the ambition of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to see the EU become a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to be carbon neutral by 2050, the government information service said late on Monday.
• (DF) Bulgarian Defence Ministry Receives Letter Offering Potential Agreement with US on Purchase of F-16 Jet Fighters
June 17 (BTA) - On Monday, the US Office of Defence Cooperation in Bulgaria formally delivered to the Ministry of Defence a Letter of Offer and Acceptance encompassing a potential agreement on the acquisition by Bulgaria of eight F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft, weapons systems, associated long term sustainment and support systems, comprehensive training for pilots and support personnel, the US Embassy in Sofia said in an official statement.
• (DF) Parliament Chair Karayancheva: Bulgaria Fully Supports Georgia's Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity
June 17 (BTA) - Bulgaria fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Georgia, and congratulates the Georgian people on choosing to include in the Constitution its desire for European integration, National Assembly Chair Tsveta Karayancheva said on Monday after a meeting with her Georgian counterpart Irakli Kobakhidze. The Chairperson of the Georgian Parliament is paying an official visit to Bulgaria as head of a parliamentary delegation at Karayancheva's invitation. The visit comes a year after the signing of a bilateral agreement on parliamentary cooperation. Karayancheva said that she and Kobakhidze discussed the excellent relations between their countries and the active dialogue on the highest level. She underscored the role of the bilateral cooperation agreement and the opportunity it creates for Bulgaria to help Georgia in its Euro-Atlantic and European integration. Georgia is a key foreign political partner of Bulgaria in the Black Sea region, the South Caucasus and the Eastern Partnership, Karayancheva also said. She stressed Georgia's role as a strategic partner of the EU in increasing the security of energy supplies and their diversification. "The development of the Southern Gas Corridor and its expansion in the South Caucasus and on Georgia's territory are very important for the supply of Caspian energy resources to Western Europe," she noted. On his part, Kobakhidze said that the friendship between Bulgaria and Georgia is based on longstanding traditions. He thanked Bulgaria for supporting his country's sovereignty. "We are also very grateful for the support we are receiving from Bulgaria in relation to our strive to join the EU and NATO," he added. He underscored that the European and Euro-Atlantic integration are key goals of Georgia's foreign policy. The guest also said that he and Karayancheva discussed the untapped potential for bilateral cooperation. "We are extremely motivated to use this potential, particularly in the context of the Black Sea region. Together we could serve as a bridge between the West and the East, between Europe and Asia, and we should take advantage of our potential as such a bridge," he argued. According to him, it is necessary to use the big cultural closeness between Bulgaria and Georgia - part of the Orthodox culture - as a basis for improving the bilateral relations. RY/DS /??/
• (DF) Bulgaria, Montenegro Sign Road Transport Agreement
June 17 (BTA) - Bulgaria's Transport, Information Technology and Communications Minister Rossen Jeliazkov and Montenegro's Transport and Maritime Affairs Minister Osman Nurkovic Monday signed a bilateral Agreement on International Road Transport of Passengers and Goods, which will enter into force a month after the date of signature. "The purpose of the Agreement is to lift the permit requirements to bilateral and transit transport operations between the two countries," Jeliazkov said after the signing ceremony at his Ministry's building. The Agreement that was signed on Monday will result directly in an invigoration of the transport of goods and passengers. "Both Bulgaria and Montenegro are wonderful countries and exceedingly attractive for tourism. Two-way trade, too, is making significant progress, as it grew by some 40 per cent in 2018 alone," the Transport Minister stressed. "What happened today is part of the overall tendency of building trust and stability of inter-Balkan relations," he added. During the visit, Bulgaria will also share its experience in managing EU funds, infrastructure, operations and concessions, Jeliazkov said. Nurkovic emphasized that ever since its independence in 2006 Montenegro has been working on an alignment of its passengers and goods transport legislation with the legislation of European countries. "The new agreement will regulate international road transport of passengers and goods between the two countries and with third countries whose means of transport transit the territories of the two States signatories. The agreement will have the greatest impact of the economic operators engaged in this transport and will also contribute to a speedier liberalization of bilateral and transit carriage of goods," Nurkovic pointed out. RY/LG /??/
• (DF) Supercomputer to Be Built in Bulgaria by 2020
June 17 (BTA) - A supercomputer will be built in Bulgaria, said here on Monday European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Digital Society Maria Gabriel during a news conference after meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and the Director General of DG CONNECT (Directorate General of Communication, Networks, Content and Technology) at the European Commission (EC), Roberto Viola. This will make Bulgaria one of eight countries with such a European supercomputer, the EU Commissioner explained. Gabriel said that the total investments adds up to 1 billion euro, of which 486 million euro are provided by the EC. The remainder will come from Member States and private partnerships. The project in Bulgaria costs 18 million euro, 12 million of which will come from Bulgaria and the remaining 6 million euro - from the EC, she said, adding that this supercomputer should be up and running by 2020. Roberto Viola noted that this is the largest EU investment in Bulgaria related to scientific infrastructure. According to him, the computer to be built in this country will be as powerful as the one in NASA's centre. "This will be the most powerful supercomputer in Eastern Europe," he added. There will be an opportunity to introduce artificial intelligence, which could be used to predict tornadoes, thunderstorms and earthquakes. The Bulgarian supercomputer will be connected to a network between all the European computers. Boyko Borissov added that this centre will be predominantly staffed by Bulgarians and will be built in Sofia's Tech Park. The Prime Minister commented that this supercomputer will offer Bulgaria huge opportunities and allow for the testing of car parts, bridges and buildings. It will work round-the-clock, he said. Borissov noted that no such machines currently exist in Eastern Europe, which puts Bulgaria in a completely different role in the field of innovations, science and high technology. RY/MY /??/
• (PE) Press-Review
Sofia, June 17 (BTA)
• (DF) Socialist Leader Ninova Withdraws Resignation
June 16 (BTA) - Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) leader Kornelia Ninova retracted her resignation at the party's 49th Congress on Sunday. The resignation of the socialist leader topped the agenda of the forum. Her decision was received with vigorous ovation. Ninova said: "I am here and I am back."
• (PE) Press-Review
Sofia, June 16 (BTA)
• (DF) Association of European Journalists: Prosecuting Magistrates Must Rule Out Any Doubt of Retaliation against Journalists
June 15 (BTA) - The Association of European Journalists (AEJ) - Bulgaria has called on the Supreme Cassation Prosecution Office to give details of a probe on two journalists of Bivol, the investigative journalism website. In recent months, Bivol has published numerous stories against senior politicians who bought flats at below-market prices or benefited from guest houses built on EU money. One of Bivol's most recent investigations was into property deals made by Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov.
• (DF) Over Lv 1 Bln Invested in School, Kindergarten Improvements since 2007
June 15 (BTA) - Deputy Regional Development Minister Denitsa Nikolova said here on Saturday that over one billion leva had been invested in improving the school and kindergarten education environment since 2007. Most of the money was inv
• (NW) Bulgarian Employers Will Need 327,000 Workers and Professionals over Next 12 Months - Poll
Sofia, June 14 (BTA) - In the next 12 months, employers will need 327,000 workers and specialists, of whom slightly over 179,000 are skilled labourers, shows an Employment Agency survey, carried out in February and March. This is the third survey on labour demand and the first...
• (DF) PM Borissov Confers with UAE Foreign Minister Al Nahyan
June 14 (BTA) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov conferred here on Friday with United Arab Emirates Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Government Information Service said. Borissov said during the meeting that Bulgaria and the UAE should keep the upward momentum in their relations and continue to advance bilateral cooperation.
• (DF) Sofia Hosts Meeting of World Federation of Consuls Board
June 14 (BTA) - The Minister of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, Rosen Zhelyazkov, has taken part in the meeting of the Board of Directors of the World Federation of Consuls (FICAC) organized in Sofia June 14, his Ministry said on Friday.
• (DF) EC: Judiciary Monitoring on Bulgaria Will Be Lifted Once All Requirements Are Met
June 14 (BTA Correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) - The European Commission said on Friday that it aspires to drop its Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) monitoring the progress of judicial reforms and counter-corruption in Bulgaria by the end of its term, but such a decision will depend on the fulfillment of all requirements. The comment came from a Commission spokesperson who was asked to react to a statement by Bulgarian Justice Minister Danail Kirilov who threatened to resign unless the monitoring is lifted before this Commission leaves office in late October 2019.
• (DF) President Radev Addresses Bulgarian Community in Budapest
June 14 (BTA Special Correspondent Lora Metanova) - Addressing representatives of the Bulgarian community here on Thursday, President Rumen Radev said: "In Hungary the opinion about Bulgarians is very high, and this is your contribution." The meeting took place at the Bulgarian Embassy in Hungary. Radev arrived on a two-day visit to Hungary on Thursday. In Radev's words, the Bulgarian community in Hungary is the oldest in Europe, one of the biggest and most united which for over 100 years has been building a "small Bulgaria" in Hungary with lots of love and effort. He thanked the Bulgarian Self-Government, the Association of Ethnic Bulgarians in Hungary, and the people involved with the Bulgarian school and the St. St. Cyril and Methodius Church. Radev also thanked Hungary's Government and President because, in his words, they play an important role in supporting the preservation of local Bulgarians' language, national identity and historical memory. Radev praised the Bulgarian community's initiative to make October 19 Day of Bulgarian-Hungarian Friendship, an initiative approved without reservation by the authorities both in Hungary and Bulgaria. Participating in the meeting with President Radev in Budapest was Szimeon Varga, observer for the Bulgarian community in the Hungarian Parliament . "We, Bulgarians in Hungary, are known as united, hard working and always smiling," he said. In his words, in whichever of the two countries he finds himself in, he feels at home. RY/DS /??/
• (DF) Parliament Passes Revisions Obliging Parties to Return Overpaid State Subsidies
June 14 (BTA) - The National Assembly Friday adopted conclusively amendments to the Political Parties Act obliging parties to return overpaid state subsidies for the period after May 26, 2016. The total sum that MPs have to return is 14.6 million leva. The subsidies for this period will be recalculated in accordance with the latest legislative revisions, meaning a reduction by 6.5 million leva for a year for the account of future subsidies. The amendments to the Political Parties Act were proposed by the Government after on May 20 TV talk show host Slavi Trifonov showed that the state subsidies to parties paid out in 2018 were 6.5 million leva in excess of the amount that should have been provided. This put "the price" of a valid vote won at the latest parliamentary elections at 13.23 leva instead of the legally established standard of 11 leva. At first reading of the revisions on June 12, the National Assembly reduced the state subsidies to 1 lev per valid vote won at the latest parliamentary elections effective from July 1 to December 31, 2019. Subsidies are available to the parties and coalitions which won at least 1 per cent of the votes at the latest parliamentary elections. Approached for comment, GERB Floor Leader Daniela Daritkova told journalists these revisions were logical and expected by the entire society. The state budget will not be affected, she added. Movement for Rights and Freedoms Floor Leader Mustafa Karadayi commented that a check should be carried out. "The Finance Ministry should give a more precise answer to what and how has been calculated over the years. [...] We expect to be acquainted with their calculations. We will make calculations, too," he said. Valeri Simeonov, leader of the NFSB party within the United Patriots parliamentary group, said that it was normal to adopt these amendments unanimously. "Otherwise politicians would look like villains, cheats, and so on," he commented. RY/DS /??/
• (DF) May Inflation in Bulgaria at 0.1 Per Cent
June 14 (BTA) - Inflation stood at 0.1 per cent in Bulgaria in May, the National Statistical Institute said Friday. The inflation rate since the beginning of the year (May 2019 compared to December 2018) has been 1.8 per cent, and the annual inflation in May 2019 compared to May 2018 was 3.5 per cent. The annual average inflation in the period from June 2018 to May 2019 compared to the June 2017-May 2018 period was 3.3 per cent. RY/DS /??/
• (DF) Sixth News Agencies World Congress: Day 2
June 14 (BTA) - The Sixth News Agencies World Congress, mottoed "The Future of News", continued into its second day in here. The event is organized by BTA and the News Agencies World Council. "Things are not as gloomy as they seem. The future of journalism is a bright one, but we must face two concepts, which we do not think about - place and wisdom," American journalist and writer Eric Weiner addressed the participants. He believes that the more contacts people make in the digital world, the more they forget about the physical face-to-face contact. One of the most frequently asked questions on the phone is "Where are you?", which comes to show that the place matters, he explained.
• (PE) Press-Review
Sofia, June 14 (BTA)
• (DF) Bulgaria Returns to Turkey 63 Antique, Byzantine Artefacts
June 14 (BTA) - Sixty-three archaeological artefacts seized by the Bulgarian customs authorities at the Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint were handed over to Turkey here on Thursday. The ceremony, which took place at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences' National Archaeological Institute with Museum, was attended by Bulgarian Deputy Culture Minister Roumen Dimitrov and Turkish Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Ozgul Ozkan Yavuz. Bulgaria returned to Turkey 56 coins (Antique, Roman and Byzantine gold, silver and bronze coins), six Antique bronze applications, and one bronze fibula. The artefacts were seized in October 2016 when a Turkish national tried to smuggle them through the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint. Turkey sent an official request for the artefacts' return to the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, together with an expert opinion with proof of their origin. Also presented was evidence of illicit export and information on the status of archaeological cultural heritage as state property under Turkish law. The return procedure is carried out based on the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, as well as the bilateral 2012 Agreement on prohibiting and preventing illicit import, transit and transfer of property on cultural heritage. Yavuz said that the two countries' culture ministries have very good cooperation. She also said that there are other artefacts for the return of which Turkey has turned to the Bulgarian authorities, but in those cases there are ongoing administrative procedures. She expressed the hope that these artefacts will be returned as well. In her words, in 2012 Turkey handed over to Bulgaria valuable objects of Roman origin, and since then there have not been other requests from Bulgaria for the return of such items. RY/DS
• (NW) News Agencies from Around the World Hold Congress in Sofia to Discuss Future of Newsmaking
Sofia, June 13 (BTA) - News agencies from around the world are meeting in Sofia Thursday for their sixth congress to discuss the future of news-making. In his opening remarks, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said that the Congress offers a chance to discuss the current trends...
• (NW) UNICEF: Bulgaria Has Third Longest Full-Pay Parental Leave among OECD and EU Countries
June 13 (BTA) - Bulgaria ranks third among the members of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union in terms of the duration of parental leave at full pay, a UNICEF report says. Produced by UNICEF's Office of Research Innocenti, the report ranks OECD and EU countries from the point of view of national family-friendly policies. These policies include the duration of parental leave at full pay equivalent, and childcare services for children between 0-6 years old. Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Estonia and Portugal offer the best family-friendly policies among 31 rich countries with available data. Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom and Ireland rank the lowest. UNICEF advocates for at least six months of paid leave for parents, and for universal access to quality, affordable childcare from birth to children's entry into the first grade of school. Only half of the countries offer at least six months of leave at full pay for mothers. Estonia offers mothers the longest duration of leave at full pay at 85 weeks, followed by Hungary (72 weeks) and Bulgaria (65 weeks). The United States is the only country included in the analysis with no national paid leave policy for mothers or fathers. The report also finds that even when fathers are offered paid leave, many do not take it. The report offers guidance on how countries can improve their family-friendly policies: provide statutory, nationwide paid parental leave of at least six months for parents; enable all children to access high-quality, age-appropriate, affordable and accessible childcare centres irrespective of family circumstances; ensure there is no gap between the end of parental leave and the start of affordable childcare so that children can continue their development without interruption; ensure that mothers can breastfeed both before and after they return to work by providing lengthy-enough paid parental leave, guaranteed breaks at work and safe and appropriate locations to breastfeed and pump. PP /??/
• (DF) UNICEF: Bulgaria Has Third Longest Full-Pay Parental Leave among OECD and EU Countries
June 13 (BTA) - Bulgaria ranks third among the members of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union in terms of the duration of parental leave at full pay, a UNICEF report says. Produced by UNICEF's Office of Research Innocenti, the report ranks OECD and EU countries from the point of view of national family-friendly policies. These policies include the duration of parental leave at full pay equivalent, and childcare services for children between 0-6 years old. Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Estonia and Portugal offer the best family-friendly policies among 31 rich countries with available data. Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom and Ireland rank the lowest. UNICEF advocates for at least six months of paid leave for parents, and for universal access to quality, affordable childcare from birth to children's entry into the first grade of school. Only half of the countries offer at least six months of leave at full pay for mothers. Estonia offers mothers the longest duration of leave at full pay at 85 weeks, followed by Hungary (72 weeks) and Bulgaria (65 weeks). The United States is the only country included in the analysis with no national paid leave policy for mothers or fathers. The report also finds that even when fathers are offered paid leave, many do not take it. The report offers guidance on how countries can improve their family-friendly policies: provide statutory, nationwide paid parental leave of at least six months for parents; enable all children to access high-quality, age-appropriate, affordable and accessible childcare centres irrespective of family circumstances; ensure there is no gap between the end of parental leave and the start of affordable childcare so that children can continue their development without interruption; ensure that mothers can breastfeed both before and after they return to work by providing lengthy-enough paid parental leave, guaranteed breaks at work and safe and appropriate locations to breastfeed and pump. PP /??/
• (DF) Subsidies Concern Opposition Rather Than Ruling Parties - President Radev
June 13 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev told journalists that "the ruling parties do not need subsidies as they are directly financed by the State and they do not even hide it." His commentary comes after Parliament approved on principle the Government's proposal to reduce the party subsidy from 11 leva to 1 lev per valid vote.
• (PE) Press-Review
Sofia, June 13 (BTA)
• (DF) News Agencies from Around the World Hold Congress in Sofia to Discuss Future of Newsmaking
News agencies from around the world are meeting in Sofia Thursday for their sixth congress to discuss the future of news-making. In his opening remarks, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said that the Congress offers a chance to discuss the going trends, challenges and opportunities for news agencies. He said that the motto of the forum, The Future of News, is actually about the future of mankind. "Digitalization has already changed our perception of the world because information is in abundant supply but in reality it is the most scarce commodity," the President said. He went on to thank BTA for its hard work in organizing and hosting the forum. The Director General of the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA), Maxim Minchev, welcomed the participants to what he argued is the largest media event of the year in this country. He said that news journalism is one of the last bastions of real and double-checked news, and it needs sources of inspiration as much as it needs sources of financing. Discussions during the forum will focus on fake news, artificial intelligence, the new models of ownership of news agencies and the new sources of information. Participating in the congress between June 13 and 15 are over 200 delegates from 100 countries, including the heads of leading news agencies from the five continents, prominent journalists and figures from the social media. The work in the panels of the Sixth Congress will be live-streamed on the websites of the congress (https://www.nawc.bg/) and the website of the Bulgarian News Agency (http://www.bta.bg/).
• (NW) Government Is Determined to Press Ahead with Dual Education in Bulgaria
Sofia, June 12 (BTA) - A conference was held in Sofia Wednesday to outline a vision for the further development of dual education in Bulgaria after the completion of the Swiss-supported Domino project for apprenticeship during school education. Education Minister Krassimir Vul...
• (NW) Bozhourishte Riding Centre Hosts FEI World Cup Show Jumping Competition CSIO2*-W
June 12 (BTA) - A total of 241 horses and riders from eleven countries are entered to compete in a FEI World Cup show jumping competition CSIO2*-W taking place in June 13 to 16 and hosted by the Bozhourishte Riding Centre, the organizer of the event said.
• (DF) Government Is Determined to Press Ahead with Dual Education in Bulgaria
June 12 (BTA) - A conference was held in Sofia Wednesday to outline a vision for the further development of dual education in Bulgaria after the completion of the Swiss-supported Domino project for apprenticeship during school education. Education Minister Krassimir Vulchev said that the dual education project will have a follow-up after its completion in late 2019.
• (DF) President Radev Hosts Roundtable on Criteria and Public Expectations about Next Prosecutor General's Election
June 12 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev opened here on Wednesday a roundtable on the criteria and public expectations for the upcoming election of the next prosecutor general. Invited to participate are representatives of NGOs working in the field of the judicial system and professional organizations of legal experts, Radev's Press Secretariat reported. There are huge public expectations from the next prosecutor general, who will have to face difficult tasks. That is why it is very important that they have high public approval, which also means having a transparent, clear procedure and election criteria, in full compliance with the law, Radev said at the opening. The roundtable discussion is an extension of the series of meetings the President had with representatives of the Judiciary and the Executive in connection with the need for transparency, election criteria and powers of the next prosecutor general. "I am far from believing that I am exceeding my powers, I am only led by the separation of powers principle, but am not overlooking my duty, as I am the one who signs the decree (appointing the prosecutor general) at the end of the process," the head of State said. The most important thing is for the public to be focused and pay attention to these processes, he said. Radev noted that the prosecutor general's functions, provided by the Constitution, concerning the exercise of supervision, legality and methodical leadership by all prosecutors, are an important factor for the effective combatting of crime, corruption and legitimizing the law. This is why there are high public expectations about this procedure. Radev said that the prosecutor general's election criteria included in the Judiciary Act are good, but nevertheless raise questions how they are measured, such as the "demonstrated independence" of the prosecutor general, which is one of the included criteria. "Bulgaria should strive towards assuming more personal responsibility. Whoever has the ambition to rule, to lead processes in any area, they must be ready to bear personal responsibility and the laws must be changed so that this personal responsibility is clear," the President said. There will be consolidation, progress and prosperity in Bulgaria, which will become a more modern state when those who are in power and who make the decisions stop hiding behind bodies and institutions, Radev commented. According to him, the collective irresponsibility is a national malady and the most favourable environment for it is in Parliament. At the end no one is responsible, and it should be no surprise that Parliament's approval rating is so low, the President noted. "I took a certain risk by initiating these meetings and this debate, I was criticized much for intervening in the election process and the independent Judiciary's work," he commented, adding that it became evident from the forum that this risk was justified. Bulgaria will prosper when there is unity between the institutions' and the public's goals. Radev summarized the discussion's messages as being in two general areas - towards the public, which must keep focused on the prosecutor general's election process; and towards the Supreme Judicial Council members, who must base their nominations on what the public expects. The goal is to make the best possible choice, while the topics and proposals concerning the constitutional and legal regulation of the prosecuting magistracy and the Judiciary as a whole, are important and can be the subject of a future debate, Radev said. Biliana Gyaurova of the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives presented data from a representative poll, conducted in February among 1,100 adult citizens. The expectations from the next prosecutor general are as follows: 65 per cent expect them to be politically independent, 58 per cent expect them not to succumb to pressure, while integrity, professionalism and good reputation are the next general expectations. Close to 60 per cent of respondents believe the most important task facing the next prosecutor general is the active fight against high-level crime, followed by not allowing the prosecuting magistracy to be used for political purposes, and containing conventional crime. Vladislav Slavov of the Union of Bulgarian Jurists said that there should not be so much power concentrated in the prosecutor general. According to him, one man cannot manage all the work surrounding criminal prosecution in the State. No one should intervene with the work of a given prosecutor, who has been assigned a particular case. There can be instance-based control, as is currently provided, Slavov said. Kalin Kalpakchiev of the Union of Judges believes that it would be good to prepare profiles of and the qualities needed for certain high-level positions, including in the Judiciary. This is why the condition of the prosecuting magistracy must be analysed to see where the deficiencies and the strengths are. The prosecuting magistracy's deficiencies will largely define the qualities needed by the next prosecutor general, he said. The large concentration of power in the prosecutor general makes this election more important than it should be. According to Kalpakchiev, the prosecuting magistracy must be reconsidered, as it has relatively broad functions. Vladimir Nikolov of the Association of Prosecutors in Bulgaria said that many of his colleagues are professionals and do their job well, which are qualities that must be recognized. He believes that the focus should be placed on finding a person who can bear responsibility. LI/MY
• (DF) Cabinet's Security Council Holds Regular Meeting
June 12 (BTA) - Prime Minister Boyko Borissov presided over a regular meeting of Cabinet's Security Council, held here on Wednesday, the Council of Ministers' press service reported. A draft annual report on the state of Bulgaria's national security in 2018 was discussed at the meeting, which is to be submitted for review to the Council of Ministers. The Security Council has approved the report on its activity last year, as well as a draft plan for its regular meetings in 2019. Interior Minister Mladen Marinov has reported the activities under the annual plan for implementing the counter-radicalization and counter-terrorism strategy in 2018 and 2019. The meeting focused on the preparations for the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee's visit to Bulgaria. Borissov later told journalists that the future counterterrorism centre's location in Bulgaria has been established. He explained that the topic was discussed during the Security Council, which was attended by representatives of the President's administration. "When we are ready, we'll finance it. We have funds set aside," the Prime Minister commented. RY/MY
• (DF) Bulgarian Prosecution, Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism Sign Cooperation Agreement
June 12 (BTA) - Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov and the Chief Prosecutor of the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime (DIICOT), Oliver-Felix Banila, signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday, the Bulgarian prosecution said. The agreement provides for direct contact between the two prosecution offices and for cooperation in investigations of organized crime, including contraband, human and drug trafficking, terrorism and other major crimes on the territory of the two countries. A mechanism for prompt exchange of information and implementation of requests for legal assistance (European arrest and investigation warrants) is to be established, as well as joint investigation teams. The agreement also provides for professional cooperation related to training and projects, and direct interaction between the Specialized Prosecution Office and DIICOT. The document was signed within Tsatsarov's visit to Romania at the invitation of Banila. He was accompanied by a delegation that included Deputy Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev and the head of the International Department at the Supreme Prosecution Office of Cassation, Tsvetomnir Yosifov. The sides also discussed ongoing criminal cases of mutual interest. RY/BR /??/
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, June 12 (BTA)
• (DF) Thirteen EU Member States Demand Faster EU Integration of Western Balkans
June 12 (BTA) - Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, together with the ministers of 12 other EU Member States, urged for the speeding up of the European integration of the Western Balkans. The thirteen Ministers (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia) called for the opening of accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania in June 2019, Zaharieva's Ministry reported in a press release.
• (NW) General Labour Inspectorate Reports Rising Trend of Child Labour in Bulgaria
Sofia, June 11 (BTA) - In connection with June 12, World Day Against Child Labour, the Bulgarian General Labour Inspectorate (GLI) reported Tuesday in a press release that there is a constant increase of child labour in Bulgaria in the past years. The International Labour Orga...
• (DF) General Labour Inspectorate Reports Rising Trend of Child Labour in Bulgaria
June 11 (BTA) - In connection with June 12, World Day Against Child Labour, the Bulgarian General Labour Inspectorate (GLI) reported Tuesday in a press release that there is a constant increase of child labour in Bulgaria in the past years. The International Labour Organization reported that children in employment around the world total 152 million, and 7 out of 10 children work in agriculture.
• (DF) Bulgarian Trade Union Leader Elected Vice-President of International Labour Conference
June 11 (BTA) - Bulgarian Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CITUB) President Plamen Dimitrov was elected Worker Vice-President of the 108th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC), which is taking place in Geneva, June 10-21.
• (DF) Bulgaria Wants Mobility Package 1 Reviewed by European Parliament
June 11 (BTA) - Bulgaria will insist on a review of Mobility Package 1 in the European Parliament, Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov told a news briefing on June 10, emerging from a coordination meeting with some of the newly elected Bulgarian MEPs and road hauliers.
• (PE) Press-Review
Sofia, June 11 (BTA)
• (DF) President Rumen Radev Confers Order of the Balkan Range, First Class, on US Ambassador Eric Rubin
June 10 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev conferred here on Monday the Order of the Balkan Range, First Class, on US Ambassador Eric Rubin for his contribution to the development of the Bulgarian-American relations. Ambassador Eric Rubin's term in Bulgaria is nearing its end. Radev noted that this honour is an expression of the importance Bulgaria puts on the strategic partnership with the United States. Ambassador Rubin lead the US Embassy through various global challenges, while managing to facilitate the growth of Bulgarian-US relations and to develop the bilateral agenda in this complex international environment, the President said. Some of Ambassador Rubin's most important contributions were in the areas of defence and security, in particular the modernization of the Bulgarian armed forces, Radev said. During his mandate, the scope and intensity of bilateral relations and training was broadened, and the ties in the fight against terrorism were reinforced, he added. The President noted that with the Ambassador's extraordinary efforts, Bulgarian-US trade and economic ties have deepened. Ambassador Rubin said that he is leaving his post with the pleasure of seeing Bulgaria striving for energy independence and diversification of energy sources. He recalled the purchase of liquefied natural gas from the USA, as well as the Greece-Bulgaria interconnector. Rubin noted the progress made in building long-term relationships between Bulgaria and the US in the areas of security, the fight against terrorism, migration and defence. Rubin noted that the US has had the opportunity to help Bulgaria in times of serious crisis and challenges in the field of defence interaction, both bilaterally and as part of the shared mission as NATO members. He praised the tremendous progress that has been made in interoperability, readiness and capacity development. The US Ambassador noted that Bulgarian economic and business relations are getting stronger, and that hundreds of companies have invested in Bulgaria in recent years. IG/DT
• (DF) Over 200 Delegates from 100 Countries Gather for Sixth News Agencies World Congress in Sofia
June 10 (BTA) - The Sixth News Agencies World Congress will take place at Sofia's NDK convention centre on June 13 and 14. The Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) is hosting the forum. The congress is mottoed "The Future of News" and on its agenda are fake news, artificial intellect, news agency ownership models and new sources of information. The forum will bring together over 200 delegates from some 100 countries, including the managers of leading news agencies from five continents, journalists from the most influential world publications and high-profile social media personalities. Attending will be Clive Marshall, Chief Executive of the Press Association Group and News Agencies World Council President, DPA President Peter Kropsch, Aslan Aslanov, Chairman of the Board of AZERTAC and News Agencies World Congress President, Rasmus Nielsen, Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Earl Wilkinson, International News Media Executive Director, and writer Eric Weiner. The forum will be formally unveiled at 10 am on June 13. The working sessions of the Sixth News Agencies World Congress will be livestreamed at www.nawc.bg and at www.bta.bg. RY/PP /??/
• (NW) CEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria Secures Its Network to Protect Bird Life, Habitat
Sofia, June 10 (BTA) - At a recent workshop in Ostrava, the Czech Republic, CEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria AD presented its biodiversity conservation policy, the technical measures it is applying and the implementation of activities under the Life Birds on Power Lines Project, the...
• (DF) Bulgaria, North Macedonia Report Progress in Implementation of Friendship Treaty
June 10 (BTA) - Foreign Ministers Ekaterina Zaharieva of Bulgaria and Nikola Dimitrov of North Macedonia Monday reported progress in the implementation of the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighbourliness and Cooperation during the first meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission set up under the Treaty. Still, both countries expect more notable results in the areas of infrastructure projects and history. At a news conference after the meeting, Zaharieva commented that a lot has been achieved in the last one year and a half but she wishes to see better transport connectivity and faster solving of historical issues. The implementation of the Corridor VIII project should be sped up, she said. She also said that at its meeting on Saturday, the North Macedonia-Bulgaria interdepartmental commission on historical matters failed to reach an agreement on the historical figure of Gotse Delchev, and the date proposed for joint commemoration of Delchev is unacceptable. "I would give this commission a chance until the end of the year before we give up on it," she commented. Dimitrov said that there are areas where Bulgaria and North Macedonia have extremely fruitful cooperation. Notable progress has been made in tourism, he noted. According to him, greater emphasis should be placed on and greater priority should be given to road and railway infrastructure. He also said that the life-work of Gotse Delchev could serve as a bridge between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, and called for wisdom in solving historical issues. IG/DS /??/
• (DF) Bulgarian Economy Minister Meets with Chinese Vice Premier
June 10 (BTA) - Bulgarian Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov met with Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua on the sidelines of the annual China-CEEC Investment and Trade Expo in Ningbo, Karanikolov's ministry reported on Monday. They discussed trade and economic cooperation between their countries.
• (DF) President Rumen Radev Awards US Ambassador Eric Rubin with Stara Planina Order First Degree
June 10 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev awarded on Monday US Ambassador Eric Rubin with the Stara Planina Order First Degree for his contribution to the development of the Bulgarian-American relations. Ambassador Eric Rubin's term in Bulgaria is nearing its end.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, June 10 (BTA)
• (DF) Economy Ministry Signs Memorandum with Chinese City of Ningbo
June 9 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Economy Ministry and the Municipal People's Government of the Chinese seaport of Ningbo signed a memorandum of cooperation to boost trade and economic relations. Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov and Zheng Shanjie, Secretary of the Ningbo Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, affixed their signatures to the memorandum, Karanikolov's ministry reported on Sunday. The Bulgarian Economy Minister is leading a business delegation representing about 20 Bulgarian companies which are taking part in the annual China-CEEC Investment and Trade Expo in Ningbo (CEEC stands for Central and Eastern European Countries). This year, the Bulgarian exhibitors present mainly foods, agricultural products, wine, mineral water and cosmetics. The new memorandum lays particular emphasis on promoting Chinese investments in Bulgarian industrial zones. In a follow-up development, Bulgaria's National Company for Industrial Zones signed a memorandum with the Zhejiang Cixi Coastal Economic Development Zone. While in Ningbo, Minister Karanikolov toured the Bulgarian booths at the China-CEEC Expo and unveiled an exhibition of paintings by Bulgarian and Chinese artists at the City Library. The exhibition has been occasioned by the 70th anniversary of Bulgarian-Chinese diplomatic relations. RY/VE
• (DF) Bulgarian Socialists Call for Debate on Reducing Party Subsidies; Discuss Party Issues
THIS IS AN UPDATED VERSION OF A STORY WHICH BTA RAN ON SATURDAY, JUNE 8. THE NEW INFORMATION IS IN THE LAST FOUR PARAGRAPHS. Sofia, June 9 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) decided in favour of reducing party subsidies but not to one lev per valid vote, the party said Saturday in a press release. The BSP will propose holding a political debate on the issue. On Wednesday, the Council of Ministers submitted to Parliament a bill to reduce the annual state subsidy for political parties to 1 lev per valid vote won at the latest parliamentary elections, from the current 11 leva. The subsidy is available to parties which earned more than 1 per cent of the votes at the latest parliamentary elections. The move comes after TV talk show host Slavi Trifonov said a month ago that the state subsidies paid out to parties in 2018 were 6.5 million leva in excess of the amount that should have been provided, which put "the price" of a valid vote won at 13.23 leva instead of the legally established standard of 11 leva. On Saturday, the BSP National Council approved the position of the BSP for Bulgaria parliamentary group to not support GERB's proposal to reduce the party subsidies to 1 lev per valid vote. Taking into account the strong public opinion against party subsidies, the BSP National Council ordered the parliamentary group to begin an expert political debate on reducing the subsidies, so that they may correspond to public expectations without jeopardizing the functioning of political parties. The plenum will also include a discussion of the preparation for the BSP Congress on June 16, which should ascertain the resignation of BSP leader Kornelia Ninova and should decide on electing a new chairperson. Atanas Merdzhanov, representative of the so-called "internal opposition" in BSP, told journalists before the Council session that the choice of Petar Vitanov as leader of the BSP delegation in the European Parliament was an illogical and inappropriate one. Until now, the delegation used to be led by Party of European Socialists President Sergei Stanishev. "This is yet another of a series of illogical political decisions that were imposed by Kornelia Ninova," Stanishev told journalists. "I did not hear any arguments in support of the decision," he noted. Angel Naidenov, member of the BSP National Council, also found the choice of Petar Vitanov to be yet another confrontational, inappropriate and unfounded course of action Kornelia Ninova took against a part of the BSP and against Sergei Stanishev himself. Also on Saturday, outgoing BSP leader Ninova commented on Stanishev's hint that she could withdraw her resignation at the BSP Congress on June 16. ("The script has been written," Stanishev had remarked.) Ninova said: "Don't ask me about any 'scripts.' I have submitted my resignation. The Congress has an agenda, it is up to it to decide how we should proceed from now on." Reacting to criticism about Vitanov, and not Stanishev, heading the BSP delegation in the European Parliament, Ninova explained that the decision was made by the five new MEPs of BSP for Bulgaria by a secret vote. The BSP Executive Council stayed out of the matter because it is not supposed to meddle in the MEPs' work, she said. According to her, Vitanov and Stanishev were the only two nominees, and the former was elected by the BSP MEPs democratically. "Please, don't blame me for that too," Ninova said. She noted that at its current plenum the National Council has not accepted any proposals to amend the BSP Statute or to put the matter on the agenda of the June 16 Congress. According to her, the plenum adopted a political report assessing the results of the European elections and discussing the preparations for the local elections in the autumn. Many proposals were made during the discussion on the report. "We tasked a 17-member commission with supplementing the report based on the proposals, before it is submitted to the Congress," she said, adding that this was the right way to do it. "I think that if I was chosen to write the report, some suspicions about the BSP being an authoritarian party, about interference by the leader and so on, would have been justified." RY/TH/VE
• (DF) Bulgarian Socialists Call for Debate on Reducing Party Subsidy
June 8 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) decided "in favour" of reducing the party subsidy but not to one lev per valid vote, the party said Saturday in a press release. The BSP will propose holding a political debate on the issue. On Wednesday evening, the Council of Ministers submitted to Parliament a bill to reduce the annual state subsidy for political parties to 1 lev per valid vote won at the latest parliamentary elections, from the current 11 leva. The subsidy is available to parties which earned more than 1 per cent of the votes at the latest parliamentary elections. The move comes after TV talk show host Slavi Trifonov said a month ago that the state subsidies to parties paid out in 2018 were 6.5 million leva in excess of the amount that should have been provided, which put "the price" of a valid vote won at 13.23 leva instead of the legally established standard of 11 leva. The BSP National Council approved the position of the BSP for Bulgaria parliamentary group to not support GERB's proposal to reduce the party subsidy to 1 lev per valid vote. Taking into account the strong public opinion against party subsidies, the BSP National Council ordered the parliamentary group to begin an expert political debate on reducing the subsidy, so that it may correspond to public expectations without threatening the functioning of political parties. The plenum will also include a discussion of the preparation for the BSP Congress on June 16, which should ascertain the resignation of BSP leader Kornelia Ninova and should decide on electing a new chairperson. Atanas Merdzhanov, representative of the so-called "internal opposition" in BSP, told journalists before the Council session that the choice of Petar Vitanov as a leader of the BSP delegation in the European Parliament was an illogical and inappropriate one. Until now, the delegation used to be led by Party of European Socialists President Sergey Stanishev. "This is yet another of a series of political illogical decisions that were imposed by Kornelia Ninova," Stanishev told journalists. "I did not hear any arguments in support of the decision," he noted. Angel Naydenov, member of the BSP National Council, also found the choice of Petar Vitanov to be yet another confrontational, inappropriate and unfounded course of action Kornelia Ninova took against a part of the BSP and against Sergey Stanishev himself. RY/TH /TH/
• (DF) Bulgarian Socialists Call for Debate on Reducing Party Subsidy
June 8 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) decided "in favour" of reducing the party subsidy but not to one lev per valid vote, the party said Saturday in a press release. The BSP will propose holding a political debate on the issue. On Wednesday evening, the Council of Ministers submitted to Parliament a bill to reduce the annual state subsidy for political parties to 1 lev per valid vote won at the latest parliamentary elections, from the current 11 leva. The subsidy is available to parties which earned more than 1 per cent of the votes at the latest parliamentary elections. The move comes after TV talk show host Slavi Trifonov said a month ago that the state subsidies to parties paid out in 2018 were 6.5 million leva in excess of the amount that should have been provided, which put "the price" of a valid vote won at 13.23 leva instead of the legally established standard of 11 leva. The BSP National Council approved the position of the BSP for Bulgaria parliamentary group to not support GERB's proposal to reduce the party subsidy to 1 lev per valid vote. Taking into account the strong public opinion against party subsidies, the BSP National Council ordered the parliamentary group to begin an expert political debate on reducing the subsidy, so that it may correspond to public expectations without threatening the functioning of political parties. The plenum will also include a discussion of the preparation for the BSP Congress on June 16, which should ascertain the resignation of BSP leader Kornelia Ninova and should decide on electing a new chairperson. Atanas Merdzhanov, representative of the so-called "internal opposition" in BSP, told journalists before the Council session that the choice of Petar Vitanov as a leader of the BSP delegation in the European Parliament was an illogical and inappropriate one. Until now, the delegation used to be led by Party of European Socialists President Sergey Stanishev. "This is yet another of a series of political illogical decisions that were imposed by Kornelia Ninova," Stanishev told journalists. "I did not hear any arguments in support of the decision," he noted. Angel Naydenov, member of the BSP National Council, also found the choice of Petar Vitanov to be yet another confrontational, inappropriate and unfounded course of action Kornelia Ninova took against a part of the BSP and against Sergey Stanishev himself. RY/TH /TH/
• (DF) President Radev Participates in Presidential Panel of St. Petersburg Economic Forum
June 7 (BTA Special Correspondent Lora Metanova) - "A new, supranational approach of the people on the planet is called for, one that young people already have, but politicians still cannot afford," Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said here on Friday. Together with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping he was taking part in Friday's plenary session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum dedicated to the UN sustainable goals by 2030.
• (DF) President Radev Meets UN Secretary General, Armenian PM, Bulgarian Community Members in Saint Petersburg
June 7 (BTA) - On the second day of his visit to Saint Petersburg, President Rumen Radev conferred with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pasinyan and members of the Bulgarian community there, Radev's Press Secretariat reported.
• (NW) Centralized Access to Information Request Platform to Be Launched in July
June 7 (BTA) - A centralized web-based platform for filing access to information requests will be launched in July, said Krassimir Bozhanov, head of the Modernization of the Administration Department with the Council of Minsters here on Friday. Bozhanov said that the platform will provide a third option for people to obtain data more swiftly and easily in addition to submitting paper and email requests. The platform will be public and the questions and the replies by the administration will be available to all users. Bozhanov said that anonymous tips and questions will be dismissed. If an administration denies the request for information it will have to send its refusal on paper so that it can be appealed in court. There are 510 administrations countrywide and each one has to be registered on the platform and handle access to information requests addressed to it. In addition each has to designate an employee who will operate with the system. The moderators who will keep track of the requests will have to be appointed by mid-June. LI/PP //
• (DF) Environment Minister Says EC Can Sanction Bulgaria Only if It Fails to Submit Natura 2000 National Reports
June 7 (BTA) - Bulgaria can be sanctioned by the European Commission only if it does not submit its national Natura 2000 reports under the Birds and Habitats Directives for 2013-2018, Environment and Water Minister Neno Dimov said at Friday?s Question Time in Parliament.
• (DF) President Radev Meets Armenian PM Pasinyan, Bulgarian Community Members in Saint Petersburg
June 7 (BTA) - On the second day of his visit to Saint Petersburg, President Rumen Radev conferred with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pasinyan. The two discussed the perspectives for improving the connectivity in the Black Sea region as a precondition for encouraging trade, investments, tourism and education, Radev's Press Secretariat reported on Friday.
• (DF) Foreign Minister Zaharieva Confers with Slovak Counterpart Lajcak in Bratislava
June 7 (BTA) - Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva is paying a visit to Slovakia in June 6-7. On Friday Zaharieva conferred with her Slovak counterpart Miroslav Lajcak, her Ministry said in a press release. The two ministers concurred that the Republic of Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia should receive invitations to open EU accession negotiations.
• (DF) Foreign Minister Zaharieva Confers with Slovak Counterpart Lajcak in Bratislava
June 7 (BTA) - Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva is paying a visit to Slovakia in June 6-7. On Friday Zaharieva conferred with her Slovak counterpart Miroslav Lajcak, her Ministry said in a press release. The two ministers concurred that the Republic of Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia should receive invitations to open EU accession negotiations. In Bratislava Zaharieva takes part in the 14th GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum. Zaharieva and Lajcak discussed the situation on the Balkans and other issues of mutual interest. The Bulgarian Foreign Minister argued that Albania's and North Macedonia's starting accession talks will provide more tools to Bulgaria to aid the reforms in the two countries, and uphold the good-neighbourly relations. Lajcak reiterated his country's categorical support for lifting the EU's Cooperation and Verification Mechanism in respect of Bulgaria, and the country's accession to the border-free Schengen Area. Lajcak accepted Zaharieva's invitation to visit Sofia. The Slovak Foreign Minister said he started his diplomatic career as a trainee in the Embassy of the then Czechoslovakia in Sofia. Slovakia sees opportunities for cooperation with Bulgaria in the production of auto parts, in the promotion of start-ups, and the implementation of the East Ring gas pipeline project which will link the biggest compressed gas station in the EU, Velke Kapusany in Slovakia, with the gas transmission systems of Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, and further on with the gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Turkey. LY/ZH //
• (DF) Transport Minister Calls for Revision of Overall Approach Underpinning Mobility Package 1
June 7 (BTA) - Bulgarian Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov and his counterparts from Poland, Hungary, Lithuania and Latvia have discussed a joint strategy of like-minded EU member states concerning Mobility Package 1. The meeting took place in the framework of an EU Transport Council in Luxembourg on June 6, Zhelyazkov ministry reported.
• (DF) Employers Will Be Eligible to Receive Lv 10,000 for Customizing Work Place for Disabled
June 7 (BTA) - Employers will be eligible to receive 10,000 leva for customizing the work place for a permanently disabled person of working age. The same amount could be allocated for equipping each new work place according to the worker's disability. These stimuli are set in the national disability employment programme, which was approved on Thursday by the National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPD), the Labour and Social Policy Ministry reported in a press release.
• (DF) President Radev: Bulgaria's EU, NATO Membership Does Not Exclude Vigorous Relations with Russia
June 6 (BTA Special Correspondent Lora Metanova) - Bulgaria is a member of the EU and NATO but this does not exclude the development of vigorous relations with the Russian Federation, President Rumen Radev said here on Thursday at the start of his meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at the Konstantin Palace. Radev is visiting the Russian Federation between June 6 and 8 to take part in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. "Our second meeting in such a short period of time is a clear sign of a new dynamics in bilateral relations which are based on deep historical, spiritual and cultural ties," Radev commented his meeting with Putin. He added that this is also a sign that both sides wish to develop these mutually beneficial relations vigorously and constructively. The Bulgarian head of State noted the good bilateral relations at government and parliament level, as well as in the fields of culture, science, education and tourism. "We are strategic partners in the energy sector and have the potential to deepen this cooperation," Radev said.
• (DF) EU Report: Over 50% of Bathing Waters in Bulgaria Are of Excellent Quality
June 6 (BTA) - In 2018, 52.6 per cent of bathing waters in Bulgaria were of excellent quality, 37.9 per cent were of good quality, 7.4 per cent of satisfactory quality and 1.1 per cent of poor quality, according to a report by the European Enviroment Agency and the European Commission published on Thursday. A total of 95 bathing sites were sampled. An overwhelming number, 95.4 per cent, of the 21 831 bathing water sites monitored in the 28 EU Member States, Switzerland and Albania met the minimum quality requirements under EU rules. The major sources of pollution are sewage and water draining from farms and farmland. Plastic pollution is another challenge as it endangers marine life, finds the report. In 2018, 301 (or 1.3 per cent) of all bathing water sites in the EU, Albania and Switzerland were rated as having ?poor' water quality. The three countries with the highest numbers of poor quality bathing water sites are Italy (89 bathing water sites), France (54 sites) and Spain (50 sites). Bathing water requirements are set out in the EU's Bathing Water Directive. Implementation of its rules has helped to vastly improve the quality of Europe's bathing water over the last 40 years, said the European Commission. LI/PP
• (NW) Construction Starts of Waste Composting Facility in Southern City of Pazardjik
June 6 (BTA) - Environment and Water Minister Neno Dimov and Pazardjik Mayor Todor Popov Thursday gave the start of the construction works for a waste separation and composting facility in the city. The facility will process household waste from Pazardjik and six other towns nearby. Dimov said that that composting facilities which transform the biodegradable waste into resources yield added value and will probably become the basis of a totally new economy, not only in Bulgaria but elsewhere in the world. Popov said that the new facility is expected to reduce by up to 25 per cent the quantity of landfilled waste. The project for the facility in Pazardjik is worth 20 million leva and is funded by the Environment Operational Programme. IG/ZH
• (DF) Q1 GDP Goes Up By 3.5% Y-Y
June 6 (BTA) - Between January and March, GDP at current prices amounted to 24,656 million leva, the National Statistical Institute said on Thursday. In euro, GDP totalled 12,606 million euro or 1,801 euro per person. According to seasonally adjusted data, GDP grew by 3.5 per cent year-on-year and by 1.2 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2018.
• (DF) Prime Minister Borissov Suggests Reducing State Subsidy to Political Parties to One Lev
June 6 (BTA) - The Council of Ministers has submitted to Parliament on Wednesday evening a bill reducing the state subsidy paid to political parties which win more than one per cent at the last parliamentary elections, to one lev, from the current eleven leva, per every valid vote, Prime Minister and leader of the ruling GERB party Boyko Borissov said in Parliament on Thursday. According to the bill, the reduction is to take effect as of July 1.
• (DF) "Nearly Excellent" Implementation of Regions in Growth Operational Programme
June 6 (BTA) - Deputy Regional Development and Public Works Minister and head of the Managing Authority of the Regions in Growth Operational Programme Denitsa Nikolova reported on the implementation of the Programme to the parliamentary Committee on European Affairs and EU Funds Oversight on Wednesday. Nikolova said, quoted by her Ministry, that the implementation of the Programme is "nearly perfect," with certain risks that have been identified.
• (NW) Central Census Commission Adopts Census Programme 2021
June 5 (BTA) - The President of the National Statistical Institute (NSI), Sergey Tsvetarsky, opened the first meeting of the Central Census Commission (CCC) in the NSI building on Tuesday, said the NSI. The Commission includes representatives of government departments, the civil sector, research institutes and the media. The CCC has adopted the Census Programme 2021, which will be submitted for consideration to the Council of Ministers with the main stages and processes related to the preparation and conduct of the census. Based on this, a detailed timetable will be prepared for both trial and actual census activities. Members of the CCC have also adopted procedural rules. The Commission will meet at least once every six months and, if necessary, hold extra meetings. Its decisions will be published on the NSI website. The President of NSI is also the chairman of the Central Census Commission, which consists of 23 members. Silvia Georgieva, Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Association of Municipalities, is the CCC's Deputy Chair and the CCC Secretary is Ivan Getov, Head of the Civil Registration and Administrative Service General Directorate at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works. LY/DT /DT/
• (DF) President Radev Calls for Three Seas Initiative to Leave Political Sphere, Head for Concrete Solutions
June 5 (BTA Special Correspondent Assen Boyadjiev) - The Three Seas Initiative has begun to leave the sphere of pure political talk and to acquire more concrete dimensions with the idea about the establishment of an investment fund, President Rumen Radev told journalists Wednesday. Radev is taking part in the Fourth Three Seas Initiative Summit in Ljubljana. The Three Seas Initiative is a flexible political platform at presidential level, launched in 2015. The Initiative includes the 12 EU Member States located between the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Black seas: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The aim is to follow a list of priority interconnection projects. Radev appealed to all participants to leave the sphere of politics and relocate to economy and concrete solutions. There are clearly outlined priorities in close coordination with the Bulgarian government, the President said, taking a question about the projects under the initiative. He was particularly insistent on the 'Via Carpathia' project because it is aimed to connect the countries from Lithuania to Greece through Bulgaria. If successful, it will resolve the problem of the 160 km motorway needed between Vidin and Sofia, he commented. Radev heads a delegation including Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov, as well as Bulgarian businessmen participating in an economic forum on the sidelines of the summit in Ljubljana. * * * Bulgarian Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov opened a business forum on innovations held as part of the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Ljubljana, Karanikolov's Ministry said in a press release on Wednesday. Sixteen Bulgarian companies and businesses from the Baltic, Black Sea and Adriatic region participated in the event. In his opening address Karanikolov said that the challenges in the region of the three seas, such as fast technological changes resulting in abrupt changes in the economic relations, and the barriers to business development, require active work and joint policies that come closer to the daily problems of business people and researchers. Karanikolov said that the region has maintained a pace of economic development above the global level and has acted as a hub for many European productions. He noted the importance of the leading role of the policies on innovations and technologies, which he argued will help the region maintain its competitive position among the other European countries. RY/BR,ZH
• (DF) Netherlands Needs More Proof of Bulgaria's Fitness to Join Schengen
June 5 (BTA) - Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok, who is on an official visit to Bulgaria at the invitation of Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, said to journalists in the Council of Ministers that in order to support Bulgaria to enter the Schengen area, the Netherlands must be confident that it is strictly protecting the EU border and fighting corruption and human trafficking.
• (DF) Socialists, GERB Argue about Food, Medicine VAT Reduction
June 5 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is tabling bills for the reduction of VAT on milk, meat, flour and products made of flour to 5 per cent, outgoing BSP Chair Kornelia Ninova told a briefing on Wednesday.
• (DF) Economic Cooperation with Russia Should Be Developed Despite Sanctions, President Radev Tells TASS
June 5 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev told Russia's TASS News Agency that he is confident economic cooperation with Russia needs to be developed regardless of sanctions and counter-sanctions - the way Bulgaria's Western partners develop it, especially in the area of energy, given that important principles are observed, such as competition, transparency and supply security, Radev is quoted by his Press Secretariat as saying.
• (DF) Temenujka Petkova: Arguments for an Electricity Price Increase Are Completely Justified
June 5 (BTA) - Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova said at the opening of the Bulatom Nuclear Forum in Varna on Wednesday that the State Agency of Energy Regulation's arguments for raising the price of electricity are fully justified and are not just related to the Bulgarian reality. The Minister added that the fact that the value of carbon emissions has risen abruptly should not be disregarded while commenting on this issue.
• (DF) Valery Simeonov: So far there is No Indication that the United Patriots Will Dissolve
June 5 (BTA) - National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria (NFSB) party leader Valeri Simeonov told journalists at the National Assembly Tuesday that he has no information that VMRO wants a revision of their coalition agreement. "I don't know what can even be reviewed in the coalition agreement, it consists only of three or four points. It declares the will of the coalition participants regarding the government, the way in which decisions are made and what is to be done when there is no consensus," Simeonov noted. "There is nothing that can be changed. It is a whole another matter that the management program needs some adjustments," he added, without specifying.
• (DF) Prime Minister Borissov: Only Chance to Increase Incomes is to Maintain Current Economic Stability
June 4 (BTA) - Prime Minister Boyko Borissov attended the fifth anniversary ball of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (CEIB) on Tuesday, which has been under his auspices since it began, the press service of the Cabinet said on Wednesday. Borissov expressed the government's support to all small, medium and large business.
• (DF) President Radev Refers Controversial State Property Act Revisions to Constitutional Court
June 4 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev has referred to the Constitutional Court controversial revisions to the State Property Act, the presidential Press Secretariat said here on Tuesday. The President's move follows a vote in the legislature which overcame his veto of the revisions.
• (DF) VMRO Slams Plans for Sofia Pride Parade on June 8
June 4 (BTA) - The nationalist party VMRO Tuesday slammed plans for a Pride Parade in Sofia on June 8 and said the Bulgarian capital "should not become an arena of gender propaganda". VMRO issued a press release on the matter. "Our nation was built on the values and principles of the traditional Christian family and we believe such an event should definitely not be held," VMRO said in a press release says.
• (DF) Access to Information Programme Recommends Return of Two-instance Proceedings for Protection of Right to Access to Information
June 4 (BTA) - The Access to Information Programme (AIP) recommends return of the two-instance proceedings for protection of the right to access to information. The recommendation is included in AIP's annual report for 2018 presented at a BTA-hosted news conference on Tuesday. AIP noted that following amendments to the Code of Administrative Procedure, as of January 1, 2019, a second court instance does not exist regarding protection of the right to information. The head of AIP's legal team, Alexander Kashumov, said that the removal of the second court instance in such proceedings will corrupt the legal environment in the long run. Citing government information, AIP said that the number of refusals by institutions of access to public information increases, and has exceeded 1,000 in 2018. The number of complaints regarding refusals to access to information increases likewise. Kashumov said that in 2018 there were more than 200 cases when courts revoked or modified decisions granting or refusing access to public information of the respective administrative authority. In his words, this shows the key importance of the courts in the oversight and alignment of the practices that implement the Access to Public Information Act, and also for overcoming the tendency for secrecy. Kashumov said that the anti-corruption commission was the institution with the highest number of refusals of access to public information in 2018. Kiril Terziiski, a lawyer with AIP, said that the refusals issued by the state administrations are becoming better justified. Also, tacit refusals decrease. AIP argues that if two-instance proceedings are not reinstated, it is recommendable to have an independent authority, for example, an information commissioner or commission, to consider petitions as a first instance. Another recommendation is to have a system for working with electronic applications in every institution. AIP examines the websites of 564 authorities of power. Ten per cent of these have systems to work with electronic applications, AIP Executive Director Gergana Zhouleva said. The highest-rated institutions in terms of active transparency in 2018 are the Council of Ministers and its new website, and the Ministry of Finance. The highest-rated such municipalities are Turgovishte, Northeastern Bulgaria, and Belogradchik, Northwestern Bulgaria. RY/ZH //
• (DF) Cigarette Tax Revenues Reach 9.5% of All Tax Revenues
June 4 (BTA) - Tax revenues from tobacco products in Bulgaria reached three billion leva in 2018, or 9.5 per cent of all tax revenues in the budget, senior researcher Petur Ganev of the Institute for Market Economics (IME) told journalists on Tuesday. Revenues from excise duty totalled 2.5 billion leva, and nearly 97 per cent of tax revenues in the sector came from laying taxes on traditional cigarettes. IME experts estimated that since 2015, there has been a constant drop in the illegal consumption of tobacco products, although this happened because of the increased excise duty since 2016. The share of illegal cigarettes in Bulgaria is at a record low of an average of 5 per cent of the total consumption, or 700 million cigarettes yearly. Criminal revenues from illegal consumption of cigarettes in 2018 totalled between 90 million leva and 120 million leva, according to the IME. Ganev commented that this is much less than the 600 million leva in criminal revenues in 2010. The drop in illegal consumption resulted from people's higher income, according to IME experts. The average price of cigarettes in Bulgaria is 5 leva, which is 20-25 per cent cheaper than in member states that recently joined the EU, and half the average price in the EU. Regardless, cigarettes remain somewhat expensive for the Bulgarian market. "In 2018, the available net daily income per head of the population could buy 5.8 packs of cigarettes, while in the EU it could buy 9.3 packs," Ganev noted. RY/TH
• (DF) Supreme Administrative Prosecution Office Approaches Finance Minister, National Audit Office about Party Subsidies in Excess of Legal Amount
June 4 (BTA) - The Supreme Administrative Prosecution Office (SAPO) has approached the Finance Minister, the Bulgarian National Audit Office and the Supreme Cassation Prosecuting Magistracy about party subsidies paid out in 2018 in excess of the legal amount of 11 leva per one valid vote at the last general elections, the Prosecuting Magistracy said in a press release Tuesday. SAPO conducted a check which showed that five political parties and coalitions (GERB, BSP for Bulgaria, United Patriots, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and Volya) received incorrect payments that significantly exceeded the state subsidy of 11 leva per valid vote, thus breaking the law. The same applies to the state subsidies paid to political parties that are not represented in the National Assembly but which received at least one per cent of all valid votes at the last general elections. Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov was informed on Monday about the findings of the check. SAPO set a 30-day deadline for undertaking measures and ensuring better control of the allocation of the annual state subsidy, as well as for undertaking immediate actions to collect and refund the overpaid subsidies by the eligible parties in the period 2016-2018. The National Audit Office was alerted in order to take actions in accordance with its legal powers on financial control with regard to political parties. The probe of SAPO into violations of the Political Parties Act in connection with the amount of party subsidies provided in 2018 was ordered by Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov after a TV talk show revealed that the state subsidies for political parties and coalitions in 2018 should have totalled 32,128,844 leva but the amount actually provided was 38,684,384 leva. This put "the price" of a valid vote won at the latest parliamentary elections at 13.23 leva instead of the legally established standard of 11 leva. RY/TH
• (DF) US Congress Approves Financial Framework for Bulgaria's Acquisition of 8 F-16C Block 70 Fighter Jets
June 4 (BTA) - The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency published a statement saying that the US Congress has approved Bulgaria's acquisition of a complete package of eight F-16C Block-70 multi-fighter jets worth 1.6 billion dollars, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday. The package includes eight fully equipped jets, all additional airplane systems as well as future upgrades and newly introduced weapon systems. The US government will provide the Bulgarian side with a draft contract (LOA) within a two week period, which is expected to specify a price within 1.2 billion dollars. After that the negotiation process will continue. The Defense Ministry noted that the US Congress made the decision to export this high-tech platform and its systems to Bulgaria in a very short time. Initially, the Bulgarian Parliament had authorized a maximum price of 1.8 billion leva for the purchase of the jets but subsequently the MPs decided to be more flexible. RY/DT
• (NW) Competition Watchdog Orders Shared Ride Platform Maxim to End Operation
June 3 (BTA) - The Commission for the Protection of Competition has ordered the Taxi Maxim platform for shared rides to suspend operation and pay a fine equal to 8 per cent of its annual revenue. The decision of May 30 says that Maxim broke the competition law by offering transport services for which it did not hold a licence. The fine is set at 3,520 leva. The smart-phone-application-based ride-share service has been operational in Bulgaria since 2014. It uses drivers with their own cars who are not bound by fixed working time under contract. It says it is not a carrier and, therefore, is not subject to registration and regulation requirements. The Bulgarian branch of Maxim is run by a Russian national, and the capital is owned by an offshore company registered in the Dominican Republic. The service is available in Sofia (where licensed taxi operators say it operates 1,000-1,500 cars, compared to some 6,000 conventional taxis), Varna and Plovdiv. The decision of the competition authority comes two months after it was alerted by the Supreme Administrative Prosecution Office (SAPO) about possible unfair competition and a year after SAPO launched a probe into whether Taxi Maxim was engaged in unregulated taxi transport. In late March 2019, taxi drivers in Sofia staged a street demonstration against what they see as undercutting of their business by Taxi Maxim, which charges far lower fares but does not pay taxes, insurance, licences and other costs. Taxi Maxim is similar to Uber, which was outlawed in Bulgaria following taxi drivers' protests in 2015. The decision of the competition watchdog is appealable. LN/
• (NW) 7,000 Tonnes of Staple Foods Distributed to 500,000 People in Need
June 3 (BTA) - Over 500,000 people in need have received 7,000 tonnes of staple foods under the Operational Programme for Food and Material Assistance, the Social Assistance Agency said. The programme is co-financed by the Fund for the European Aid for the Most Deprived. The distribution of the food packages began on December 6 2018 and ended in May 2019. The packages contained 16 foods selected after consultations with the Health Ministry. By the end of 2019, people in need will receive a second food package under the programme. The beneficiaries include individuals and families who are eligible for social assistance. The Bulgarian Red Cross is a partner organization in the project. Under the programme over 50,000 people receive a hot meal daily. LI/PP
• (DF) Energy Minister Petkova Participates in Forum on Energy Security
June 3 (BTA) - Real diversification can be achieved only through cooperation between Southeastern European countries, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova said at a forum on energy security in the region, quoted Monday by her Ministry. The forum takes place in Belgrade, Serbia, and includes ministers from Serbia, North Macedonia, Romania, Hungary, Montenegro and Republika Srpska.
• (DF) Problems in Southern Bulgaria in Wake of Abundant Rain
June 3 (BTA) - Commenting on recent intensive rains and the condition of rivers and major dams, Environment and Water Minister Neno Dimov told journalists on Monday that the current situation is gravest around Plovdiv, Southern Bulgaria.
• (DF) UDF Willing to Keep Coalition with GERB in Local Elections
June 3 (BTA) - The Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) is willing to keep its alliance with GERB in the upcoming local elections, UDF leader Roumen Hristov told a news conference on Monday which discussed the European election results. He was approached about the future cooperation between the two parties.
• (DF) Bulgaria Proposes More Active Cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Algeria In Tourism Sector
June 2 (BTA) - Bulgarian Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova met with Mirko Sarovic, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, within the framework of the International Conference for Sustainable Investment in Tourism in Sunny Beach, on the Black Sea, said the Tourism Ministry's press centre on Sunday. Minister Angelova also had working meeting with Algerian counterpart Abdelkader Benmessaoud, the Tourism Ministry's press office said. They discussed future joint initiatives and the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation in the sector. Minister Angelkova expressed her readiness to give full support to Algerian investors.
• (DF) Fallen for Bulgaria's Freedom and Independence Remembered on June 2
June 2 (BTA) - On June 2, Bulgaria honours Bulgarian revolutionary Hristo Botev, his group of volunteers, and the fallen for Bulgaria's freedom and independence. The date marks the anniversary of Botev's heroic death after a battle with regular Ottoman troops and bashi-bazouk at the foot of Okolchitsa Peak (Western Balkan Range) on May 20, 1876.
• (DF) Standard&Poor's Affirms Bulgaria's Credit Rating, Outlook is positive
June 1 (BTA) - S&P Global Ratings affirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Bulgaria at 'BBB-/A-3'. The outlook remains positive, the Bulgarian Finance Ministry said in a press release Saturday,
• (DF) Parents of Disabled Children with New Protest Rally
June 1 (BTA) - Parents of children with disabilities Saturday held a new protest in front of the building of the Council of Ministers in Sofia. The protest was organized by the initiative "The System is Killing Us" which held continued protest rallies in 2018 and 2019 which resulted in an overhaul of the legislation concerning people with disabilities. Speaking to a BTA reporter on Saturday, Vera Ivanova from the initiative said that the new protest is "for the healthy children in the system of social assistance who have been placed in care institutions or foster parents instead of with their relatives".
• (NW) x x x
Units of the Bulgarian Navy and of the Border Police Regional Directorate carried out joint training on the River Danube near Rousse (North Central Bulgaria). The exercise was watched by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov, the Chief of Defence, G...
• (NW) First Shipment of 90 Mln Cu M of Liquefied Natural Gas for Bulgaria Arrives from US
Sofia, May 31 (BTA) ? A ship carrying 90 million cu m of liquefied natural gas for Bulgaria from the US in Greece late Thursday night, Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova told journalists on Friday. The price of the fuel is competitive and is lower than that of the n...
• (NW) 96% of Bulgarian Territory to Be Covered by Cadastral Map by End of Year
May 31 (BTA) - It is expected that by the end of the year 96 per cent of the country's territory would be covered by a cadastral map, said Valentin Yovev, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, during a General Assembly of the National Real Estate Association on Friday. Yovev noted that the map's completion and the cadastral registers for the whole country have an important role in stimulating investment processes and economic growth, said his ministry press office. There are cadastral maps for all district towns, as well as for a large part of the municipal centres and in settlements and territories with an active property market and strong investment interest. The entire Black Sea coastline, mountain and spa resorts are covered, Yovev said. It is expected that within four to five years the making of specialized maps will be completed in a variety of investment areas, providing more detailed information on the cadastral map. The Deputy Minister said that the specialized maps are extremely valuable for planning in different types of zones as well as for investment intentions because they will contain information on construction, facilities, easements, underground and aboveground engineering infrastructure, water resources, perennials, underground resources, terrain etc. At the forum Yovev emphasized that the development of the construction industry and the investment processes in the regions is a priority in the work of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works. The construction sector is an important factor for the economic development and the renovation of settlements, the Deputy Minister said. LY/DT
• (DF) Prime Minister and GERB Leader Borissov: Tsvetanov's Resignation Was His Own Decision
May 31 (BTA) - The ruling GERB party discussed at a meeting on Friday the outcome of the May 26 European elections. The meeting came a day after GERB's deputy chairman and election campaign manager Tsvetan Tsvetanov resigned from all the posts he held in the party.
• (DF) Central Election Commission Names Newly Elected Bulgarian MEPs
May 31 (BTA) - The Central Election Commission (CEC) Friday declared the names of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for Bulgaria elected on May 26, 2019. CEC Chair Stefka Stoeva read out the Commission's decision and handed certificates to the new MEPs.
• (DF) PM Borissov Meets with Chinese Ambassador to Bulgaria
May 31 (BTA) - Prime Minister Boyko Borissov met with Chinese Ambassador to Bulgaria Dong Xiaojun, the Government Information Service said Friday. The meeting focused on the promotion and activization of the bilateral political and economic dialogue.
• (DF) President Radev Calls on Politicians to Focus on People, Not Parties' Internal Affairs
May 31 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev Friday called on politicians to focus on the people, and not on political parties' internal affairs. When their focus is directed at the public processes of use to Bulgarian children, the parties will not have such internal problems, the head of State told journalists after being asked to comment on the recent resignations of Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova and GERB Deputy Chair Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
• (NW) Exhibition in Veliko T?rnovo Traces 200 Years of Bulgaria's Kilim-weaving Tradition
Sofia, May 30 (Zhechka Dimitrova of BTA) - An exhibition entitled, "Colours, Design, Ornaments: 200 Years Bulgarian Kilim Tradition" opens in Veliko T?rnovo, North Central Bulgaria on June 14. Two aspects of the exhibition make it unique: its scale and its organizer. The exh...
• (NW) EC Presents Assessment on Bulgaria's Bid to Host European Labour Authority
May 29 (BTA Correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) - The European Commission (EC) presented on Wednesday its assessment on the four offers to host the seat of the future European Labour Authority (ELA). Bulgaria is among the four EU countries that have sent bids to host the ELA. The competing cities are Sofia, Nicosia (Cyprus), Riga (Latvia) and Bratislava (Slovakia). The EC's assessment was requested by the Council of the EU, which will make the final decision.

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