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BTA Free News

• (DF) Foreign Minister Zaharieva Cables Condolences to Iranian Counterpart Zarif over Airplane Crash
February 18 (BTA) - Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva cabled condolences to her Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif over the airplane crash in southern Iran, which killed 66 people, Zaharieva's Ministry reported Sunday.
• (DF) Foreign Ministry Condemns Lukov March in Declaration
February 18 (BTA) - The Foreign Ministry issued a declaration on Sunday, categorically condemning the Lukov March procession held in Sofia on Saturday evening, which is described as a demonstration of xenophobia, discrimination and hatred.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, February 18 (BTA) -
• (DF) Participants in Interparliamentary Conference Discuss EU-NATO Cooperation, EU's Defence Capabilities
February 17 (BTA) - On the last day of the Interparliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in Sofia, the participants discussed the strengthening of EU-NATO cooperation, the future development of the EU's defence capabilities, cybersecurity, and strategic communications, the National Assembly said in a press release.
• (DF) Presidents of Bulgaria, Macedonia Agree Connectivity between Their Countries Should Be Developed
February 17 (BTA special correspondent Antoan Nikolov) - Meeting at the Economic Chamber of Macedonia on Saturday, presidents Rumen Radev of Bulgaria and Gjorge Ivanov of Macedonia agreed that the connectivity and infrastructural projects between the two countries should be developed.
• (DF) Tourism Minister Angelkova Meets with Italy's Undersecretary of State of Foreign Affairs
February 17 (BTA) - Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova has presented to Italy's Undersecretary of State of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Vincenzo Amendola, the results of the High-Level Meeting of the Ministers of Tourism of the EU Member States on "Tourism and Economic Growth", which took place earlier this week in Sofia, Angelkova's ministry said in a press release Friday.
• (DF) No Data of Victims in Mexico Earthquake, Bulgarians Can Receive Information from Embassy, Foreign Ministry
February 17 (BTA) - No data have been received thus far of victims or serious damage in the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit Oaxaca State, Mexico, on February 16, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, February 17 (BTA)
• (DF) Macedonia Proposes Strategic Partnership Agreement to Bulgaria
February 16 (BTA correspondent Antoan Nikolov) - Macedonia proposed a strategic partnership agreement to Bulgaria. The initiative was unveiled by President Gjorge Ivanov as he received Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on the first day of his official two-day visit to Macedonia. "We want our relations to be a model of excellence for relations among the countries in the Balkans," said Ivanov.
• (DF) Interparliamentary Conference for CFSP, CSDP Held in Sofia
February 16 (BTA) - Parliament Chairperson Tsveta Karayancheva Friday opened the Interparliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) in Sofia.
• (DF) Sofia Informal Foreign Affairs Council: Western Balkans, Syria, Defence and Security
February 16 (BTA) - An Informal Meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Gymnich) in Sofia came to conclusion here Friday after discussions on the Western Balkans and their European perspective, the situation in Syria and the EU role in the efforts to start a political transition there, and cooperation in defence and security. Details of the discussions were made public at a joint news conference by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, in her capacity as chair of the meeting and Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva as host.
• (DF) Health Minister Asks for NHIF Director's Resignation
February 16 (BTA) - Health Minister Kiril Ananiev has asked for the resignation of National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Director Prof. Kamen Plochev, who has sent a letter to the National Assembly asking for an update of the NHIF budget without notifying the Fund's Supervisory Board first.
• (NW) Central Depository Creates Electronic Platform for General Meetings of Public Companies
Sofia, February 16 (BTA) - The Central Depositary created an electronic platform for holding general meetings of public companies. The platform allows all operations involved in the organization of general meetings, creating shareholder or bondholder registers and holding the ...
• (DF) Borissov Participates in Munich Security Conference
February 16 (BTA) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov Friday participated in a discussion on the EU's Defence Union and its impact on transatlantic relations, moderated by the European Parliament's EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber. The roundtable is part of the Munich Security Conference, said the Government Information Service.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, February 16 (BTA)
• (DF) Saudi Business Delegation Visits Bulgaria
February 16 (BTA) - A business delegation from Saudi Arabia is in Bulgaria to explore opportunities for investments and joint ventures with Bulgarian companies, the Economy Ministry said on Friday. The delegation is headed by Muneer bin Saad, Vice Chair of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC). The CSC is the largest business organization in Saudi Arabia whose members include most of the large companies in the country. The Saudi guests in Sofia represent the industries of tourism, food, healthcare, chemicals, information technology, electronics, and communications, among others.
• (DF) Bulgarian Armed Units Certified for EU Operation in Bosnia
February 16 (BTA) - A national support element and a light manoeuvre company from 61st Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Karlovo, Central Bulgaria, have been certified for participation in the Intermediate Reserve Forces for Operation EUFOR Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bulgarian Defence Ministry reported.
• (DF) Less Well-known Facts about BTA
February 16 (BTA) - As BTA celebrates its 120th birthday, it is proud to share some less well known facts about its past and present: BTA is one of the first news agencies in Europe and the world. It is among the ten agencies that operated in the 1890s, along with Havas (established in 1835, predecessor to Agence France-Presse, which was set up in 1944), Reuters (established 1851) and Press Association (1868), the Danish Ritzaus Bureau (1866), the Norwegian Telegraph Bureau (1867), the Hungarian Telegraph Agency (1880), the Lehtikuva Finnish Telegraph Bureau (1887), the Swiss Telegraph Agency (1894), and Harbour News Association (est. New York, 1848, ultimately becoming Associated Press).
• (DF) President Slams PM in Comments for Press, PM with Angry Response
February 15 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev slammed Prime Minister Boyko Borissov for his remarks in a bTV interview on Wednesday and for downplaying the tangible problems of this country. Radev was speaking to reporters from various media outlets during a visit to the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) on Thursday, prompting an angry response from Borissov later in the day in which he called the president words "an uncalled-for treacherous attack against the government".
• (DF) Bulgarian, Macedonian Transport Ministers Discuss Progress Made on Pan-European Corridor VIII
February 15 (BTA) - Transport, IT and Communications Minister Ivaylo Moskovski and Macedonia's Transport and Communications Minister Goran Sugareski held a working meeting in Sofia Thursday. It was prompted by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov's commitment to the implementation of the top priority of Bulgaria's EU Presidency - the connectivity of the Western Balkans, the Transport Ministry said.
• (DF) Agriculture Ministers of Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia Discuss Cooperation in Animal Feed Production, Other Areas
February 15 (BTA) - Cooperation in the production of animal feed and opportunities for investment in a joint business for production of feed was among the highlights of Thursday talks between Bulgarian Agriculture and Foods Minister Roumen Porozhanov and the visiting Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdulrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al Fadley, said Porozhanov's Ministry. The guest is quoted as saying that the time has come to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the agriculture sector and to enhance the exchange of experience, information and technologies in the efforts to increase agricultural production in the two countries.
• (DF) Federica Mogherini: EU and Member States Speak with One Voice in Foreign and Security Policy
February 15 (BTA) - Before the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers (Gymnich) in Sofia, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, told reporters that in these years, if there is one field where the EU and its Member States are speaking with one voice and acting together, is foreign and security policy.
• (DF) Defence Minister: Bulgaria Is Among NATO Countries Expected to Meet Defence Spending Increase Target
February 15 (Nickolay Zheliazkov of BTA) - Bulgaria is one of the NATO countries which are expected to meet the target for defence spending increase to 2 per cent of GDP by 2024, Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov said here Thursday. He was speaking to Bulgarian reporters covering a NATO defence ministerial in the Belgian capital Wednesday and Thursday.
• (DF) Defence Minister: Bulgaria Is Among NATO Countries Expected to Meet Defence Spending Increase Target
February 15 (Nickolay Zheliazkov of BTA) - Bulgaria is one of the NATO countries which are expected to meet the target for defence spending increase to 2 per cent of GDP by 2024, Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov said here Thursday. He was speaking to Bulgarian reporters covering a NATO defence ministerial in the Belgian capital Wednesday and Thursday.
• (DF) Borissov Attends Munich Security Conference Feb. 15-16
February 15 (BTA) - Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is attending the Munich Security Conference on February 15 and 16, the government information service (GIS) said.
• (DF) President Slams PM in Comments for Press
February 15 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev slammed Prime Minister Boyko Borissov for his remarks in a bTV interview on Wednesday and for downplaying the tangible problems of this country. Radev was speaking to reporters from various media outlets during a visit to the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) on Thursday.
• (DF) Competition Seen as Best Way to Keep Down Free-market Price of Electricity
February 15 (BTA) - Energy expert Anton Ivanov said on Thursday that the best way to prevent a rise of the free-market price of electricity is to create conditions for an enlarged competitive market. "Any other measures will have short-term effect," Ivanov told a BTA-hosted news conference of the Bulgarian Energy and Mining Forum (BEMF).
• (DF) Energy Minister Petkova:"Bulgaria's EU Council Presidency Will Support Southern Gas Corridor Development"
February 15 (BTA) - Bulgarian Energy Minister Temenouzhka Petkova is participating in the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) Advisory Council which has kicked off in Baku, her Ministry said Thursday.
• (DF) President Radev Visits BTA on Occasion of Its 120th Anniversary
February 15 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev visited the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) on Thursday, a day before its 120th anniversary. Radev said: "As head of state, I am glad that the Bulgarian News Agency exists and has its history, traditions, experience, professionalism and high standards."
• (DF) Future of European Social Fund Discussed in Sofia
February 15 (BTA) - Addressing an international conference in Sofia Thursday dedicated to the future of the European Social Fund, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev said the gap between those who have knowledge and those who do not have knowledge is widening, and this is a new social challenge.
• (DF) January 2018 Inflation: 0.3 Per Cent
February 15 (BTA) - According to preliminary data released by the National Statistical Institute on Thursday, the monthly inflation for January 2018 compared to December 2017 was 0.3 per cent. The annual inflation for January 2018 compared to January 2017 was 1.8 per cent.
• (DF) Parliament Overrides Presidential Veto on Eased Alteration of Farm Land Use for Building Development
February 15 (BTA) - Bulgaria's Parliament Thursday overrode a veto imposed by President Rumen Radev on February 2 on amendments to the Agricultural Land Conservation Act relaxing rules for the alteration of the assigned use of land from farming to building development.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, February 15 (BTA)
• (DF) Bulgarian Wine Exports Increased in 2017
February 15 (BTA) - Bulgarian wine exports between January and November 2017 increased by 6 per cent compared with January-November 2016, reaching 31 million euro, Deputy Economy Minister Luchezar Borissov said, as quoted by his ministry. He said Bulgaria has a longstanding wine-making tradition and produces wines of very high quality which are competitive on international markets.
• (DF) Bulgaria-Macedonia Friendship Treaty Becomes Effective
February 14 (BTA) - The Treaty of Friendship, Good-neighbourliness and Cooperation between Bulgaria and Macedonia entered into force on Wednesday as the two countries exchanged their respective ratification papers at a ceremony in Sofia. The exchange protocol was signed by Foreign Ministers Ekaterina Zaharieva of Bulgaria and Nikola Dimitrov of Macedonia.
• (DF) Mission Finds Frontex Really Helps Bulgaria Manage Border with Turkey
February 14 (BTA) - Members of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee have found that the EU agency Frontex is doing a good job in helping Bulgaria manage its border with Turkey. The activities of Frontex are an expression of European solidarity as the agency assists the provision of human resources and equipment from member states, the European Parliament office in Sofia said on Wednesday.
• (DF) President Radev Meets with Macedonia's Foreign Minister Dimitrov
February 14 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev met with Macedonia's Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov who is in Bulgaria for the informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers and the chief diplomats of the EU applicant countries, the President's press secretariat said.
• (DF) European Socialist Leader Says Bulgarian Government Has Abdicated Its Responsibility to Fight Violence
February 14 (BTA) - Party of European Socialists President and MEP Sergei Stanishev warned in a letter to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov that the government has abdicated its responsibility for combating all forms of violence. Stanishev wrote: "This is not a good approach, and it is not up to the European standards which Bulgaria wants to meet."
• (DF) Start of Corpbank Case Adjourned Yet Again
February 14 (BTA) - The start of the Corpbank case at the Specialized Criminal Court was adjourned yet again on Wednesday, after two previous failed attempts, this time because defendant Georgi Hristov, a former executive director of the failed bank, did not appear at the hearing due to illness. Hristov's lawyer asked the Court to be allowed to submit a sick note. The court ordered a medical expert examination into the gravity of the defendant's condition and fined him 1,000 leva for failing to produce a sick note in due time.
• (DF) Bulgarian Immigrant in Australia Willed over Lv 1.8 Mln to National Art Gallery
February 14 (BTA) - A Bulgarian woman who lived in Australia willed 1,840,000 leva to the National Art Gallery in Sofia, the Foreign Ministry said. Margarita and Zanko Zaneff emigrated to Sydney in the early 1960s.
• (DF) EU Member States' Directors General Responsible for Cohesion Policy Meet in Sofia
February 14 (BTA) - A meeting of the Directors General of EU Member States responsible for Cohesion Policy was held in Sofia on Wednesday. Nearly 70 delegates of the 28 Member States, the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council, the Committee of the Regions, the European Investment Bank and the European Free Trade Association participated in the event.
• (DF) National Coordinator for Anti-Semitism Wishes for Traditional Lukov March to Be Called Off
February 14 (BTA) - The National Coordinator for Anti-Semitism and Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Georg Georgiev Wednesday said he wished the traditional Lukov March would be called off. His remarks came amid a controversy which traditionally flares up as supporters of Gen. Hristo Lukov (1883-1943) begin preparations for their annual commemoration.
• (NW) Bulgarian Archaeology 2017 Exhibition Features Items Dated from Early Prehistory to Middle Ages
Sofia, February 14 (BTA) - This year's traditional edition of the "Bulgarian Archaeology" exhibition presents over 340 items from 22 sites and posters about 50 surveys differing in both type and chronology. They cover periods ranging from Early Prehistory to the Middle Age...
• (DF) 2017 Q4 GDP Up 3.6 Per Cent Year on Year
February 14 (BTA) - Bulgaria's gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3 .6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 from the same quarter of the previous year and by 0.8 per cent from the third quarter of 2017, according to seasonally adjusted data of the National Statistical Institute (NSI), released on Wednesday.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, February 14 (BTA)
• (NW) Truck Traffic Across Danube Bridge at Rousse-Giurgiu Quadrupled Since Accession to EU
Rousse, on the Danube, February 14 (BTA) - Traffic across the Danube via the Rousse-Giurgiu bridge has quadrupled since Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007 - and continues to increase. Before the two countries joined the EU, an average of 500 trucks used the bridge each...
• (DF) At Lv 1,095, Bulgaria's Average Monthly Wage in Fourth Quarter of 2017 Was 5.6 Per Cent Higher from Third Quarter
February 13 (BTA) - In the fourth quarter of 2017, the average monthly wage in Bulgaria increased by 5.6 per cent from the third quarter, reaching 1,095 leva, according to preliminary figures released by the National Statistical Institute on Tuesday. The largest wage increases were reported in education (19.2 per cent), real estate activities (7.7 per cent) and other services activities (6.2 per cent).
• (DF) Municipal Hospital Employees Mull New Protests, Possible More Radical Actions
February 13 (BTA) - New protests of municipal hospitals are possible and more radical action is being considered, Dr. Nedelcho Totev, Chairman of the Association of Municipal Hospitals in Bulgaria, told journalists Tuesday. In is words, nothing has changed since the last protest in mid-January. Then municipal hospitals demanded state financial assistance to the amount of 30 million leva, raised prices of some 17 clinical pathways according to which municipal hospitals mainly operate, as well as changes in the requirements of medical standards.
• (DF) Foreign Minister Zaharieva Hails EU Strategy for Western Balkans
February 13 (BTA) - Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva commented that the EU Strategy for "A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans" was very timely. She participated in a discussion on "The Future of the Western Balkans and the New Strategy for EU Enlargement" at the House of Europe in Sofia.
• (DF) CEC Wants E-voting Postponed Indefinitely
February 13 (BTA) - Although electronic voting should be held first during the European Parliament elections in 2019, the Central Election Commission (CEC) has asked Parliament to put this off indefinitely, "Sega" reports on Tuesday. The Election Code amendments of 2016 require CEC to start experimenting remote electronic voting from January 2018, and if it is successful, to introduce it as a regular procedure in 2019.
• (DF) EU Tourism Ministers Discuss Ways to Improve Quality of Tourism Product
February 13 (BTA) - Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova told a news conference that ways to improve the quality of the tourism product were on the agenda of Tuesday's High-Level Meeting of the Ministers of Tourism of the EU Member States on "Tourism and Economic Growth" in Sofia.
• (DF) Members of 35th Bulgarian Military Contingent Assume Duties in NATO's Resolute Support Mission
February 13 (BTA) - At an official ceremony in Kandahar, Afghanistan, the 35th Bulgarian military contingent took over its tasks within NATO's Resolute Support Mission, the Defence Ministry said Monday.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, February 13 (BTA)
• (DF) BTA Confers 8th White Bird Award On Ruzhintsi Mayor Alexandrov
February 12 (BTA) - The Bulgarian News Agency's 8th annual White Bird Award was conferred on the Mayor of Ruzhnitsi Municipality, Alexander Alexandrov, for significant public contribution in the northwestern cities of Vidin and Montana. The silver statuette was made by sculptor Alexander Proynov-APER.
• (DF) Bulgarian President Radev Pays State Visit to Armenia
February 12 (BTA special correspondent Asen Boyadjiev) - Bulgarian President Rumen Radev arrived on a state visit to Armenia on Sunday evening at the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. The visit will continue until February 13. "The President of Armenia and I concurred that our two countries must capitalize on their strategic location.
• (DF) Bulgarian Tourism Minister Angelkova Confers with BSEC Secretary General Christides
February 12 (BTA) - Bulgarian Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova conferred here on Monday with Organization for Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Secretary General Michael Christides, Angelkova's Ministry said in a press release.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, February 12 (BTA)
• (DF) Bulgarian President Radev Pays State Visit to Armenia
February 12 (BTA special correspondent Asen Boyadjiev) - Bulgarian President Rumen Radev arrived on a state visit to Armenia on Sunday evening at the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan. The visit will continue until February 13.
• (DF) No Bulgarian Service Members Hurt in Rocket Attack on Kandahar Airport in Afghanistan
February 12 (BTA) - No Bulgarian service members were hurt when the international coalition base at Kandahar Airport, Afghanistan, drew rocket fire at 21:45 hrs local time on Sunday, the Bulgarian Defence Ministry said in a press release on Monday.
• (DF) President, PM Offer Condolences on Russian Passenger Plane Crash
February 11 (BTA) - Bulgarian President has sent condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin in connection with a plane crash near Moscow in which dozens of lives were lost, the head of State's Press Secretariat said on Sunday.
• (DF) Institute for Market Economics:Budget Surplus Covers Up Overspending
February 11 (BTA) - For a second year running, the consolidated fiscal programme (CFP) has shown an annual surplus instead of the expected deficit. The estimated deficit for 2017 was 1,300 million leva, but in reality revenues exceeded expenditures by some 850 million leva.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, February 11 (BTA)
• (DF) Prison Officers Organizes Series of Nationwide Protest Rallies over Low Pay
February 10 (BTA) - The Trade Union of Prison Officers in Bulgaria said on Saturday that its General Meeting has passed a resolution to hold a series of protest rallies across the country. The prison officers demand equalization of the social status and pay of all employees in the security sector and ending the discriminatory treatment of the employees in the Directorate General of Implementation of Penal Sanctions and in the Directorate General of Court Security Officers.
• (DF) Three NATO Ships Ensure Safety of Vessels Crossing Black Sea
February 10 (BTA) - Three ships, part of NATO's Standing Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2), ensure the safety and security of the vessels crossing the Black Sea, SNMCMG2 Commander, Royal Navy Captain Justin Hains, said Saturday, speaking at a news conference which was held on board HMS Enterprise, the Group's flagship.
• (DF) First Salon of Museums Opens in Sofia's National Palace of Culture on March 3
February 3 (BTA) - The first Salon of Museums opens in the National Palace of Culture convention centre in Sofia on March 3, Bulgaria's National Day, with free admission, the organizers of the event said. The idea is to show in one place replicas of art masterpieces and the work of Bulgarian museums who play a key role in the promotion of Bulgaria's rich cultural and historical heritage.
• (PE) Press Review
Sofia, February 10 (BTA)
• (DF) Sofia Condemns Benghazi Terror Attack
February 9 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry condemned a terrorist attack in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Friday. It says in a statement that the attack reconfirms that there is a pressing need to make tangible progress in the political process of national reconciliation and building legitimate institutions in Libya under the UN auspices. The Foreign Ministry goes on to offer its compassion to the families of the victims.
• (DF) Auto Makers Support Tighter Control on Car Emissions
February 9 (BTA) - The Association of Automobile Producers is supportive of the Environment Ministry's resolve to tighten controls on car emissions through the annual technical checks and on the road, the Ministry said in a press release Friday. Meeting on Friday, Environment Minister Neno Dimov and the leadership of the Association discussed options for changing vehicle taxation so as to reflect the vehicle's impact on environment.
• (DF) Excise Duty Revenues from Tobacco, Manufactured Tobacco Products Up 2.8 Per Cent in 2017 from 2016
February 9 (BTA) - The excise duty revenue from tobacco and manufactured tobacco products increased by 2.8 per cent in 2017 compared to 2018, Bulgaria's National Customs Agency Director Georgi Kostov told a news briefing here on Friday, quoted by his Agency in a press release.
• (DF) European Parliament Delegation Will Visit Bulgarian-Turkish Border
February 9 (BTA correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) - Members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs at the European Parliament will visit Bulgaria between February 12 and 14. They are expected to inspect the Frontex operations at the Bulgarian-Turkish border.
• (DF) Greens Party Co-chair Keller Interviewed on Corruption in Bulgaria and EU, Environmental Issues, EU Politics
February 9 (Metodi Yordanov of BTA) - The Co-chair of the Greens/European Free Alliance Group in the European Parliament (EP), Ska Keller, was in Sofia Friday to present together with Bulgarian partners a report on the fight against corruption in Bulgaria commissioned by Keller's group. She spoke to BTA on a range of issues within her political interests, including counter-corruption efforts, Bulgarian infrastructure projects which environmentalists oppose and the efforts to form a government coalition in Germany, among other topics.
• (DF) Parliament Conclusively Amends Bank Bankruptcy Act
February 9 (BTA) - On Friday, the National Assembly passed conclusively amendments to the Bank Bankruptcy Act, moved by three MPs of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms: Delyan Peevski, Yordan Tsonev and Hamid Hamid and prompted by the Corpbank failure.
• (DF) More Ambitious Measures Called for in Combatting Corruption in Bulgaria - Greens
February 9 (BTA) - The co-chair of the Green/European Free Alliance Group in the European Parliament, Ska Keller, was in Sofia Thursday to present a report on the state of affairs with the fight against corruption in Bulgaria commissioned by Keller's group. At a news conference the group co-chair reconfirmed the report's conclusion that more ambitious measures are called for in combatting corruption in this country as well as across the EU and its institutions.
• (DF) President Appoints Colonel Todorov Acting Head of National Bodyguard Service
February 9 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev has decreed the discharge of Lieutenant General Angel Antonov as National Bodyguard Service (NBS) head, the President's press secretariat said Friday.
• (DF) Minister Zeybekci:Turkey Commends Bulgaria's Initiative to Host EU-Turkey Summit
February 9 (BTA) - Turkey views very positively Bulgaria's initiative to host a high-level meeting between the EU and Turkey in Varna (on the Black Sea) on March 26, said Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci in a BTA interview. He said: "I view the summit as a historic chance," adding that Turkey has been aspiring to join the EU for 55 years.
• (DF) GERB Asks Constitutional Court if Istanbul Convention is Consistent with Constitution
February 8 (BTA) - GERB has asked the Constitutional Court to determine whether the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (known as the Istanbul Convention) is consistent with the Constitution, Danail Kirilov, Chairman of the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee, told reporters.
• (DF) Automotive Industry Quadruples in Ten Years
February 8 (BTA) - The automotive industry accounts for 3.6 per cent of the Gross Value Added and has more than quadrupled in the past ten years, said Thursday Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov. He was speaking at a conference on the state of play of the automotive industry in 2017, organized by the Automotive Cluster Bulgaria. Companies in the industry number over 130 and employ more than 30 000 people.
• (DF) National Beekeeping Programme Reports 70 Per Cent Absorption in 2017
February 8 (BTA) - The first year of the implementation of the National Beekeeping Programme for 2017-2019 ended with 70 per cent absorption of the funds, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry said in a press release on Thursday. This is the fourth three-year national programme with a budget amounting to 4,758,663 leva.
• (DF) Over 6,500 Students from 49 Universities to Receive European Scholarships
February 8 (BTA) - Over 6,500 students from 49 higher education establishments in Bulgaria will receive scholarships worth a total of 4.4 million leva for high grades and special achievements during the winter term of 2018, the Education and Science Ministry said in a press release Thursday.
• (DF) Bulgarians Favour More Order, Control in Resorts - Survey
February 8 (BTA) - Most of Bulgarians firmly support the introduction of more rules and order in Bulgarian resorts, shows a Gallup International survey conducted among 801 adults between January 31 and February 1 as part of the pollster's consumer research programme.
• (DF) European Commission Edges Down Forecast for Bulgaria's Economic Development in 2018
February 7 (BTA) - The European Commission Wednesday published its winter 2018 economic forecast where it edged down Bulgaria's expected real GDP growth for 2018 to 3.7 per cent, and for 2019, to 3.5 per cent, from previous estimates of 3.8 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.
• (DF) Ex-President Plevneliev: "Former Defence Minister Nenchev Acted in Line with State Policy on MiG-29 Fighters Repair"
February 7 (BTA) - Former Bulgarian President (2012-2017) Rosen Plevneliev Wednesday testified before the Sofia City Court in a trial in which ex-defence minister Nikolay Nenchev is charged with malfeasance in office in connection with the repair of the Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 fighter aircraft in Poland.
• (DF) Half of Bulgarians Using Internet Ready to Provide Personal Data Online - Eurostat
February 7 (BTA) - Nearly 50 per cent of the Bulgarians aged 16-74 years who used the Internet were ready to provide general personal information about themselves online, according to a Eurostat poll into attitudes of Internet users in the EU in 2016. The average EU percentage of Internet users willing to share personal data online was 70 per cent.
• (DF) Cash in Circulation Reaches Lv 15,703.2 Mln by End of 2017
February 7 (BTA) - At the end of December 2017, circulating currency reached 15,703.2 million leva, up by 1,550.3 million, or 10.95 per cent from the end of December 2016, the Bulgarian National Bank reported. During the previous one-year period (December 2015 - December 2016), the increase was lower in value terms (1,428.1 million leva) but higher in percentage terms (11.22 per cent).
• (DF) No Reports So Far of Bulgarian Casualties in Taiwan Earthquake
February 7 (BTA) - No reports have been received so far of any Bulgarian citizens injured or killed in an earthquake that hit the Taiwanese coastal city of Hualien late on Tuesday, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said in a press release on Wednesday.
• (DF) It's Official:EU Leaders Invite Turkish President Erdogan to Meet them in Varna on March 26
February 7 (BTA correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) - European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inviting him to meet with them in Varna (on the Black Sea) on March 26, 2018. The letter, dated February 5, was made public by Tusk's spokesman on Tuesday evening.
• (DF) Radev, Borissov Hail EU Western Balkans Strategy
February 6 (BTA) - Following the adoption of a strategy for "A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans" by the European Commission on Tuesday, President Rumen Radev expressed support and said this timely document highlighted the EU's strategic goal - the region's accession.
• (DF) Borissov Hails EU Western Balkans Strategy
February 6 (BTA) - Following the adoption of a strategy for "A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans" by the European Commission on Tuesday, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said: "I hail the Strategy which firmly states Europe's desire to develop as a continent of stability, security and prosperity."
• (DF) Finance Minister Goranov, Norwegian Counterpart Jensen Sign EU-Norway Cooperation Agreement
February 6 (BTA) - Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, in his capacity as Chair of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), and the Norwegian Finance Minister, Siv Jensen, signed here an Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the Kingdom of Norway on administrative cooperation, combating fraud and recovery of claims in the field of value added tax, Goranov's Ministry reported Tuesday.
• (DF) Outsourcing Industry Generated 3.6% of Bulgaria's GDP in 2016
February 6 (BTA) - In 2016 the outsourcing industry generated 1.5 billion euro, 3.6 per cent of Bulgaria's GDP. Expectations are that by 2020 revenues will reach 2.5 billion euro, 4.2 per cent of GDP, representatives of the Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency (SMPIA) and the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association (BOA) told a BTA-hosted news conference Tuesday.
• (DF) Sofia Hosts EU Conference on Healthy Nutrition for Children
February 6 (BTA) - An expert conference entitled "The Healthy Future of Europe: Healthy Nutrition for Children" took place here on Tuesday within the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council.
• (DF) Legislative Amendments to Draw Electricity Producers to Free Market
February 6 (BTA) - Emerging from a meeting of employers and experts with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov Tuesday, Chairman of the parliamentary Energy Committee Delyan Dobrev said that speedy legislative amendments will draw electricity producers on the free market. Dobrev described the meeting as very productive and said that agreement was reached about "deep reforms" in the energy sector.
• (DF) President Radev Congratulates Cypriot Counterpart Anastasiades on Re-election
February 6 (BTA) - President Rumen Radev Tuesday spoke over the phone with newly re-elected Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and congratulated him on his election victory, Radev's press secretariat said.
• (DF) Salaries of Engine Staff of Bulgarian State Railways Increased
February 6 (BTA) - The Board of Directors of the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) Holding EAD has passed a resolution to increase the salaries of the engine staff in the passenger and cargo divisions of the holding, the company said.
• (DF) Bulgarian Stock Exchange-Sofia Acquires Bulgarian Independent Energy Exchange
February 6 (BTA) - The Bulgarian Stock Exchange-Sofia acquires 100 per cent of the capital of the Bulgarian Independent Energy Exchange (BIEE), the stock exchange said. BIEE, which was solely owned by the Bulgarian Energy Holding, was sold for 5.2 million leva. Four million leva of the price were paid at acquisition of the capital, and the rest will be paid in three equal instalments.
• (DF) Environment Minister Dimov Opens 21st European Eco-innovation Forum
February 5 (BTA) - Environment Minister Neno Dimov Monday opened the 21st European Forum on Eco-innovation, which is to examine eco-innovative solutions for improving air quality on February 5-6. The event held at Sofia Tech Park involves over 500 participants from all over Europe.
• (DF) Maltese Foreign Affairs Minister Abela:Malta and Bulgaria Share Many Common Positions in EU
February 5 (BTA) - Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela said that Malta and Bulgaria share many common positions within the EU. He spoke emerging from a meeting here on Monday with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva.
• (DF) Bulgarian-Maltese Business Forum
February 5 (BTA) - Addressing a Bulgaria-Malta business forum here on Monday Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said there is untapped potential. He added that the two countries shared many historical and geographical similarities.
• (DF) Maltese President Coleiro Preca Confers with President Radev, Prime Minister Borissov
February 5 (BTA) - On Monday, the first day of her two-day state visit to Bulgaria, Maltese President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca conferred with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and with Prime Minister Boyko Borissov.
• (DF) Ex-Intelligence Chief Receives Two-Year Conditional Sentence
February 5 (BTA) - The Sofia City Court gave former National Intelligence Service director Kircho Kirov a two-year conditional sentence with a four-year probation period. The prosecution claimed that Kirov divulged a state secret during a televised interview in 2014 in which he spoke about the case of a Bulgarian national arrested in Iran for trafficking illicit drugs.

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