“We have officially invited ABV and DPS for talks on the vote of non-confidence in the government on Monday,” said BSP leader Korneliya Ninova on Darik radio.
The concrete reason for the non-confidence vote on the foreign policy of the government is the withdrawal of the support of the Cabinet for the nomination of Irina Bokova, but also the foreign policy of the country as a whole.
According to Ninova, the EUR 160 M provided by the EC for dealing with the refugees have been granted in exchange for postponing the entry of Bulgaria in Schengen.
“I, personally, think that in order for us to say God Day!, they have to explain to us what the real reasons were for the failure of the negotiations with ABV. But to look us in the eye and explain because what we heard in the media were total lies,” commented ABV leader Georgi Parvanov.
“We will settle on a vote of non-confidence on security – security in the broader sense, from military security to internal security, to security beyond the borders of the country,” added Parvanov.
The official Bulgarian candidate for UN Secretary General Kristalina Georgieva has published her vision of the activity of the leader of the world organisation on the website of the United Nations Association in Bulgaria.
Georgieva states that the voice of the Secretary General must be heard constantly on a global scale and he/she must insist on action with respect to climate change.
On Wednesday, the Bulgarian government announced its support for the nomination of Georgieva for Secretary General. The former favourite of the country Irina Bokova remains in the race.
In her vision, Georgieva undertakes the obligation to strengthen co-operation with the African Union in the field of conflict prevention, she promises to look for new sources of public financing for the expansion of peace-keeping operations and to attract private investments for the needs of refugees from wars.
According to her, the UN has reached a level where it is viewed as slow-acting, ineffective and lacking focus. Georgieva wants to restore the reputation of the UN as a source of innovations, partnership and results. She is confident that, despite her late entry, she has great chances of becoming the first woman to head the international organisation.
Georgieva will appear before the UN General Assembly for a two-hour question and answer session on Monday.
“The Republic of Bulgaria is our neighbour, we have a lot of things in common and we have to do everything possible for history to draw us closer together rather than set us apart. Macedonia is a place where many significant historical events have taken place before our country was created. The Republic of Macedonia must allow in a constitutional way the Republic of Bulgaria to put up its own plaque at Kaimakchalan, if the Bulgarians wish to do so,” stated the leader of the ruling party in Macedonia VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski.
His comment was made in relation to the desecration of the Kaimakchalan memorial by a Macedonian journalist. Nikola Gruevski adamantly distanced himself from the actions of Milenko Nedelkovski. “We have to take into account the fact that this is a matter of a historical event with the participation of 1.2 million soldiers from two countries – Bulgaria and Serbia and the presence of a huge number of Macedonians.”
Gruevski underlined that since Serbia has set up a plaque at Kaimakchalan, he sees no reason why Bulgaria should not wish to do the same in a legal way.
Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR has assured the Bulgarian side that gas deliveries to Bulgaria can begin in 2020, announced Deputy Energy Minister Zhecho Stankov after a meeting with the management of SOCAR in Baku, reported BNR.
“What has been set to them as deadlines and will be carried out as of 2020 is for the gas infrastructure to be functional. They are the chief factor with respect to the gas infrastructure, namely the South Gas Stream. On our part, we have undertaken the obligation, and we have constant, monthly conversations, to brief them on the development of the Greek link and, on their part, we have been assured that the flows of this one billion cubic metres to Bulgaria through the South Stream Gas Corridor, IHB, to our gas system of Bulgartransgaz will start flowing in 2020. ”
Stankov announced that there is an option for Bulgaria to import larger quantities of gas from Azerbaijan as of 2023. At present, Bulgargaz has a contract for the delivery of one billion cubic metres from the Shah Deniz 2 deposit.
At the same time, our Azerbaijani partners are thinking of a way to invest in the project for the gas distribution hub Balkan.
“In their opinion and in the way they presented their intentions for a prospect, they are looking for the exact option how to become investors envisaging whether this is to be done via SOCAR or a subsidiary, which assured us that they are really discussing the option of developing such a project on the territory of the country. They did not undertake a clear obligation of how they will participate but the very fact that they are looking for an option how to participate in it shows that we now have processes at work in SOCAR for them to think in this direction,” added Stankov
Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos recommended to Turkish President Recep Erdogan to refrain from embarking on the dangerous road of revising international law.
On Thursday, Erdogan criticised the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 as damaging to Turkish interests. According to Erdogan, in Lausanne, the Turks gave over to Greece the islands in the Aegean Sea where “shouts can be heard from our shores” and there are “mosques and relics that belong to us”.
The President underlined that the country is fighting for the shelf to the present day and that “these problems originated because of those who sat around the table in Lausanne and could not defend Turkey’s rights.”
Turkish media assessed this statement as criticism of the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who considered the signing of the Lausanne Treaty a victory after the unfavourable for Turkey Treaty of Sevres of 1920.
In Greece, however, political observers stated that, for the first time in contemporary history, the government in Turkey is questioning the Lausanne Treaty and the borders between the two countries.
“Now, the entire world understands that Erdogan’s efforts are directed towards turning Turkey into a theocratic state by rejecting, because of internal problems, the changes made by Kemal Ataturk,” emphasised Kammenos.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that she has not changed her position on the immigrant issue.
This happened two weeks after Merkel announced that she would like to turn time back in order to prepare her country better for the immigrant flood, reported Reuters.
“I have not changed my policy. I have created a policy,” stated Merkel. She added that she has worked for decisions which are “good for both Germany and Europe”, including the defence of the external frontiers of the EU and the fight against the reasons for immigration in the Middle East and Africa.
“Our purpose is for the situation from last year not to repeat itself and, by the way, we have made a lot of progress over the last 12 months,” pointed out Merkel.
Her idea is for people who have no right to asylum to be repatriated, as well as to set quotas for the distribution of refugees among the member-states of the EU.
Burgas Airport will be shut down form October 31 to December 30, reported the operator Fraport Twin Star Airport Management AD on its webpage.
The reason for the shutdown is large-scale infrastructure projects for reconstruction and rehabilitation of the taxiing lanes. The upgrade of the system for management and control of the lighting and equipment for landing lights will also be completed.
The total amount of the investment of Fraport Twin star Airport Management AD is over BGN 12 M.
The Chinese yuan officially joined the USD, the Euro, the Japanese Yen and the British Pound Sterling as a global reserve currency.
This is an extremely important moment for Beijing in securing greater influence on the international stage, reported Reuters.
The yuan is being included in the basket of IMF reserve currencies on the day China celebrates the creation of the Chinese People’s Republic in 1949.
This step is not expected to affect global markets since it was announced last year, but it will place the not-so-transparent economic and financial policy of Beijing in the international spotlight because central banks will add assets in yuans to their official reserves.
China surprised global markets by devaluing its currency last year. As of then, the exchange rate of the yuan decreased to a near 6-year minimum which is another reason to worry considering weak global growth as it is.
Initiative committees, parties and coalitions which do not receive a state subsidy and, by law, have the right to media packages of up to BGN 40,000 for “for” and “against” campaigns for the presidential elections and the referendum on November 6 can cover their participation in national TV stations and radios only.
This is the decision expected to be taken by the Central Election Commission later on Saturday.
In an interview for Darik radio, its Chairman Ivelina Alexieva explained that the reason for this decision is to avoid the possibility of small websites linked to initiative committees to receive state money. Alexieva pointed out that there will be a signed procedure in accordance with which the funds from the media packages will be paid not to initiative committees but directly to the media and only after these present signed contracts and proof of participation.
A total of 14 initiative committees have registered for participation in the elections, while 22 have registered for campaigns for the referendum. This means that BGN 1.5 M must be paid for their media packages.
For the first time, voting is mandatory and the ballot will include an option of “I do not support anybody”. According to Alexieva, even if 50% of voters make this choice, the two presidential candidates with the greatest support will reach a ballotage.
After the vote, Citizen Registration and Administrative Services will check which eligible voters did not vote. According to the Electoral Code, an eligible voter who does not vote at two consecutive, identical rounds of voting will be deleted from the electoral register.
The ban on Serbian music in the neighbouring Republic of Macedonia entered into force on Friday night.
Serbian music may not be played on local radios and TV stations. All Macedonian TV channels and radios observe the ban and, besides global music hits, they play Croatian, Bulgarian, Bosnian and Albanian music.
The ban was imposed after the Serbian association of music authors refused to accept the conditions on the playing of Serbian music in Macedonia. According to the association, Macedonia is obliged to control the observance of the ban.
The reason for the dispute is the tariff regarding copyrights which was reduced by 50% by the Macedonian Ministry of Culture.
The disputes on copyrights affected Macedonian music as well. This is why the oldest Macedonian festival in Valandovo will not be held today.
The growth of migrant trafficking through Bulgaria is disturbing, announced Europol.
The greatest number of traffickers are Turkish, but there are also many Bulgarians, Syrians, Polish, Serbs and Kosovars. About 40,000 migrant traffickers have netted nearly USD 6 B last year.
According to Europol data, there are 230 hot spots in the EU, but the main ones are outside its borders – Istanbul, Izmir, Tripoli, Benghazi, Amman, Beirut, Casablanca, Cairo and Oran.
The hot spots for illegal migration in the EU include Athens, Thessaloniki, Calais, Vienna, Budapest, Munich, Rome, Milan, Madrid, Warsaw, Paris, Hamburg and Stockholm.
According to Egyptian authorities, local traffickers charge USD 3,000-5,000 per person in order to transport them to an EU country.
Corrupt policemen and customs officials participate in the traffic, but so do employees of diplomatic and consular missions.
According to French daily Le Monde, there are at least 5 million illegal migrants in Libya alone and they number over 500,000 along the coast.
Thousands of Hungarians took to the streets to protest against the anti-migrant policy of the government of PM Viktor Orban.
The demonstration was organised by non-governmental organisations. It took place on the eve of the referendum in which citizens are to accept or reject the quotas introduced by the EC for the distribution of refugees who have reached the member-states of the EU.
The referendum is on Sunday. Hungarians have to answer the question: “Do you agree the EU to order the mandatory placement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the agreement of Parliament?”
The Hungarian PM Viktor Orban adamantly opposed the policy of the EU regarding the refugees and stated that his country will not accept migrants. According to him, this would mean an increase in terrorism on the Old Continent.
According to preliminary surveys, Hungarians will vote against the refugee quotas of the EC.
The profit of the banking system in Bulgaria exceeded BGN 1 B, showed BNB data for August, reported BNR.
August is the month when the results of the stress tests in the system came out.
The profit of the banking system for the first eight months of the year is BGN 300 M higher than for the same period of2015. The main reason is the decrease in expenditures on the devaluation of credits and payments.
Capital adequacy and liquidity remain at a very high level. BNB also reported a minimum growth of the credit portfolio.
Deposits also continue to grow in spite of decreasing interest rates.
As of October 1, Russia will take over the UN Security Council Presidency.
This is the month when the process of selection of a new Secretary General of the UN may end.
“The Council will continue but it may also finish the process of preparing a proposal for the General Assembly regarding the nomination of a new UN Secretary General,” announced the Permanent Representative of Russia.
The first meeting of the council will be on October 3. On October 5, there will be another round of voting for UN Secretary General.
The difference this time is that the ballots of the permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council will have different colours. This will show which candidate is supported by the countries that have the right to a veto: the UK, China, Russia, the USA and France.
Macedonian journalist Milenko Nedelkovski will be included in the list of foreigners whose presence in Bulgaria is not desired, announced on BNT Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov.
Nedelkovski destroyed a memorial plaque placed by a Bulgarian initiative group in memory of the Bulgarian soldiers who died at Kaimakchalan during World War I. Nedelkovski posted a video of himself destroying the plaque on Facebook.
The Foreign Minister described Nedelkovski’s actions as “total degradation of the human being”.
Mitov announced that the placing of the memorial plaque, which, according to the Macedonian Foreign Ministry, is illegal, has been done without the participation of the Bulgarian state. Now, however, Bulgaria will take formal action for the restoration of the memorial in order for everything to be formalised, specified Mitov.
About 30 scientific centres and museums in Bulgaria will participate in the initiative European Night of Scientists.
The initiative is organised by the European Commission in more than 300 cities in Europe every year.
The purpose is to increase public awareness of education, scientific research and innovations, as well as to help overcome negative attitudes towards scientists.
The European Night of Scientists is targeted at everyone, independent of their age and qualifications. Special attention will be paid to young people and children.
Pleven’s Medical University hosts the Night of Scientists for the 4th time. Professors, students, historians and theologians will partake in the topic Food – History, Symbol and Medicine.
The Night of Scientists will open at the Regional Historical Museum at 17:00 hrs with the exhibition Agricultural Crops in the Old World and Antiquity.
Unemployment in the 28 member-states of the EU stabilised for the fourth consecutive month at a 7-year low of 8.6%, while unemployment in Bulgaria hit its lowest level since October 2009, reaching 7.7%, showed Eurostat data.
Unemployment in the EU in August remained at 8.6%, same as in July and lower than the 9.3% registered in August 2015. At the same time, unemployment in the Euro Zone also stabilised for the fourth consecutive month at 10.1% (the lowest level since July 2011), compared to 10.7% a year ago.
According to Eurostat, unemployment in Bulgaria in August decreased to 7.7% from 7.9% in July and is much lower than the 8.8% in August 2015. Unemployment in the country hit its lowest level since October 2009 (7.6%)
A total of 255,000 Bulgarians were out of a job in August 2016, compared to 259,000 a month earlier, reported Eurostat. This is a permanent decrease in unemployment below the psychological level of 300,000 for the 12th consecutive month.
In August, youth unemployment rose to 14.8% from 14.7% but it is much lower than the 21.3% registered in August 2015. In August 2016, 24,000 youths under the age of 25 were out of a job, compared to 24,000 a month ago and 39,000 in August 2015.
Turkish authorities have laid off 1,500 prison employees and supervisors, reported Reuters, citing Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag.
According to him, the people laid off are under investigation for links to Fethullah Gulen. Ankara claims that the cleric living in the USA is behind the coup attempt on July 15.
Ankara also stopped 20 TV channels claiming that they spread “terrorist propaganda”. Most of the TV channels belong to the Kurdish community in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan criticised the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 which established the borders of the contemporary Turkish Republic.
Turkish media perceive the statement as a veiled criticism of the founder of the republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who saw the Lausanne Treaty as a victory after the damaging for Turkey Treaty of Sevres.
At a closed-door meeting, the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission (KEVR) took a final decision regarding the statement submitted by Bulgargaz for confirmation of the prices for the fourth quarter of 2016 at which the public supplier will sell natural gas to end customers and to clients included in the gas distribution network.
Since, at the moment, there are no preconditions for the existence of a competitive environment on the natural gas market, the Commission regulates the price of the blue fuel, reported the press centre of KEVR.
It was decided that the price of natural gas will go up by 1.97% as of October 1. The increase requested by Bulgarghaz was 3%. Thus, the price for the fourth quarter will be BGN 296.60/1,000 c m, or BGN 30.80/MWh, excise tax and VAT excluded.
According to Bulgargaz, there is need to raise prices due to the expected increase in the price for the delivery of gas, as well as to the exchange rate of the BGN to the USD.
Bulgargaz has not requested an increase in prices since the end of 2014.
As already announced by the regulator, the increase in the price of natural gas will not affect heating and hot water prices.
Russia and Ukraine are among a few of the countries that have raised questions regarding the Bulgarian nomination of European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva for UN Secretary General, announced Radio Free Europe.
Russia, Angola and Malaysia – all members of the Security Council asked Sofia for clarifications after it proposed Georgieva as “Bulgaria’s single candidate” for the position.
Bulgaria had earlier nominated the head of UNESCO Irina Bokova for the same position but rethought her nomination after she did not do well in the preliminary rounds of voting.
Bokova, who is considered a more pro-Russian candidate than Georgieva, stated that she will remain in the race even without the support of the Bulgarian government.
“Russia is not involved in this candidate exchange,” stated the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry Mariya Zaharova on September 29.
The Ambassador of Ukraine to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko opposed the late entry of Georgieva in the race, reported earlier AFP.
“I think she is late. The way this is being done is not entirely correct,” stated Yelchenko.
Over 100 movies and one documentary have been included in the programme of CineLibri 2016.
The second edition of the cinema-literary festival is organised by the Colibri Publishing House, and will show 10 national and one world premiere from October 5-10 in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Lovech, Vratsa, Vidin, Targovishte and Sliven.
The special guests are: Frédéric Beigbeder,Arnon Grunberg, Catherine Bernstein and Jiri Menzel. The events will take place in NDK, Lumier, Odeon, Dom na kinoto, Evro Cinema, Kulturen Centar G8, the French Cultural Institute, Festival and Congress Centre – Varna, Cinemagic – Targovishte, Kosmos cinema – Lovech, Cinelux – Vidin, Metropol cinema – Vratsa.
The opening is on October 5 in Hall 1 of NDK with the innovative multimedia performance Humming.
The first honorary award CineLibri will be presented to the eccentric writer and director Frédéric Beigbeder. After the ceremony, the audience will see his newest movie – The Ideal.
The Dutch writer Arnon Grunberg will present on October 12, 13 the movie Tirza, a screenplay of his own novel awarded with several prestigious literary awards.
Three of the Bulgarian participants in the paralympics – the gold medalist Ruzhdi Ruzhdi, Radoslav Zlatanov and Daniela Todorova, as well the coach Radostin Todorov will file a complaint with the Commission for Protection against Discrimination because of the remuneration which disabled athletes receive.
“We want the regulation on paralympics to be changed because it is discriminatory. No one from the Sports Ministry has met with us but these sportsmen have been bringing medals for the country for years now,” said Todorov on bTV.
Before the paralympics, the state announced remuneration for athletes with disabilities which was five times lower than the remuneration of their healthy colleagues. The Minister of Sports Krasen Kralev argued then that the ranking of the two forums is different and that is why it is justified for healthy sportsmen to receive higher remuneration.
“I do not believe that I raised the Bulgarian flag in Rio at 20% or that we heard the Bulgarian anthem at 20%. This is a mockery, I am insulted. And I do not think I train at 20%,” stated Ruzhdi who will receive BGN 50,000 for his gold medal and another BGN 25,000 for the world record with which he won it.
Until January 1, 2015, people at the age of over 80 in Bulgaria were over 331,000 or 4.6% of the entire population, reported Eurostat in an analysis on elderly people in the EU-28 in the period 2005-2015.
This means that almost every 20th person in Bulgaria is over the age of 80.
The European statistics show that, in a decade, people at the age of over 80 have increased by nearly 87,000. In 2005, they were 244,000.
The forecast of the National statistical Institute is that, after 50 years, the number of people at the age of 80-99 will increase by another 100,000.
The population of the EU is ageing as well. Last year, there were 27 million people at the age of 80+. 64.6% were women and 35.4% were men.
Employees of the Border Police Chief Directorate have arrested an organised criminal group for human trafficking, reported the directorate.
Fifty-year old V.M. and two women – R.P. and A.T. from Sofia have been detained.
Border policemen and investigators carried out searches and confiscations at three addresses in the capital. After the operation, it was revealed that, as of January 2015 until September 2016, an organised criminal group has been functioning on the territory of the country involved in illegal trafficking of people from the Bulgarian-Turkish to the Bulgarian-Serbian border.
The three detainees had connections with traffickers in neighbouring countries, and were involved in the accommodation and transport of illegal migrants. They used different drivers.
After detaining them for 72 hours, the Specialised Criminal Court ruled on the detainment without bail of V.M. and R.P. A.T. For A.T., a bail of BGN 3,000 has been set.
The Interior Ministry is currently carrying out an operation at the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint, reported BNR.
According to initial information, four border policemen have been arrested for corruption. the policemen were caught with marked money.
There are representatives of the Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor’s Office on the spot.
The operation was carried out after a signal about corruption was submitted by the owners of bus companies.
The border Police officials arrested work at the checkpoint itself and do not occupy high-ranking positions in the Interior Ministry, reported Nova TV.
On Thursday night, 56 illegal migrants were arrested at the checkpoint. They were en route to Turkey in a cargo train.
A new unit financed with a part of the EUR 160 M provided by the EU to Bulgaria will outline measures for increasing the security of the country, stated Vice Premier and Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova.
According to her, the unit will be created within the next 10 days. It will deal with the projects for increasing border security and the unit will include representatives of “internal security”.
Commenting on cases of policemen being involved in human trafficking, Bachvarova said that it is a fact that the Interior ministry is reacting adequately and quickly, and that single cases should not be regarded as typical of the institution as a whole.
“Bulgaria is doing everything possible to prevent the movement of people with a jihadist profile through the country,” added the Minister. In a comment on the arrest of a French citizen on suspicions of terrorism, she pointed out the security services have done their job and that international co-operation is a key factor.
“Bulgaria’s location is such that we must take into consideration the fact that people with such a profile pass through it,” added Bachvarova and gave as an example the agreement signed between Bulgaria and the USA on the exchange of DNA and fingerprints.
Bachvarova pointed out that, as soon as the agreement starts working, security services will know very quickly whether illegal migrants detained at the border are considered a threat by the US security services.
According to her, the agreement is in the interest not just of Bulgaria but of the EU as a whole.
The European Union must honour its promise to introduce a visa-free regime with Turkey by the end of the year, said a high-ranking Turkish official cited by Reuters.
The promise is a key element of the agreement to stop the flow of migrants from Turkey to Europe.
According to the same source, the Turkish army may remain on Syrian territory for years to come, if this proves necessary. The next target of the operation which began a month ago with the taking of Jarablus is the city of al-Bab in Northern Syria. It is still under the control of IS.
The Turkish official warned that the USA will provoke an ethnic conflict if they use their Kurdish allies for the liberation of the Syrian city of Raqqa. Raqqa is the center of jihadists in Syria.
The probability of GERB nominating for president the chairman of Parliament Tsetska Tsacheva, the mayors of Sofia and Burgas – Yordanka Fandakova and Dimitar Nikolov, and Vice Premier Tomislav Donchev is 99%, said on bTV the chairman of the pre-election headquarters of GERB Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
Tsvetanov refused to go into details but reminded that GERB will nominate its candidate on Sunday.
“The difference between GERB and the rest of the parties is that GERB can have discussions about between 10 and 15 candidates. While in the party, they choose a general out of the phone book and invite him to be nominated. We have many people who have the potential to occupy the post,” summarised Tsvetanov.
He said a few words about each of the candidates calling Tsacheva a very good speaker, Fandakova – the most respected politician. He pointed out Donchev’s contribution in dealing with European funds and described Nikolov as the man who transformed Burgas after a long term in office of BSP.
He commented on the nomination of former PM Plamen Oresharski for president: “Mr Oresharski has always been a dependent man. At the moment, I suppose that there is some sort of dependency which will be revealed in the pre-election campaign.”
According to him, it is DSP and BSP that have to do the explaining in this situation.
Bulgarian deputies passed the law on banning the wearing of garments that cover or hide the face, more popular as the law on banning burkas.
In the middle of June, the draft bill of the Patriotic Front was passed at first reading after heated debates in Parliament. The ban is expected to be in force at public institutions, places related to providing administrative, educational and public services, places for public recreation, sports and culture.
According to the initiators of the bill, the wearing of such garments may facilitate acts of terrorism with a potentially large number of victims. The ban will not be in force at people’s homes and official places of worship.
The bill passed through several commissions and was approved by all of them. In between, a local ban was introduced in several cities. One of the first was Pazardzhik. There, the municipality regularly fines people who have violated the ban.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary group of DPS left Parliament and refused to participate in the passing of the “Law on banning burkas”. DPS’leader Mustafa Karadayi called on his colleagues to do so in a negative vote after accepting the name “Law on banning burkas.”
According to the stipulations of the law, the fine for wearing garments that cover or hide the face in a public place will be BGN 200 for the first breach of law, BGN 1,500 for every subsequent one and, if the person is a public official, the fine will be BGN 2,000 for the first breach and BGN 2,000 for every subsequent one.
A group of 56 foreign citizens has been detained about 02:00 hrs on Friday at the Svilengrad station, reported the press centre of the Interior Ministry.
The persons arrested claim they are Syrian.
At present, police officers are working with them. Their registration and the issuing of documents are ongoing.
“If I was looking for comfort, I wouldn’t have occupied this seat. Over the last year, the situation was rather tense. Banking supervision is in much better shape now,” stated the head of BNB Dimitar Radev.
His statement was made over a month after stress tests of the banks in Bulgaria. “There was tension in the banking system after the KTB case,” admitted Radev. “The point of this check was to restore confidence in the banking sector.” He added that, after the reforms were carried out, confidence in the banking system has been restored.
“The results were determined and evaluated by independent auditors. The check showed that our banking system is stable. The results were evaluated by investors as well. The IMF gave a positive evaluation as well,” stated Radev.
“All banks are below the regulatory minimum where we have to intervene,” pointed out Radev.
“Consolidation is expected – a merger of the banks in Bulgaria, a process which is taking place all over Europe,” added Radev. There is investor interest from abroad. A year ago, there was zero interest
According to him, the introduction of negative interest rates, meaning that citizens would have to pay banks if they have deposits in them, is not on the agenda. But he does not expect low interest rates to increase any time soon.
In Radev’s opinion, it is too early for Bulgaria to join the Euro Zone since the currency board and the BGN are stable.
The decision of the Bulgarian government to change the nomination of the country for the post UN Secretary General had nothing to do with Russia, stated on Friday the spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Ministry Mariya Zaharova, cited by BNT.
“I would like to emphasise that this decision has nothing to do with us. This is the decision of the Bulgarian government. I would very much like to hope that this is a sovereign decision,” stated Zaharova.
“The minute there was speculation that Russia is involved in the change of Bulgaria’s candidate, we expressed our position clearly: we do not take part in such unofficial, behind-the-curtains games,” added Zaharova.
Zaharova expressed hope that Bulgarian citizens would also understand that “Russia has nothing to do with this. Besides the fact that the desire to involve us, to, at least information-wise, make us look radical was very strong.”
On Wednesday, the Bulgarian government shifted its support from the former nominee Irina Bokova to EC Vice President Kristalina Georgieva.
The new nominee of the Bulgarian government for UN Secretary General has been registered officially as the 13th candidate to succeed Ban Ki-moon in the international organisation.
Kristalina Georgieva’s name and her brief concept of how she imagines the tasks of the organisation have been published on the official webpage of the UN.
Out of the 12 initial candidates, 3 stepped down and, after registering the Vice President of the EC, there are now 10 remaining nominees. Irina Bokova, nominated by the Bulgarian government in February, is still among them. Six out of the ten candidates are from Eastern Europe.
In her vision, presented in 6 languages, Georgieva stated that it is “clear and simple – in a changing world, the global organisation has to keep up with the times, to become topical again and help the ones in need.”
This means working in three spheres – peace, security, prevention and settlement of conflicts, sustainable development, climate change and human rights, trust in the Secretary General by the member-states so that he/she can carry out reforms and apply the good management practices which the UN needs.
Azerbaijan with supply Bulgaria with gas that will be destined for the "Balkan Gas Hub", according to the Bulgarian Energy Ministry.
The decision was taken at the 4th intergovernmental committee in Baku, where 2020 was confirmed as a beginning.
A protocol that will pave the way for a study into gas deliveries options to third countries was also signed at the meeting.
Gas from Shah Deniz 2, a deposit in Azerbaijan, will flow via Bulgaria's interconnectors with Turkey and Greece starting from 2023, the statement also reads.
The Balkan Gas Hub, however, is a project with no clear timetable which the Bulgarian government has voiced intention to carry through, but which the EU Commission warns should not be executed before Bulgaria completes its gas links.
Deputy Energy Minister Zhecho Stankov, who participates in the delegation, has also said Azerbaijan has shown interest in Bulgaria's gas deposit of Chiren.
Two in every three Bulgarians die from cardiovascular diseases, national statistics show.
The data, published on the occasion of the World Heart Day, reveals that more than 70 000, out of 100 000 death cases on an annual basis, were caused by myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, brain stroke, or heart failure.
Between 13 and 15 000 cases of heart attack are registered every year, according to the figures of Bulgaria's Health Ministry and the National Statistical Institute.
Acute myocardial infarction claims nearly six thousand lives every day.
Men aged over 45 and women over 55 are the most vulnerable groups.
An infographic prepared by Medigo, a global network of medical experts, shows that coronary artery disease and stroke are expected to be the top two killing diseases in Europe in 2030, claiming 1.9 million and 1.2 million lives, respectively.
Medigo has added that "coronary artery disease and stroke will be the biggest killing diseases in almost every region in 2030," with the exception of Africa.
The infographic also shows that out of 50 million adult deaths globally, a total of 14 million were caused by either of the two diseases. A million were caused by heart failure.
Bulgaria is among the countries with the least efficient healthcare systems in the world, data published by Bloomberg shows.
Out of 55 countries studied by the Bloomberg index, Bulgaria has dropped by three spots compared to its results in 2009 (the index ranks countries as of 2014).
Two years ago it had the 46th most efficient healthcare system, while in 2009 it ranked 43rd.
This places it in a better position compared to Libya, Belarus, Serbia and the United States (47-50th), but in a worse one than Denmark, Venezuela, Ecuador and Kazakhstan (42-45).
The average life expectancy in 2014 was 75.41 years, which compares to Romania (75.60), Iran (75.39), Hungary (75.87), Serbia (75.53) or China (75.78).
Data for Bulgaria matches information obtained by international medial experts' network Medigo which suggests average life expectancy in Bulgaria was 75 years in 2015, up from 71 years in 2000 lower than the 2030 estimate, which is 2030.
"This puts Bulgaria slightly below the predicted European average for 2030, which will be 80. However, Bulgaria will still have a higher life expectancy than countries like Russia (71), Ukraine (73) and Turkey (77)," Medigo has told Novinite.
The index measures life expectancy, health-care spending per capita and relative spending as a share of gross domestic product.
Among Bulgaria's neighbours, Greece fared well by moving up nine spots compared to 2009 - from 22nd back then to 13th in 2014.
Since 2009, Hong Kong and Singapore have retained their places as the countries with the best and second-best healthcare system, respectively. Last come Colombia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, and Russia.
A 20-year-old French national was detained at the border between Bulgaria and Turkey over suspected terror links, Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova has said.
Her words have become the first official comment on French media reports about the detention.
Le Figaro, however, had earlier announced the detention had taken place on the Bulgaria-Serbia border.
According to Bachvarova, authorities arrested the French national at Kapitan Andreevo border crossing, as he was to enter Turkey.
The Interior Ministry has refused to name the site where the suspect is being held, citing "security grounds."
The National Security Council (MGK) of Turkey has recommended an extension of the state of emergency announced in the country in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in July, state-run Anadolu Agency says.
In a nearly six-hour meeting, the council has agreed the measures is needed "in order to ensure the continuity of the effective implementation of the measures aiming to protect our democracy, the rule of law and the rights and freedoms of our citizens," according to a statement.
The state of emergency was initially declared on July 20 for a three-month period to make sure a proper response is issued to the coup attempt. However, an extension was mentioned as early as then and is possible under the law.
Turkey's Constitution, however, does not allow for a state of emergency to be in force for more than six months.
One of the measures taken over the past months of emergency rule, along with the detentions and dismissals of thousands of people as part of a probe into the coup attempt, was the suspension of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Another recommendation has been made with regard to Ankara's long-standing demand that a "terror-free zone" and a "no-fly zone" should be set up in northern Syria, according to Hürriyet Daily News.
The MGK also believes "an international definition of terrorism must be made and the important of cooperation must be underlined" to prevent any contradictory interpretations, in the light of what it calls EU countries' "insensitive" attitude regarding meetings and exhibitions by Kurdish groups.
Ankara accuses the EU of siding with members of Kurdish groups in Syria and Turkey that it considers affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The latter is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU, and the US.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov changed his country's nomination for UN Secretary General in part "at the urging of Berlin, which favours Ms [Kristalina] Georgieva," the Financial Times has said.
One of the reasons is that Georgieva "hails from the same centre-right European political family as Chancellor Angela Merkel," FT notes following the replacement of UNESCO head Irina Bokova by Georgieva as Bulgaria's nominee to take over the United Nations.
Mention is made in the text of a reported German lobbying for Georgieva's candidacy in Russia - with Moscow having shown preference for Bokova previously - which sparked an exchange of rhetoric between the two countries. Berlin denied making effort to secure Russian support for Georgieva.
In a story titled "Nudged by Berlin, EU's Georgieva jumps into UN leadership race", FT notes that the change in nomination "was preceded by months of political manoeuvres from Berlin to Moscow, via Sofia".
"I have to do in a week what other candidates have done in a year," Georgieva has told FT and has admitted to facing a tough challenge.
She has said she admires Kofi Annan as a former UN Secretary General, recalling he was also a late entry into the race.
Georgieva has also stated she would never have accepted a nomination from a third country.
Her late appearance in the race, however, has upset "some within the UN", with a UN official being quoted as saying "non-permanent members feel it has undermined a push for transparency" and that "she has skipped the hard stages."
The latter phrase is a reference to informal hearings at the UN and an unprecedented debate at the UN General Assembly earlier this year.
Bulgarian and Azerbaijani officials are set to discuss the prospects for gas deliveries at an intergovernmental session on Thursday and Friday, Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova has said.
Petkova will not be attending the discussions, with Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski heading the delegation.
She has recalled that the Bulgarian National Radio that an agreement between the respective state-owned gas suppliers, Bulgargaz and SOCAR, for the delivery of 1 billion cubic meters a year via the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB).
Construction of IGB, however, is yet to begin.
Petkova has added a meeting of a workgroup between the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH), a parent company for all state-owned assets in energy, is to be called soon.
Earlier in September, a SOCAR official also said his company was exploring the options to set foot on Bulgaria's energy market.
Bulgaria compares to most other EU member states which have not accepted a big enough share of the 160 000 migrants from Italy and Greece, EU data released on Wednesday shows.
Bulgaria has so far taken in only six people, all from Greece, the same figure that was reported by the State Agency for Refugees early in August.
A majority of the relocations so far have been from Greece and not from Italy. France (1721 from Greece and 231 from Italy,), the Netherlands (548/178), Finland (430/260). Portugal (372/183) and Spain (313/50) are the EU countries that have accepted the biggest number of relocations.
EU member states including Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Slovakia haven't taken any refugees from Italy.
Countries like Belgium (29), Germany and Luxembourg (20 each) have taken in less than 30 migrants.
The deadline, September 2017, was agreed last autumn with regard to some 120 000 people, with Bulgaria committing itself to take 1600 people under the migrant relocation scheme.
Overall, only 5651 asylum seekers have been resettled since the agreement, 4455 of them from Greece and 1196 from Italy.
Some EU member states, especially the four members of so-called Visegrad Group (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic) have defied quotas. Hungary is even set to hold a referendum on the issue later this week.
An earlier system, the European Resettlement Scheme agreed in July 2015, has resulted in 10 695 people being rehomed.
Additionally, the EU announced it had resettled 1614 Syrian refugees from Turkey across the bloc, under a deal reached between Brussels and Ankara in the spring. As many as 578 migrants who had crossed into Europe were returned to Turkey within that period.
Countries to which Syrian refugees were resettled include Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov met with British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon who was on a visit to Sofia on Wednesday, the cabinet says.
Migration was the key issue in their coversation.
Borisov highlighted the need for EU countries to sign readmission agreements with countries of origin of migrants.
He stressed that the number of arrivals from Afghanistan had increased drastically over the past months, and an agreement was needed with such countries that would allow for migrants to be sent back.
Borisov also advocated the step in a meeting with several European leaders on Saturday.
Turkey has already built a 200-km-long wall by the border with Syria and will put up the rest within five months, a Turkish daily says.
Pro-government daily Star quotes a Turkish official familiar with the project as assuring construction will be completed by the end of February.
Expenses for the wall will be covered by Turkey alone.
The deadline, however, may vary depending on winter conditions. The presence of mined fields complicates the situation, according to Hürriyet Daily News.
The wall will be up to three meters tall and about two meters thick.
Construction began in light of the migratory pressure from Syria, smuggling, and possible entry of members of Islamic State (IS) or other groups.
The Bulgarian government announced it didn't appeal the arbitration ruling that obliged it to pay nearly EUR 630 M to Russian company Atomstroyexport for equipment made for an abandoned nuclear plant project.
Late on Wednesday, it sent a statement citing White and Case, an international law firm working with governments, companies and financial institutions.
Grounds to appeal the ruling were strictly limited, and Switzerland-based arbitration are not known for granting appeals, the cabinet says.
"Based on this opinion, the National Electricity Company decided not to appeal the ruling and the deadline for appeals expired," it added.
The state-owned electricity company was made familiar with the opinion and decided not to appeal.
Earlier, Energy Minister Temenuzhka Petkova had said the country would dispute the way interest on the principal had been calculated in the ruling.
Additionally, Atomstroyexport will accept a partly reduced amount to make up for the allegedly miscalculated interest as it accepted four of the seven mistakes pointed by the Bulgarian side.
A French national supposely linked to jihadist groups has been detained on the Bulgarian-Serbian border, media report.
The man was en route to Turkey and was on a recognizance order at a police in the French ity of Rouen, but raises suspicion from authorities after failing to arrive for his daily inspection at a police department. They then contacted Bulgarian authorities to ask for his arrest.
French daily Figaro was the first to report the story, but Bulgarian Interior Ministry sources unofficially confirmed for the public broadcaster BNT.
The foreign national is barred from leaving the country, and authorities demanded his arrest by Bulgarian police when they were made aware he had breached the restriction.
France is yet to issue a European Arrest Warrant for the 20-year-old-man that will allow his extradition from Bulgaria.
The suspect is a convert to Islam who started visiting jihadist websites, Figaro notes. He left France by his own car.