BULGARIA'S PRESIDENT-ELECT RUMEN RADEV SWORN IN
The swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Rumen Radev is taking place on Thursday morning.
At the Parliament headquarters, Radev has taken his oath of office several days before moving into the Presidency.
Vice President Iliana Iotova has followed suit.
Minutes before the event, outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has arrived at the National Assembly, telling reporters he wishes to see Radev being sent away with applause one day, getting the international acclaim of incumbent Rosen Plevneliev.
BULGARIA POSTS 46.4% DROP IN FDI IN JAN-NOV 2016
More to follow. read more
Foreign direct investment into Bulgaria from January to November 2016 was nearly half the value of the first 11 months of 2015, the Bulgarian National Bank has said.
BULGARIA, SERBIA TO INK GAS INTERCONNECTOR MOU
Central bank data released Thursday suggests that FDI according to the directional principle amounted to EUR 953.7 M or 2% of GDP in the eleven months of last year.
To compare, the value was EUR 1.78 B (3.9% of GDP) for the same period of 2015.
In November 2016 foreign direct investment in Bulgaria grew by EUR 12.4 M, compared with an increase of EUR 32.2 M in November 2015.
The largest net direct investment inflow in Bulgaria for January – November 2016 was from the Netherlands (EUR 202.1 M, 21.2% of the total amount for the period), Germany (EUR 155.1 M, 16.3%), and Luxembourg (EUR 128.4 M, 13.5%).
BNB's previous figures, which suggested the same trend, have been disputed by Bulgaria's investment promotion agency, InvestBulgaria, which says the financial institution bases its estimates on money flows, while 2016 was a success in terms of the number of certified projects.
Equity (acquisition/disposal of shares and equities in cash and contributions in kind by non-residents in/from the capital and reserves of Bulgarian enterprises, and receipts/payments from/for real estate deals in the country) amounted to EUR 297.8 M in January – November 2016. It fell by EUR 686.1 M in comparison with that attracted in January – November 2015 (EUR 983.8 M).
Real estate investments of non-residents totaled EUR 53.7 M, compared with EUR 50.9 M attracted in January – November 2015.
The largest inflow of real estate investment was from Switzerland – EUR 22.7 M (42.3% of the total amount for January – November 2016), Russia (EUR 6.7 M, 12.5% of the total amount for the period), and Norway (EUR 6.1 M, 11.4% of the total amount for the period).
Reinvestment of earnings (the share of non-residents in the undistributed earnings/ loss of the enterprise based on preliminary profit and loss data) was estimated at EUR 594.2 M for January – November 2016, compared with EUR 660.5 M in the same period of 2015, the BNB says.
The net debt instruments (the change in the net liabilities between affiliated enterprises on financial loans, suppliers’ credits and debt securities) were positive amounting EUR 61.8 M in January – November 2016, compared with a positive balance of EUR 136.1 M in January – November 2015. read more
Bulgaria and Serbia's Energy Ministers are to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of a gas link between the two countries, Bulgarian officials say.
BULGARIA'S EU, NATO CHOICE SHOULD NOT BE QUESTIONED - PRESIDENT-ELECT
Temenuzhka Petkova and Aleksandar Antic, who will ink the MoU representing the two countries, will work to begin construction by May 2019 at the latest and have it operational by the end of 2020, according to Bulgaria's Energy Ministry.
Bulgaria began working to build gas links with its neighbors after a heating crisis in the cold winter of 2009, but so far only the one with Romania has been completed.
The first phase of the interconnector with Serbia was finished on December 31, 2015 using EU funding from the last program period (2007-2013). More EU money is to be sought for the second phase through Operational Program Innovations and Competitiveness under the current period (2014-2020).
Bulgaria has the potential for a more enhanced political presence in Southeast Europe, Bulgaria's President-elect Rumen Radev has said.
In a highly critical speech after his swearing-in ceremony in the Parliament, Radev has vowed to be “the President of all Bulgarians, regardless of their party affiliation, religion and ethnicity” and to oppose “attempts at polarizing our society.” read more
BULGARIA'S PRESIDENT-ELECT EXTENDS PARLIAMENT'S LIFE BY WEEK
Bulgarian President-elect Rumen Radev has confirmed he will not dissolve the current Parliament before a week has passed.
"My creed is: Few words, but efficient action. You have one more week," he has told lawmakers at his speech after the swearing-in ceremony.
Earlier, Radev had said he stood ready to dissolve the legislature within the shortest timeframe possible.
Parliament has to be dissolved by the President after his assumes office (his predecessor Rosen Plevneliev being barred from doing so) to pave the way for an interim government and a date for early elections. read more
GREECE HALTS TRUCKS FROM BULGARIA OVER BAD WEATHER
Greece has halted trucks entering via two border crossings from going on in direction to several key cities over severe weather conditions.
FRESH SNOW CATCHES BULGARIA OFF-GUARD
The restriction is in force as of 10:00 local time (EET) on Thursday for Ilinden-Exochi and Kulata-Promachonas border crossing points, the Bulgarian Interior Ministry says.
Roads into Serres, Kilkis, Drama and Thessaloniki are open to all other traffic.
Trucks will be granted passage after roads are cleaned well enough.
A cold snap and heavy snow surprised Southeast Europe, including Bulgaria and parts of Northern Greece.
New heavy snowfall has disrupted traffic across Bulgaria, with the country's north-west and south most severely affected.
GRIGOR DIMITROV QUALIFIES FOR AUSTRALIAN OPEN'S 3RD ROUND
In Varna region, third- and fourth-class roads remain closed for a second day.
As many as 142 snow plows are operating in Sofia on Thursday morning, but their work is hampered by the constant snowfall, according to news website Dnevnik.bg.
In two municipalities, one in Silistra in the north-east and another in Haskovo in the south, children will not go to school on Thursday.
Movement of trucks along International Road E-79 is restricted in Montana region in the north.
Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria achieved on Thursday a surprisingly difficult victory against South Korea's Hyeong Chung in the second round of Australian Open.
Dimitrov will face Richard Gasquet in the next round.
Hyeong is the world's No 105 according to the ATP ranking, while Dimitrov is now the 15th best tennis player. However, it took the latter 2 h 38 min to secure the victory.
Gasquet is considered a tough opponent for the Bulgarian, who has defeated him in only one out of six games so far.
A tourist stops by in a very small town in the middle of nowhere.
REINA ATTACKER 'TARGETED TAKSIM SQUARE' ON NEW YEAR
"Do you have an attraction here that I could visit?" he asks a local, who sighs.
"We did, but she got married." read more
Turkish authorities say the gunman who opened fire on New Year revelers in Istanbul, killing 39 people and wounding 65, was initially targeting the landmark Taksim Square, according to Hürriyet Daily News.
Abdulkadir Masharipov, detained earlier this week as the suspected perpetator, is quoted as saying he acted on the orders of an Islamic State (IS) group emir in Raqqa, the defecto capital of IS in Syria. read more
RUSSIA WARNS OF 'MAIDAN' OVER BULGARIAN PRESIDENT'S INAUGURATION, MPS PICK UP
A state-funded think tank in Russia has alleged that Maidan-style protests will be staged "in the center of Sofia" before Bulgarian President-elect Rumen Radev takes up the office on Sunday.
In a piece published by RIA Novosti agency on the day Radev was sworn in, Igor Pshenichnikov, the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies' advisor to the director, warns "mass demonstrations" will be held on Saturday, January 21, that will aim at destabilizing Bulgaria to the benefit of certain parties.
The goal will be to shift the balance against Radev and Russia, according to the advisor at the RISS, an institute founded by the country's President.
The article's title is "Who Is Preparing a Maidan in Bulgaria [RU]", in an apparent reference to the revolution in Ukraine which Russia sees as a coup backed by the United States.
Cited sources include "information on the Bulgarian Internet". The author suggests NGOs funded by the United States are behind the planned demonstrations. Which the "non-governmental organizations" are is "unknown," but "instructions" were supposedly submitted to them, with participants told to chant against President Radev and Russia, according to the text.
Nancy Schiller, America for Bulgaria's Interim Director, is mentioned and is quoted as saying: "we we will not be silent anymore". (Schiller's statement, on Tuesday, was made in a reference to a new policy of the foundation giving more publicity to its success).
Pshenichnikov cites a publication in several Bulgarian media outlets that alleges America for Bulgaria paid Bulgaria's public TV broadcaster BNT and one of the biggest private ones, bTV, tens of thousands of USD to cover the US presidential election "in the right way, i.e. in favour of Clinton" (The original texts, however, only contain the journalists' conclusion that coverage was biased).
A link is provided to a website called "Bgpravda" using the Blogspot platform, which cites its own sources who say "mass protests" are in preparation. Comments below the news report are dominated by users who lash out at the US, America for Bulgaria, and the center-right GERB party out outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
Allegedly, participants in the rally will have to be aged under 40 and will get EUR 30 per day.
Outgoing President Rosen Plevneliev, who speaks critically of the Russian leadership, is mentioned in opposition to Radev, whose calls for sanctions on Russia to be lifted and whose comment that Crimea is "de facto Russian" are also cited.
Pshenichnikov argues Radev's victory signals "Bulgarians back rapprochement with Russia" and their attitudes do not match "the Russophobic course of the outgoing authorities."
The name of George Soros is also involved in the article (the respective section is called "Soros again"), with the billionaire allegedly investing money into Balkan-based NGOs, according to another Bulgarian news website (Blic) that has often been used in propaganda warfare between different political and economic groups in Bulgaria.
The RISS, whose former leader (a former Russian intelligence officer stationed in Bulgaria) was recently involved in a scandal with the Bulgarian Socialist Party, has a new director as of January 04, namely former Prime Minister and intelligence head Mikhail Fradkov.
The change followed a decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to appoint former lower house of Parliament's speaker Sergey Naryshkin as head of the foreign intelligence service (SVR), effectively prompting the need to find a new post for Fradkov (the initial idea was to make him head of the state railway company)
Fradkov's predecessor at the RISS, Reshetnikov, had maintained Radev's nomination by the socialists in Bulgaria - known for their ties to Russian officials - had been coordinated with him. (Subsequently, the BSP decided not to nominate Radev, but simply to endorse him.)
After Radev's speech, BSP lawmaker Zhelyo Boychev told the Bulgarian National Television there would certainly be attempts at staging a "Maidan in Bulgaria". read more