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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2014-10-30
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30 October 2014, Issue 4067
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9726 subscribers of Novinite.com
147099 articles
590 interviews
9558 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
Interim Parliamentary Budget Committee Votes To Save KTB


The interim parliamentary budget committee approved amendments to the Credit Institutions Act, obligating Bulgaria's Central bank (BNB) to save banks whose capital becomes a negative quantity, reports the bTV national channel. read
Share Of Shadow Economy In Bulgaria Decreases – Employers


The share of shadow economy in Bulgaria's GDP has dropped from 42.2% in 2010 to 32.3% in 2014, shows a survey of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA). read
Inspectors Identify Fuel Quality Irregularities at 43% of Filling Stations in Bulgaria


An inspection of Bulgaria’s State Agency for Metrology and Technical Supervision has revealed fuel quality irregularities at 43% of the filling stations. read
 
 
MORE TOP NEWS
Borisov 'Almost Ready' to Form Gov't Alone, Calls PF 'Unacceptable'

Austria's President Heinz Fischer To Visit Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s Position in Doing Business 2015 Deteriorates

Bulgaria Should Brace for ‘Not Quite Positive’ EC Progress Report – Caretaker Minister

Bulgaria Increasingly Likely to Lose EUR 1.6B in EU Agriculture Funding

Bulgaria's Deputy EconMin Proposes Separate Tourism Ministry

EPP Group Chairman Urges Formation of Center-Right Gov't

Hungary Rocked by Huge Protest over Controversial Internet Tax

Modern Retail In Bulgaria Continues To Rise

Deliveries Of Russian Gas To Bulgaria Decrease


UPS & DOWNS
Archaeologists Unearth Bronze Belt Of Bulgar Warrior

Drunk Snow Plough Driver Might Have Caused Crash of Total CEO's Plane
QUOTE OF THE DAY

"If the countries that joined the EU recently had remained outside the Union, Bulgaria and the Baltic states, for example, could have been in Ukraine's place now. The decision for EU enlargement was the right one, though not everything was perfect." 

Outgoing President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Durao Barroso in response to a question during his farewell press conference.

"Imagine a queue of children, six-year-old, on a Bulgarian language exam. Imagine how missile defense systems are deployed against Greece and Turkey. Pardon me, but one either bridles his tongue if he wants to be responsible or, having such a program, becomes unacceptable, at least to GERB, with regard to any agreement."

Conservative GERB leader Boyko Borisov explaining in Parliament why his party would reject the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF) as a partner in government, after having embraced the idea for a prospective alliance over the past two weeks.

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TOP NEWS
GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATIONS AGONY EXTENDS INTO NEXT WEEK

GERB sets a deadline till Monday for the Reformist Bloc (RB) to make up its mind on the political formula of the next Bulgarian government.

After a three-hour meeting with RB representatives, GERB MEP Tomislav Donchev told journalists there were three stages – finding of the right political formula, definition of decision-making mechanisms and the make-up of the government. read more


BUSINESS

BULGARIA’S POSITION IN DOING BUSINESS 2015 DETERIORATES

Bulgaria ranks 38th out of 189 economies in the Doing Business 2015 report of the World Bank.

On some of the 10 topics covered by the report, Bulgaria’s s score remains unchanged, while on others it deteriorates. read more


SHARE OF SHADOW ECONOMY IN BULGARIA DECREASES – EMPLOYERS

The share of shadow economy in Bulgaria's GDP has dropped from 42.2% in 2010 to 32.3% in 2014, shows a survey of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA).

The survey was part of BICA's Limiting and Prevention of Informal Economy project, published on its website. read more


MODERN RETAIL IN BULGARIA CONTINUES TO RISE

The modern retail outlets in Bulgaria continue to increase their market share, on the account of the small independent stores, shows a GfK survey, quoted by Dnevnik.bg.

In 2007 the modern retail outlets, such as super- and hypermarkets, held 42% of the FMCG sales, while in 2011 their share reached 55%. read more


FINANCE

INTERIM PARLIAMENTARY BUDGET COMMITTEE VOTES TO SAVE KTB

The interim parliamentary budget committee approved amendments to the Credit Institutions Act, obligating Bulgaria's Central bank (BNB) to save banks whose capital becomes a negative quantity, reports the bTV national channel.

After four hours of debating, the committee approved a draft project for saving the troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB). read more


ENERGY

INSPECTORS IDENTIFY FUEL QUALITY IRREGULARITIES AT 43% OF FILLING STATIONS IN BULGARIA

An inspection of Bulgaria’s State Agency for Metrology and Technical Supervision has revealed fuel quality irregularities at 43% of the filling stations.

The inspection also uncovered a large-scale corruption scheme under which over 500 filling station, or 20% of the total of sites registered at the National Revenue Agency (NRA), had been erased from their software and had not undergone checks for years, according to reports of private TV station Nova TV. read more


DELIVERIES OF RUSSIAN GAS TO BULGARIA DECREASE

The natural gas deliveries from Russia to Bulgaria have decreased, said caretaker Economy and Energy Minister Vasil Shtonov, quoted by the BNT public broadcaster.

According to him, the pressure of the incoming gas supplies is supposed to be above 38 bar, but in the past week it was varying between 30 and 35 bar. “This means we are getting less gas than agreed,” Shtonov said. “The unofficial information is that this was due to technical problems in Russia, but there is no way to tell because there are no gauges at the border between Russia and Ukraine. We are expecting the problems to be solved soon.” read more


BULGARIA’S ENERGY SYSTEM IS INSUFFICIENTLY PREPARED FOR ALTERNATIVE SUPPLY - EXPERT

Valentin Terziyski, Deputy Chair of the chamber of energy workers at the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), has drawn attention to the fact that the energy system is not fully prepared for alternative supply.

Terziyski commented on the likelihood of a gas crisis in a Wednesday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio. read more


TOURISM

BULGARIA'S DEPUTY ECONMIN PROPOSES SEPARATE TOURISM MINISTRY

A single Ministry of Tourism is necessary to secure the budget framework which the sector precisely needs, caretaker Deputy Economy and Energy Minister Branimir Botev believes.

Botev, who took up office during the tenure of former Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, added on Tuesday that the sector has to be directly represented in the executive as it forms about 14 percent of the country's gross output, adding some EUR 5.5 M to the economy last year according to estimates of the International Tourism Organization.

Its budget should be about BGN 17.5 M if Sofia wishes to promote Bulgaria as a tourist destination, public broadcaster BNR quoted him as saying.

Botev has blamed insufficient budgetary funding for failure to tap on the potential of tourism in Bulgaria to attract more revenues and boost the economy.

Earlier on Tuesday it was announced that a BGN 7 M advertising campaign aimed at attracting visitors from abroad would be conducted with money secured under the EU Regional Development Program using funds from the 2007-2023 period.

At the same tourism industry representatives also support Botev's idea that the sector should be separately managed.

Last week the National Tourism Council sent a letter to GERB's leader, and also potential Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, demanding the move from the next government.  

The council also insists that the ministry be in the quota of the largest political force.

Previous meetings of industry representatives and tourism businesses have also raised the proposal.

Tourism has for a long time been managed by the Ministry of Economy and Energy, which under previous governments has also been named "Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism."

In Botev's words, potential to develop Bulgaria's seaside is not "enormous anymore" and the country should focus on SPA, cultural and ecotourism.

read more


DIPLOMACY

AUSTRIA'S PRESIDENT HEINZ FISCHER TO VISIT BULGARIA

Austira's President Heinz Fischer will visit Bulgaria on October 30 and 31, upon the invitation of his Bulgarian counterpart Rosen Plevneliev, said Plevneliev's press office.

Plevneliev and Fischer will have a private meeting, followed by a plenary meeting of the two countries' official delegations. Fischer will also have meetings with caretaker Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki, Speaker of Parliament Tsetska Tsacheva and will visit a concert and several museums. read more


BULGARIA IN EU

BULGARIA INCREASINGLY LIKELY TO LOSE EUR 1.6B IN EU AGRICULTURE FUNDING

The risk of Bulgaria losing EUR 1.6 B in EU funding for agriculture has increased substantially due to the failure of the Agriculture Ministry to select an auditing authority for the payments made in the period October 16, 2013 – October 15, 2014.

The procedure for signing a direct contract with an auditor was stopped due to a complaint to the Commission for Protection of Competition, according to reports of Trud daily. read more


BULGARIA SHOULD BRACE FOR ‘NOT QUITE POSITIVE’ EC PROGRESS REPORT – CARETAKER MINISTER

Caretaker Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov has cautioned that Bulgaria needs to prepare for a “not quite positive” progress report of the European Commission under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism.

Speaking Tuesday after meetings in Brussels, he announced that the new EC panel planned to publish the upcoming CVM reports on Bulgaria and Romania on time, i.e. in the second half of January. read more


NEW EU FOOD LABEL REQUIREMENTS COME INTO EFFECT IN DECEMBER

As of December 13 the new EU Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers comes into effect, reports the BGNES wire service.

All essential information on contents of processed foods and drinks and best before date must be in one area of the label, in large legible print. read more


DOMESTIC

BORISOV 'ALMOST READY' TO FORM GOV'T ALONE, CALLS PF 'UNACCEPTABLE'

Center-right GERB is "nearly ready" to have a minority government on its own, leader Boyko Borisov declared after meeting European People's Party (EPP) Group head Joseph Daul.

Speaking on the sidelines in Parliament Borisov added some of the ideas the nationalist Patriotic Front (PF) is currently setting out are putting a wheel on any cooperation with the alliance.

Borisov at the same time admitted to having received calls of indignation from Bulgaria's "Euro-Atlantic partners", asking, "Are these your new partners?" Novinite's Bulgarian-language website quotes him as saying.

In the words of GERB's leader, the "partners" were disgruntled with the PF's idea to deploy missiles along the border with Turkey and the introduction of an exam in Bulgarian language for first-graders.

Right-wing Reformist Bloc (RB), to which GERB earlier offered to take part in a minority coalition formed only by the two entities, insists it has to refuse Borisov's offer unless the PF is included in the next cabinet.

Patriots for their part have also shown reluctance to join, since they categorically refuse to send politicians to the cabinet, maintaining it should be composed by experts.

"[I have] nothing personal against [PF leader] Valeri Simeonov, he is a dignified man and has unveiled the points of his program," Borisov added Wednesday, but warned many of Simeonov's proposals are not in line with GERB's "Euro-Atlantic" posture.

"Imagine a queue of children, six-year-old, on a Bulgarian language exam. Imagine how missile defense systems are deployed against Greece and Turkey. Pardon me, but one either bridles his tongue if he wants to be responsible or, having such a program, becomes unacceptable, at least to GERB, with regard to any agreement," Borisov noted. read more


BULGARIA’S PARLIAMENT HOLDS 1ST REGULAR SITTING

Bulgaria’s new Parliament is to hold its first regular sitting on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s agenda of the newly sworn-in MPs envisages the creation of two interim committees, including one on legal affairs and one on budget and finance, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio. read more


BULGARIA’S CARETAKER PM BOASTS ABOUT SUCCESSFUL TERM IN OFFICE OF GOVT

Caretaker Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki has insisted that Bulgaria’s caretaker government is about to complete a successful term in office.

 “We achieved our main goal of bringing calm and stabilizing the country. We also managed to organize elections which yielded a legitimate result and were not challenged by the political parties,” said Bliznashki, who was appointed caretaker Prime Minster on August 6, in an interview for BGNES. read more


RB'S RADAN KANEV, GERB NEGOTIATORS HOLD UNEXPECTED MEETING

A surprising meeting was held Tuesday evening between Radan Kanev, co-Chairman of the Reformist Bloc, and members of GERB party's team tasked to carry out government consultations, sources say.

Kanev met Rumyana Bachvarova and Tomislav Donchev, both being key officials of Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) in the room which GERB, Bulgaria's largest party, currently has at disposal in the National Assembly, private national channel bTV reports.

The meeting comes amid tensions between GERB and the RB following the latter's declaration they could not accept the offer of GERB leader Boyko Borisov to join a minority coalition and would prefer a stable majority with the participation of the nationalist alliance called Patriotic Front instead.

Tuesday's meeting of all parties in Parliament (except for ultra-nationalist Ataka, which did not attend) resulted in what many of the leaders described as an agreement to back any GERB-led government, including one with the right-wing RB.

However, Radan Kanev and Meglena Kuneva, who head the two biggest parties within the alliance, insist the PF should enter the coalition as agreed under previous, albeit informal, arrangements.

PF co-Chair Valeri Simeonov for his part maintains nationalists cannot send politicians to the next cabinet, but would propose names of experts if GERB approves the idea.

The PF believes the new Bulgarian government should be composed of experts and not political figures, but other parties generally disagree.

Borisov on the other hand now describes a minority coalition with the RB as the only option to form a stable cabinet. read more


PRESIDENT PLEVNELIEV TO HOLD CONSULTATIONS WITH PARLIAMENT PARTIES

Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev is to hold meetings with all parties in Parliament, but will receive them in reverse order starting from the smallest one, his press office has said.

Under Bulgaria's Constitution, presidential consultations with all parliamentary parties are a prerequisite for handing to a Prime Minister candidate from the biggest party the mandate to form a government.

In this particular case talks have been extended since Plevneliev has taken into consideration the demand of all political parties, which he met at the Presidency on October 15, to have separate talks with each of them.

Consultations begin October 31, Friday, with left-wing Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV), which obtained the smallest number of MP seats at the October 5 early elections.

Plevneliev will discuss the present political situation in Bulgaria with two parties every day.

read more


INTERIM PM POINTS BUDGET OVERHAUL AS ONLY WAY TO PAY BACK KTB DEPOSITS

Caretaker Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki said Wednesday the update of 2014's budget would secure funding to allow depositors access to their savings at Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB).

After what might have been one of the interim cabinet's last ministerial meetings, Bliznashki added amending the budget was the only available solution to comply with EU calls on Sofia to provide access to KTB customers' savings.

On Tuesday Bliznashki introduced the draft to Parliament in person, just a day after the 43rd National Assembly held its inaugural session.

KTB is still under the special supervision of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) which began after a bank run in mid-June.

On Monday the BNB submitted to the newly-convened Parliament a document containing an account of events at KTB, insisting lawmakers should be involved in decision-making.

In September the EU Commission said it was launching infringement proceedings against Bulgaria over authorities' failure to unblock deposits up to EUR 100 000. read more


BULGARIA’S SECURITY AGENCY AWARDED EXTRA BGN 250 000 TO HANDLE MIGRATION FLOWS

Bulgaria’s government has earmarked an additional sum of BGN 250 000 for activities of the State Agency for National Security (DANS).

The funding is to go to activities related to handling the crisis caused by the increase in migration flows to Bulgaria, according to the press office of the caretaker government. read more


EPP GROUP CHAIRMAN URGES FORMATION OF CENTER-RIGHT GOV'T

European People's Party Group Chair Joseph Daul met leaders of conservative GERB party and right-wing Reformist Bloc, but also two parties to the left of the political spectrum.

During his visit to the Bulgarian capital on Tuesday Sofia Daul called on political parties to forge a center-right government.

While in Parliament the special guest also held a brief meeting with Parliament Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva.

"I am in Bulgaria to convey the message that the country should have a stable government serving citizens and bringing calm as soon as possible," the Bulgarian National Radio quoted Daul as saying.

Daul stopped short of naming the parties that should enter it, but was explicit nationalist, anti-European formations should not be part.

Leaders of GERB and the RB (the latter represented by the chairs of its three biggest parties) held a closed-door meeting with Daul, refusing to comment afterwards.

Reports suggest Borisov was apparently furious after the consultations.

Both GERB and the RB belong in the EPP Group.

Daul however also met the leaders of Bulgaria's second-largest party BSP (Bulgarian Socialist Party), which earlier vowed to remain in opposition, its newly-emerged rival left-wing Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV), which splintered off the BSP to independently run in elections earlier this year, and the liberal Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS). read more


GERB HEADS BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT'S BUDGET, LEGAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEES

Center-right GERB party, the biggest in Parliament, is to preside over the two temporary committees with the National Assembly formed Wednesday.

The decision was announced a few hours ahead of MPs' first regular plenary session after the legislature was convened on Monday.

GERB's Danail Kirilov will head the Legal Affairs Committee, which will hold sittings until a permanent lawmaker body is formed. It will be mainly in charge of preparing a new statute book for the National Assembly.

Menda Stoyanova, a key member of the conservatives, will head the Budget and Finance Committee that will have to prepare a report based on documents from the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) submitted Monday about the events and situation at troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB). Earlier the BNB demanded that the affair be discussed by a separate committee that should be set up for that single purpose.

Another task of this temporary committee will be to review the interim government's proposal for a budget overhaul of the 2014 budget. Caretaker Prime Minister introduced on Tuesday the draft bill envisaging a 4-percent deficit to make up for gaps within the current State Budget of the Republic of Bulgaria Act.

Stoyanova also presided over the permanent budget committee between 2009 and 2013, during GERB's tenure. read more


THREE-WAY COALITION TALKS 'IN PREPARATION' - REFORMISTS' CO-CHAIR

A meeting between conservative GERB party, right-wing Reformist Bloc and nationalist Patriotic Front is currently being prepared, Radan Kanev from the RB has claimed.

"Brief talks" have been held about the prospects of a three-way meeting at which potential joint participation in government has to be discussed, Kanev told the Bulgarian National Radio on the sidelines of Parliament as the legislature is set to hot its first regular session after being convened on Monday.

Patriotic Front co-head Valeri Simeonov, on the other hand, denies such meeting has been scheduled.

Center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) announced after talks with all parties Tuesday that a "minority coalition" including the right-wingers was the only solution to a prospective political deadlock.

Reformists are however adamant the alliance to form Bulgaria's next cabinet should also include the Patriotic Front and thus represent a majority in Parliament.

The bloc has therefore refused GERB's proposal that the two parties form their own government and has called for a "three-way" meeting to smooth out differences.

PF insists no politicians, but only experts, should take part in the next government, and refuse to propose their own cadres for ministers.

GERB for its part said Wednesday it does not perceive the RB's statement as a "condition", but rather as "one of the options" to be discussed.

Most experts have so far suggested the next government will most likely be composed from the three abovementioned parties, with the RB and PF reaching an agreement about most priorities at their consultations with GERB in the past two weeks. read more


SPORTS

GRIGOR DIMITROV BEATS PABLO CUEVAS, FACES ANDY MURRAY

Bulgaria's most successful tennis player Grigor Dimitrov started with victory his participation in the BNP Paribas Masters tournament in Paris.

In 64 minutes he won against Pablo Cuevas (6:0, 6:3) and qualified for the nex round where he will face Andy Murray. read more


EU

HUNGARY ROCKED BY HUGE PROTEST OVER CONTROVERSIAL INTERNET TAX

Tens of thousands of Hungarians flocked to the streets of the capital Budapest to protest plans of the government to levy the Internet.

Demonstrations were held on Tuesday evening despite the cabinet's assurances only Internet providers will be charged, since critics, and the opposition as well, argue the move would hurt Hungary's digital economy and also affect household consumers by raising Internet bills.

About 35 000 to 40 000 people gathered in downtown Budapest according to Hungarian media outlets cited by Germany's Zeit, just two days after a smaller demo was held Sunday.

Thinner crows gathered in six other cities.



Participants in the rally describe the proposed measure as an infringement on freedom on speech and on one's right to be informed.

Some critics have suggested the tax could send Hungary back to the 1990s in terms of access to Internet.

The multitude demanded Tuesday that the government should scrap its latest bill, with others also calling for Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's resignation.  read more


POLAND DENIES DEPLOYING TROOPS NEAR UKRAINE

Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak has dismissed Tuesday's media reports suggesting Warsaw was sending troops to the east of the country, close to its border with Ukraine.

Siemoniak said on Wednesday his institution was merely working on a plan to restructure Poland' armed forces.

"I have said nothing of either thousands or hundreds of soldiers. We are working on the details of this plan and do not want do speak of any numbers whatsoever," Russian news agency RIA quoted him as saying.

The minister had earlier explained the military presence at Poland's eastern bases would have to be boosted to 90 percent (up from the present 30 percent) of their capacity by 2017, but did not elaborate on the timetable. read more



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