KEYWORDS TODAY:   UkraineDonetskSouth Stream Selection of Events in Bulgaria 2014

Society | December 25, 2013, Wednesday // 16:17| Views: 2369 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Selection of Events in Bulgaria 2014 On January 1 2014, Bulgarians and Romanians will be able to work anywhere in the European Union as the last of their membership restrictions are lifted. Photo by Getty Images

We present our picks for the events that will definitely be among the key moments for Bulgaria in 2014

1. On January 1 2014, Bulgarians and Romanians will be able to work anywhere in the European Union as the last of their membership restrictions are lifted.  Last month UK PM David Cameron's cabinet announced a crackdown on so-called "benefit tourism", citing fears over mass immigration from Bulgaria and Romania. The series of measures proposed by David Cameron's cabinet include the restriction on new immigrants who will not get out-of-work benefits for the first three months and payments will be stopped after six months unless they have a "genuine" chance of a job.

2. Elections to the European Parliament will be held in all member states of the European Union between 22 and 25 May 2014, as decided unanimously by the Council. Given that Bulgaria customarily holds its elections – parliamentary, presidential– on a Sunday, this would imply an election date of May 25 2014. The number of Bulgarian delegates in the European Parliament is 18 out of 754. The latest EU Parliament elections in Bulgaria were in 2009.

3. The European Union will grant to Bulgaria close to EUR 2 B for social activities in the next program period - 2014-2020. The funds are to be used mostly to tackle youth unemployment, according to Bulgarian Socialist MEP, Ivaylo Kalfin.  According to official data, the share of young Bulgarian people out of work is around 25%, but in reality it was probably slightly higher - about 30%.

4. Private universities in Bulgaria will receive state subsidies as of 2014. The draft higher education strategy 2014-2020 of Bulgaria's Ministry of Education and Science envisages state budget subsidies for private universities which will be launched in the academic year 2014/2015. Among the goals stipulated in the strategy is encouraging a practical orientation of education and research at private universities, as well as their integration with foreign organizations (from EU member states and third countries).

5. Bulgaria will preside the Parliamentary Assembly of Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in the period January 1 -June 30, 2014. The BSEC was launched on 25 June 1992, with a meeting of the heads of state and government of eleven countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey  and Ukraine.  BSEC covers the territories of the Black Sea littoral States, the Balkans and the Caucasus with an area of nearly 20 M sq km, a population of 350 M with a foreign trade capacity of over USD 300 B annually. After the Persian Gulf region, it is the second-largest source of oil and natural gas along with its rich proven reserves of minerals and metals, and is becoming Europe's major transport and energy transfer corridor.

6. Bulgaria-Turkey border fence will be ready by Feb 2014. The fence that Bulgarian authorities are building over a section of the Bulgarian-Turkish border will be ready by February next year. The facility is a 30 km wire fence between the towns of Lesovo and Kraynovo, and is intended to thwart the entry of illegal migrants into Bulgaria via that section. At present the section of the border is guarded using thermo monitoring and border police patrols, as well as army units. Currently, Bulgarian-Turkish border is crossed by thousands of asylum seekers, most of them coming from Syria.

7. Bulgaria's new Election Law will be ready in March 2014. The deadline set by the Bulgarian Parliament to adopt the Election Code is the end of March, stated Parliament Speaker Mihail Mikov.

8. Passenger and freight trains will start running on Danube Bridge 2 between Bulgaria and Romania as early as February or March 2014. Danube Bridge 2, linking Vidin in Bulgaria and Calafat in Romania, is part of the Pan-European transport corridor IV. Over 415 000 vehicles are expected to pass through the bridge in its first year of operation – 186 000 cars, 20 000 buses, 209 000 trucks as well as 4 745 trains – 730 passenger and 4 015 freight ones. Their number is expected to reach 8 504 by 2030.

9. 12 emergency care units will be opened in 10 Bulgarian cities in 2014. A total of BGN 47 M had been earmarked for urgent care centers. The number of call centers of Bulgaria's National Emergency System 112 would increase because the existing six facilities were insufficient, and at least 30% of the ambulances would be upgraded, including their equipment.

10. Brand new tram cars will be used by public transportation in the Bulgarian capital Sofia in January 2014. The tramcars meet all modern European standards and are energy efficient. They also have low-floors and platforms, which will facilitate mothers with strollers and people in wheelchairs. Their purchase was financed by the Operational Program "Environment." The deadline for the delivery of all twenty railcars is the end of May 2014.

11. A total of 18 athletes will compete for Bulgaria in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. For the first time, Bulgaria will have a participant in the luge competition, however there will be no Bulgarians in the figure skating and short track speed skating, two of the country’s traditionally strong disciplines. The Sochi Olympics start on February 7th and end on the 23rd.

12. The management team of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange will be changed in January 2014, according to the agenda of the general shareholders' meeting scheduled for January 14, 2014. The Board of Directors is currently headed by Asen Yagodin, who also headed the Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) until recently. The Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors is Vasil Golemanski, Ivan Takev is Chief Executive Officer, and Lyubomir Boyadzhiev and Georgi Balgarski are members of the Board of Directors.

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