Bulgaria’s GERB Party Proposes to Scrap Total Ban on Beach Camping
Centre-right GERB party, the dominant partner in Bulgaria’s minority coalition government, proposed on Wednesday to drop a planned total ban on beach camping until changes to the Tourism Act were approved to explicitly regulate camping outside of designated areas.
The ban was proposed as an amendment to the Black Sea Coast Act by junior coalition partner the Reformist Bloc earlier this month. The change, approved on first reading in Parliament, would have made it illegal to put tents and park cars and camper vans at a distance of less than hundred metres from the beach line.
The proposed ban has sparked street protests. Bulgarian President Rosen Pleveneliev has said that he will refer to the Constitutional Court the proposed fines of between BGN 1000 and BGN 10,000 for camping and parking in the 100-metre strip behind pristine beaches as he believed those fines were unconstitutional.
On Wednesday, GERB submitted to Parliament a proposal to add a new article to the Black Sea Coast Act, which says that camping outside of the designated areas will be only possible under terms and conditions to be specified in the Tourism Act and the respective regulations related to other laws.
Possible changes to the Tourism Act that will regulate beach camping have been put to public discussion. Tourism Ministry officials and eco activists are expected to jointly decide what these changes should be in order to safeguard public interest and preserve the natural beauty of the few remaining pristine beaches on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
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