Bulgarian Parliament Votes to Allow Foreign Companies in Railway Operation

Politics | Author: Diana Kavardzhikova |April 10, 2024, Wednesday // 16:07
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Parliament Votes to Allow Foreign Companies in Railway Operation Wikimedia Commons

National Assembly adopted at first reading two bills for amendments to the Railway Transport Acts. The proposals sparked active debate among MPs, reflecting divergent opinions on the future of Bulgaria's railway infrastructure.

Introduced by MP Dimitar Naydenov from "We Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria" (WWC-DB), the first bill received overwhelming support, with 148 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions. This bill aims to modernize railway documentation management by allowing the storage of essential documents electronically, including the locomotive's waybill and the train's schedule.

In contrast, the second bill, put forth by the Council of Ministers, faced greater scrutiny. Despite garnering 97 votes in favor, it encountered significant opposition, with 55 votes against and five abstentions. This bill addresses concerns raised by the European Commission (EC) regarding Bulgaria's compliance with a European directive on domestic rail passenger services and railway infrastructure management.

Critics, such as Ivaylo Chorbov from "Revival," voiced strong objections to the second bill, contending that it paves the way for private sector involvement in managing public railway infrastructure. Chorbov argued against hastening the adoption of legislation that could potentially relinquish state control over vital transportation assets to private entities.

Nastimir Ananiev, also from WWC-DB, expressed cautious support for both bills but highlighted reservations regarding the government-proposed amendments. Ananiev emphasized the need for further refinement and suggested the formation of a working group to address concerns and improve the proposed texts.

Meanwhile, Andrey Chorbanov from "There is Such a People" announced his opposition to both bills, reflecting a broader divergence of opinions within the parliamentary debate.

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Tags: railway, amendments, opposition, WWC-DB

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