Bulgaria's MPs Revoke Ban on Beach Camping
Lawmakers in Bulgaria have approved a proposal by the biggest party GERB that overturns a recently introduced ban on beach camping.
The decision has been backed by 75 MPs, 17 having voted "against" and 14 abstaining.
In March, a ban imposed on beach camping sparked protests in Sofia and other cities, pushing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's GERB party to back down.
The recently adopted amendments had envisaged fines of between BGN 1000 and BGN 10,000 (EUR 500-5,000) for camping and parking at a distance of less than hundred meters away from the beach.
The Reformist Bloc (RB) coalition, GERB's junior partner in the government, had earlier proposed that restrictions on camping passed in March be eased and submitted an alternative bill containing possible amendments, but it was turned down on Thursday.
Under GERB's new proposal, beach camping will be allowed through amendments to the Tourism Act, and will not be regulated by the Black Sea Coast Act (changes to which had resulted in the ban).
The blanket ban on all beach camping outside "designated places" had also been defied by President Rosen Plevneliev, who had recently referred to the Constitutional Court.
In mid-March, following several protests, Borisov said he was against the ban himself and it should not have been introduced.
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