site.btaMedia Review: July 6

Media Review: July 6
Media Review: July 6
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BELENE N-PLANT EQUIPMENT AND MORE POLITICS

Trud daily informs about the plans for Bulgaria to sell to Ukraine the nuclear reactors for the future Belene nuclear power plant. According to Bogomil Manchev, chair of Bulatom, those reactors aren’t compatible with the Ukrainian power plant. Experts in the field and financial analysts think that selling the two Russian nuclear reactors to Ukraine would mean the end of the project for the creation of a second nuclear power plant in Bulgaria and that the sell price would be rather low. Also, Bulgaria has yet to receive parts for Belene from Russia worth EUR 50 million. The idea to sell the reactors was backed by Continue the Change – Democratic Bulgaria, GERB – UDF and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.

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24 Chasa daily writes that the negotiations for the price of the nuclear reactors will take 2 months and the price can’t go below BGN 1.2 billion, as the proposal to be voted by the Parliament states. Experts remind that so far over BGN 3 billion have been spent on Belene nuclear power plant and it would be better not to hurry and sell the reactors but instead wait for 6 months, which would give the possibility to carry on an expert analysis of the situation. 

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For NovaTV Delyan Dobrev of GERB-UDF commented that Bulgaria offers Ukraine equipment from Belene NPP that only Bulgaria has and doesn't need. This equipment has a long production cycle: this country ordered it in 2006-2007 and acquired a few years later. "This is exactly the kind of equipment the Ukrainians need. We are in a situation where we are the only country in the world that has such equipment but does not need it", Dobrev added.

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"Bulgaria, in the person of the Kiril Petkov cabinet, was one of those countries that helped Ukraine in the most difficult initial moments of the war,” Daniel Lorer, MP from CC-DB said in the studio of NovaTV. In his words, President Zelenskyy is welcome in the Bulgarian Parliament. "We do not know for sure whether he will come to Bulgaria at all. To a large extent it is also a question of security. President Zelenskyy is the leader of a country that is at war. But if he comes, it will be an important sign. Above all, this visit will be an expression of gratitude," Lorer explained.

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Roumen Kanchev, expert in foreign relation, says in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio that the visit of Ukraine’s president would be an important political sign. In his words, this would be a very positive sign and at the same time a specific assessment of Bulgaria's policy towards the war in Ukraine. He reminded that there is a division in Bulgarian society regarding the conflict Russia-Ukraine. "The leftist forces - the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Vazrazhdane - are against the aid Bulgaria can give to Ukraine. I find this rather normal. It also to a certain extent etches the mood in Bulgarian society," Kanchev added. The expert does not think that Ukraine's NATO membership will move so fast while the country is at war. "Immediately after the war, I think the first thing NATO should do is to invite Ukraine as a member," he added his opinion.

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Duma daily informs that according to Kornelya Ninova, leader of BSP, Bulgaria has paid BGN 600 million for equipment for Belene which has disappeared. She says that selling the two reactors would mean the end of the project for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belene. In other news, BSP demanded the resignation of Defence Minister Tagarev for his proposal for creation of a NATO base in the Black Sea. This would constitute a violation of the Montreux Treaty.

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Various media, including Trud and 24 Chasa inform about the decision of the leader of GERN Borissov to waive his parliamentary immunity. He announced his decision one hour after first saying that he wasn’t going to waive his immunity. Kiril Petkov, co-leader of PP, commented for the Bulgarian National Television on Borissov decision to waive his immunity: "I think it's the right thing to do - for each and every one of us to take responsibility and show that no one can be covered up, hide or someone can try to blackmail. From my point of view, it was a very right decision. I took it a few weeks ago, I'm glad he took it today."

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In an interview for Telegraph, political analyst Parvan Simeonov comments that the local elections this year will be a test for the parties. GERB’s mayors are worn out, but they have no alternative. He expects scandals between CC-DB and GERB-UDF, because they owe it to their voters. Also, this would save CC-DB from losing their identity.

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In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio political analyst Strahil Deliyski says that the work of the cabinet will not have a direct impact on electoral attitudes for the local vote. The government's main task in this first month is to achieve its self-imposed super-target to exist, at this stage it seems at any cost, he says. "The idea that the government's main goal is to have it largely further will mine any more strategic management actions. There are likely to be different ideas about what this government should do. The very fact that we don't have a written governance programme, other than wishful thinking, mostly related to what's going to happen in the Parliament, but we don't have a pure programme of what the executive is going to do, suggests to me that the goal of having government means not having such a programme," he added.

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BNR writes about the upcoming Bulgarian visit of Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday. The visit comes at a key moment for Kyiv: ahead of the NATO summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, where Ukraine expects a clear message that it is welcome in the Atlantic pact.

In an interview for NovaTV, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba took questions about Ukraine-Bulgaria relations. He said there have been ups and downs and that the current government shows a serious commitment to a pro-European policy of assistance to Ukraine. By helping Ukraine, you are helping Europe, you are helping to restore peace in Europe, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister said. He said that Bulgaria can help with artillery ammunition. He said that his country is going through a stage in history that Bulgaria had when it fought for its independence, and expressed regret that Bulgarian people with pro-Russian attitudes fail to understand that.

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All media outlets report that the parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee rejected the proposal to hold a referendum on whether the lev should remain the country's only official currency until 2043. Mediapool.bg, among others, writes that during the committee session it became clear that the Parliament will vote on an explicit decision that will finally reject or accept the proposal in plenary, which means that it is very likely that the parties defending the referendum will send the decision to the Constitutional Court and it will ultimately decide the case. In the meantime, Eurobarometer published its latest survey, according to which 49% of Bulgarian citizens support the introduction of the euro and as many - 49% - are against the idea. 2% have no opinion. This is a 5 percentage point improvement in support for the euro, Mediapool writes.

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Political Analyst Teodor Slavev commented for BNR on the creation of ex-Prosecutor General’s new formation. "It is an oxymoron for Ivan Geshev to fight for justice for Bulgaria. There is something mocking in this. He was Prosecutor General and he had the tools to fight for justice. Geshev is likely to position himself in the political field as a fighter against the status quo of which he was a part. He positioned himself declaratively in the conservative space."

Slavev pointed out that the issue of funding remained unclear, as well as which people would be involved in the project. "In Bulgaria we have seen all kinds of political metamorphoses and coalitions. It is worrying when the now former attorney general knows everything about everyone. It raises the question – on what grounds. Producing compromising materials is also illegal."

JUDICIARY

Trud, Duma, Telegraph write about European Commission’s plans to close the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism whereby Brussels has been monitoring Bulgaria's progress in reforming its judiciary and combatting organized crime and corruption. The lack of reforms in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) was pointed out as a problem, as well as the fight against corruption.

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Acting Prosecutor General Sarafov has sent to the SJC information about possible malpractice of two prosecutors from the former Specialized Prosecution – Dimitar Frantishek and Kiril Peychinov, Trud and 24 Chasa inform.

SOCIETY

Various media, including Trud, Telegraph and Duma inform that according to data by the National Statistical Institute, marriage is becoming rarer in Bulgaria. 27% of couples in Bulgaria who have children live together without marriage. This phenomenon has become more popular in the past 35 years. Meanwhile, the families consisting of one aren’t with children are 21.9% of the families in Bulgaria. One quarter of those parents are men.

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bTV informs of protests of firefigheters in Bulgaria for higher wages. They insist on a 10% wage increase. Haskovo firefighters have raised money to paint the fire station doors themselves. The starting wage of a firefighter is about BGN 1300. They are not allowed to work in any other job. The firefighters are demanding additional funds for building improvements, repairs and maintenance of fire trucks.

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BNT also informs about the protests of policemen and firefighters, who want a 10% wage increase. In addition to wage increases, the unions are demanding reform in the sector. They also remind that their uniforms are old, of poor quality and hardly last even one season. Yesterday, the Minister of Interior supported their demands and added that talks are underway with the Ministry of Finance. However, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev replied that there would be no salary increase in the sector this year. The unions have vowed that if they are not heard they will organise a national protest between the two readings of the budget in parliament. Firefighters from Plovdiv and members of the Interior Ministry's employees' union joined the police protest. They stopped work for 10 minutes. Employees in the Interior Ministry system and in Varna also joined the protest. They started the sirens and signal lights of the fire trucks.

/DS/

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By 20:23 on 28.02.2024 Today`s news

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