site.btaMedia Review: September 21
The initiative committee for a referendum on the national holiday March 3 will submit an application to the National Assembly. These are the people who insist on preserving the national holiday of Bulgaria, reports bTV.
The initiative involves politicians, public figures, scientists and journalists. It was announced at the beginning of September after the government proposed that the national holiday be May 24, on the grounds that March 3 is a controversial date.
Also on Thursday, Vazrazhdane will protest for "the freedom and independence of Bulgaria and for the right to a referendum to preserve the Bulgarian lev".
The resignation of Gen. Atanas Atanasov from the post of chair of the parliamentary Committee for Control of the Security Services is a sign of protest that there should be a reform in the services, CC-DB MP Stoyu Stoev said on BNT. He pointed out that the services do not work in their current form, there is no balance in the appointment of their heads, and the reform has stalled.
"This has bothered us immensely and I hope that after this strong public act we will return to the negotiating table specifically on this topic."
The main problem with the services is that their heads were appointed during caretaker governments, meaning the President approved both the cabinet and its nominees, the lawmaker said.
"The caretaker government has for two years pursued policies that are unbecoming of it and that is why changes in the legislation are needed," Stoev said.
CC-DB MP Yavor Bozhankov hinted that the reform in the services is mandatory for the continuation of the government. Speaking to bTV, he expressed hope that the reform would still be implemented, although in recent days GERB and MRF announced that they would rather not support it.
"If there are no reforms in the services, we will not be passive. We will not compromise. If the reform is not carried out, one of the reasons to have a government falls away," Bozhankov said.
Vienna has not changed its position on Bulgaria’s Schengen membership, it became clear after President Rumen Radev's meeting with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen in New York, 24 Chasa reports.
Earlier, the Bulgarian head of State spoke from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly. Among the main highlights of his speech was the war in Ukraine. Radev said that war, conflict and terrorism threaten the future of civilization.
Trud adds that the President believes that there is no policy whatsoever to convince Austria and the Netherlands to lift the veto on possible membership. This prompted a reaction from Deputy Prime Minister Mariya Gabriel.
"These criticisms are unfounded. There is a planned visit of the Prime Minister to Austria. But such a visit is made when you are close to a result. We want to do our job before that. There is not a day, a week, a meeting from diplomatic to economic level where we do not raise the issue. As you can see, we have not limited ourselves to diplomatic efforts alone," Gabriel said.
Bulgaria and Romania are being held to double standards for their admission to Schengen. This opinion was expressed on BNT by Dimitar Gardev, an expert on international relations and international security.
In the Netherlands and Austria the flow of migrants is a huge problem. These countries are in an election situation. The mechanism used against Bulgaria, namely the reference to the monitoring reports on the rule of law, does not constitute an element of Schengen, Gardev said.
According to former deputy foreign minister Milen Keremedchiev, Schengen does not work as intended.
The fact that borders are being built in spaces that are supposed to be for free movement shows that the problem is not Bulgaria and Romania, but a general one in the Schengen area. And it should be reformed, but it should be reformed with Bulgaria and Romania in it, Milen Keremedchiev believes.
Trud reports that an international conference on peace, security and cooperation in the Balkans will be held on Thursday under the patronage of President Radev and with the participation of Vice President Iliana Iotova, who will deliver the opening speech. The organisers are the Strategic Institute for National Policies and Ideas (SINPI), the Forum for Balkan Transport and Infrastructure (FBTI) and the National Association for International Relations (NAMR).
NGOs from Turkiye, Greece, Serbia, Romania, North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cyprus will participate.
According to Dr. Kaloyan Pargov, Chairman of CINPI and keynote speaker at the forum, the aim is to create conditions for bilateral and multilateral dialogue between the Balkan peoples and countries in the context of their civil societies, who are invited to participate. Representatives of NGOs from almost all the Balkan countries will be present from organizations that have different scope and purpose.
Bulgarian households will pay triple for "evening" electricity if the Parliament adopts the government's proposed changes to the Energy Act, Trud reports. The draft approved by Parliament at first reading envisages that households will enter the free electricity market and there will be two types of contracts between them and electricity suppliers.
The first option is a contract with a dynamic electricity price. It will only be applicable to subscribers who have smart meters that read electricity consumption in real time. The second option is a fixed-term, fixed-price electricity supply contract.
It appears that once households enter the free electricity market, if a peak load tariff is introduced, households may have to pay nearly three times as much for “evening” electricity between 7 pm and 8 pm.
Higher prices are expected to lead to a shift in household electricity consumption, the article reads. The changes to the law even state that “consumption optimisation” means a change in the electricity load by end customers that deviates from their normal or current consumption pattern in response to changing electricity prices over time. That is, people will start to save electricity or leave ironing and running the washing machine for the weekend when the electricity price will be lower.
24 Chasa runs an interview with Minister of Innovation and Growth Milena Stoycheva. She says that her ambition is to make Bulgaria a destination for high-tech services and intellectual capital. According to Stoycheva, two hydrogen plants will be built in the next five years to power 10 electric buses and light up the streets of Stara Zagora. She adds that the Bulgarian Development Bank needs to strengthen its role as part of the European family of national development banks.
Thursday’s media cover in length the developments following the death of 18-year-old S. Mladenov, who was shot by a police officer pursuing him on Monday morning.
According to a check by 24 Chasa, at least 51 children and young people have been robbed on the territory where Mladenov' gang, based in the Botunets suburb, has been operating since the beginning of 2022. Other cases involving victims are also being worked on. Mladenov's gang has contributed to the increase in robberies in this area, while they are decreasing in the whole of Sofia, the article says.
“Does it matter with what weapon was fired if the criminal was stopped and the law was respected?" commented Ilia Kuzmanov from the Ministry of Interior trade union. "There is no respect for law enforcement officers, no respect for the state. After all, the weapon of the law enforcement officer is not decoration. I don't know of any country where the police do not carry weapons. It should be used as a last resort, but in this case - the law is respected," Kuzmanov said on BNT.
A column in Trud adds new details on the case. "The police patrol was in pursuit of a fugitive wanted for a serious crime who was reported to be possibly armed. Well, what's an officer to do other than shoot when the pursued disobeys, reaches for his bag and could endanger the officers' lives?" the author of the comment asks.
Another one draws a comparison between the two predominant public points of view. According to the author, leftist liberals tell the following story, "An 18-year-old minority child was shot in the back, for no compelling reason, by a bloodthirsty racist police officer."
While rightist conservatives speak of "A repeat offender who attacked a woman with a metal pipe disobeyed police orders and tried to flee. In the process of being apprehended, he was fatally shot by the police officers on duty."
These are not just two different readings of what happened. These are two different value systems. Two opposing notions of normalcy, order and legality, the author says.
Residents of the capital's Botunets suburb, who have been protesting over the killing of an 18-year-old youth by a police officer, again took to the streets last night in a protest demonstration, intending to continue their actions every night until the other two youths suspected of assault and theft are released from custody, BNR reports.
CAPITAL WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS
The interest in the construction of new renewable energy installations in Bulgaria is huge, but the lack of spare capacity hinders investors and prevents the country from quickly and painlessly parting with coal. The state is considering introducing guarantees for new projects because it fears speculation in the sector. By the end of August, the requests for new renewable energy plants submitted to the Electricity System Operator (ESO) exceeded 40,000 MW. However, at the moment all available electricity capacity in Bulgaria is around 13,000 MW. The grid cannot accommodate such a load. ESO plans to invest BGN 180 million in 2023, following the 200 million invested last year. Some 7,500 MW of new RES are expected to be connected to the grid in the coming years.
The State Agency for National Security (SANS) intervened in the health sector at the request of Prof. Kostadin Angelov (GERB), who chairs the Health Committee in Parliament. The SANS produced a report on the causes of drug shortages, which found that the regulatory framework was designed in the interests of traders and did not provide effective opportunities to avoid shortages. Angelov blamed former health minister Prof. Asena Serbezova, who changed the formula for calculating the shortfall.
At the bottom of the whole story, however, remains the root cause of the drug shortages and the criminal schemes involving them. This is the lowest price per manufacturer in Bulgaria introduced by law, which makes the medicine attractive for export to Western Europe, where prices for the same medicine are 2-3 times higher. And neither the politicians nor the services are pursuing the illegal channels for exporting medicines.
The sanitary ceramics and fittings factory "Ideal Standard - Vidima" in Sevlievo will become part of Villeroy & Boch. The union will be among the largest manufacturers of bathroom products in Europe with a turnover of EUR 1.4 billion.