site.btaMedia Review: March 23

Media Review: March 23
Media Review: March 23
BTA Photo


Speaking on the morning show of bTV, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev said that the allegations in the a report by the US State Department on Bulgaria, which speaks of a lack of effectiveness in the fight against corruption, are not relevant today.

"I am always amazed that problems that are included in such reports become problems only after they get there. We talked about these issues in 2019-2020. People took to the streets. Now that they are covered in another country's report, they take on a special weight. The documents do not say anything new, but there is a misunderstanding. The report says that the efforts of the government are not enough - there is a significant increase in the number of persons investigated, but there are no convictions. In Bulgaria there is a completely different separation of powers and the executive is responsible for investigations where there is growth."

The Interior Minister defended the work of the police and challenged the conclusions about police arbitrariness in Bulgaria.

"The police exceeded their powers in relation to citizens, they beat them. The authorities and the prosecution then turned a blind eye. Today, these same police are taking elderly people through a pedestrian walkway. The gendarmerie are helping people. This finding is not relevant at the moment," Demerdzhiev said.

Of violence against migrants, he said that "the issue relevant before August 2 and I am adamant about that."

"When I took office, the first week I had a conversation with the Turkish minister and he raised the issue of the violence against migrants trying to infiltrate our territory. This topic is no longer raised in the talks because it is not relevant," the interior minister said.

In its 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Bulgaria released on Monday, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor concluded that last year, the Bulgarian authorities took steps to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed human rights abuses and corruption, but government actions were insufficient, and impunity was a problem. The report also identifies cruel or degrading treatment by authorities, including of detainees, migrants, and displaced and institutionalized children; arbitrary arrest; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; and serious government corruption.


Duma reports that in 2023 the caretaker government does not plan to launch projects financed under the Just Transition Fund in and benefit from funding under the EU Just Transition Fund.  This transpired from a statement by EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform Elisa Ferreira. This year Bulgaria is working on 13 projects in the field of transition to a clean economy and has requested support from the European Commission for the preparation of its just transition plan. but despite this, the government does not foresee the implementation of the strategic reforms.  "We have been informed by the Bulgarian government that the country has no interest in starting the implementation of the plan this year. We will wait and see if there will be a change because the transition will happen anyway," the Commissioner said. She added that Bulgaria is among the countries with the highest carbon pollution per unit of production - more than three times the EU average. Bulgaria has access to EUR 1.2 billion through the Just Transition Fund. The 48th legislature obliged the caretaker government to start negotiations with the EC to lift the commitment by the end of 2025. emissions from Bulgaria's thermal and power plants to be reduced by 40%, from 2019. This commitment was made in order for the National Recovery and Resilience Plan to be approved. Renegotiating it at this stage seems a difficult task.

On Bulgarian National Television of the energy strategy 2050 of the caretaker cabinet expert Kostantza RangElova said that she does not see a strategy, but a compilation of very ambitious wishes without concrete steps on how they could be implemented.

The chairman of the Bulgarian Energy and Mining Forum, Ivan Hinovski, commended the caretaker government for putting up for discussion a document that has been in the making for 20 years.  According to him, there are positive aspects also things to work on.

"I personally don’t agree with the Coal Plant Development Plan, because it sets 2030 as the deadline when decommissioning should start.

In his words, the decommissioning of the coal plants will be a second strategic mistake after the early shutdown of the Kozloduy nuclear power plant units.

For her part, Rangelova said that when talking about the overall energy sector and consumption, the role of energy efficiency in Bulgaria is not mentioned. Bulgaria uses three times more energy to produce the same GDP, compared with the European average.

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Duma reports that a European regulation is expected to enter into force soon that will introduce a scheme for emissions trading in transport and buildings. "Emissions will be sold and fuel suppliers will buy them. The mechanism will be similar to that in coal-fired power plants. This is expected to affect petrol and diesel and make them more expensive by BGN 0.80—0.90 per litre," Svetoslav Benchev of the Bulgarian Oil and Gas Association said on Nova News. According to him, at the moment there are no factors that would indicate a sharp jump in fuel prices. 


Irina Dilkinska, who was extradited to the US and worked for Ruzha Ignatova's OneCoin cyrpto scam worked with contracts and never thought she was doing anything wrong, her lawyer Nikolay Petkov told Nova TV on Thursday. He added that the woman was detained in June 2021 in front of her son's school on an Interpol red notice from late 2020.

The lawyer said that the charges against Dilkinska are based on two sworn statements - by the deputy attorney general of the state of New York and an FBI agent. The Bulgarian woman is charged with helping  se up create shell companies to launder money and keep assets belonging Ruzha Ignatova.

In addition, Dilkinska is alleged to have helped lawyer and accomplice in the OneCoin scheme Mark Scott launder $400 million in funds. After Scott's arrest, she destroyed incriminating information and notified another person involved of the arrest.

Dilkinska  was extradited to the US on March 20.  If convicted, she may serve her sentence in Bulgaria.


24 Chasa writes that Bulgaria failed to implement its commitment to spend at least 2% of its GDP on defence, citing the annual report of NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. According to 2022 data, Bulgaria spend 1.54% of its GDP, or some BGN 2.5 billion. This places it 16th out of the 30 countries in the ranking. Presenting the report, Stoltenberg asked that NATO countries increase their defence spending faster. Currently only seven countries are meeting NATO’s target. This is one fewer compared with 2021, the year before the Russian invasion in Ukraine. However, total defence expenditures increased by 2.2%.

The ranking is topped by Greece which spent 3.54% of its GDP on defence, followed by the US (3.46%), Lithuania (2.47%), Poland (2.42%), the UK (2.16%), Estonia (2.12%) and Latvia(2.07%)/ Romania and North Macedonia lead Bulgaria by 1.71% and 1.61% respectively, although they are short of the 2% target. At the bottom are Luxembourg (0.62%), Spain (1.09%) and Belgium (1.18%)


In its front-page story 24 Chasa focuses on the introduction of a four-day working week in Bulgaria compared with other countries after the five-day working week was introduced 50 yards ago . There are no uniform rules about a four-day working week. Most companies prefer to not cut wages and benefits and instead focusing on productivity. Some businesses demand longer hours on working days, others reduce wages proportionately. First a Ruse-based company trialled the four-day working week. in the summer of 2019. Last year ManpowerGroup in Southeast Europe, including Bulgaria, introduced formally the four-days working week in its offices after a four-month trial. Zhasmina Todorova, an expert with the Bulgarian Industrial Association told 24 Chasa that  the Labour Code does not prohibit a four-day working week. If there is an agreement between the employers and the social partners. However, there are many areas where this is impossible and there is a problem with pension contributions. The biggest problem is the dire shortage of labour and businesses with continuous operations who will be forced to hire more workers, pushing up production costs. Employer organizations have not put forward a formal position yet, but any changes will be made in dialogue with the social partners, the Labour Ministry and Social Security Institute.




By 14:46 on 03.06.2023 Today`s news

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