site.btaMedia Review: October 4
The front-page headlines in Trud, 24 Chasa and Duma are about the protests of energy workers and miners, and an agreement signed Tuesday evening between their representatives and Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov. Protesting miners and energy workers have been blocking key roads across Bulgaria - Trakia motorway, Struma motorway, and the Danube Bridge border crossing. Their demands are for revisions of Bulgaria’s Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) in the coal regions across the country. The topic also dominates the morning programmes of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), bTV, and Nova TV.
The top story in Telegraph is on households’ water meters and tips on their selection, installation and use.
ENERGY WORKERS’ AGREEMENT WITH GOVERNMENT
Aleksandar Zagorov from the Podkrepa Labour Confederation was on the morning show of BNT to comment on the recent developments of the energy workers’ strike and the agreement signed with the government. "We are not looking for lulls or momentary solutions. There will be no easy solutions. We are probably too late, but we have preserved the important things - the stability of the energy sector, national security is not threatened, people are not harmed, the Maritsa-East complex is working stably. At the moment there is no threat to jobs, but there is a threat for the future - we are looking for the future," he told Nova TV. According to him, the protesting energy workers are trying to take measures because not enough attention is paid to the future of this "important, basic and fundamental" industry, but he stressed that a good result had been achieved.
Nova also hosted a discussion on the topic. Podkrepa Labour Confederation Dimitar Manolov told the morning show of Nova that according to him the agreement is incomplete. “Not all participants were engaged. Even before signatures were placed under this agreement, reactions were mixed,” he said. "I'm all for any alternative that might work. In Germany they are dismantling wind turbines to dig coal. They are opening coal plants in Germany, no one can deny it. Last year they opened 12," he said. Manolov said that he didn't sign the agreement, because he could not do so when his people have not signed.
In an interview on the Bulgarian National Radio, MEP Radan Kanev argued that Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) MP Delyan Peevski and businessman Hristo Kovachki had instigated the protests and then "invited themselves in the National Assembly's building to show that they could solve them". "It is no secret that Mr Peevski has an extremely large economic influence on the activities of TPP Maritsa East 2. It is no secret to anyone the extremely close, I would say obscene, political ties between Mr Kovachki, who owns the most problematic TPPs in Bulgaria, the MRF and to no small extent GERB," Kanev stated. He added that great pressure has been put on the Bulgarian government and the Bulgarian public interest. "The interest of the owners of 1-2 or 5 TPPs or of the workers in them does not always coincide with the public interest of 6 million people”, the MEP pointed out. Kanev expressed concern that such actions pose the biggest threat for the cabinet in the coming months: "This can be repeated many times with any economic sector or important social group where people like Peevski, Kovachki, Borissov have key influence, and we are a captured country where such people have key influence in many places."
Trud’s headline reads that “the energy catastrophe is delayed, at least for now”. The daily highlights that the agreement ceases protests, and the market is to decide whether power plants will be shut down.
24 Chasa also writes that the future of coal-fired power plants is in the hands of the market. The daily features a column on Margaret Thatcher’s experience in power in Great Britain, quoting Henry Kissinger from his book “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy”.
According to Duma, the meeting between the government and energy workers’ representatives was a failure. The daily quotes MPs from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, saying that the negotiations represent the governments intentions to lie to its citizens and knock down any protests.
Nova TV’s morning programme on Wednesday featured an economic rubric which centered on inflation, wages, the sector with the highest income and the average wage in Bulgaria. According to data of the National Statistical Institute, inflation is getting lower and wages are getting higher.
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24 Chasa’s top story is on housing prices in Bulgaria. The daily writes that Bulgaria is second in the European Union in terms of rising prices after Hungary. Rents in the capital have gone up by 30-40% for the past year.
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Duma points out that Bulgarians continue using their savings to buy property trying to protect their money from inflation. The newspaper highlights that the Bulgarian National Bank's data confirms this, noting a double increase in mortgage loans compared to bank deposits.
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Telegraph writes that Bulgarian water meters are competitive to German ones, and that Chinese water meters are the least expensive devices, but could cost households triple the price of their consumption if the water meter is not installed properly.
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Duma quotes a survey by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies, according to which Bulgaria has the highest share of the shadow economy in the European Union - 33.1% of the gross domestic product (GDP). The daily writes that according to the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association, the country's shadow economy represents 22% of GDP.
The morning show of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) featured the first Sofia candidates’ debate in view of the upcoming local elections on October 29.
24 Chasa has an interview with GERB candidate Anton Hekimyan, who ended his journalistic career and management position in bTV to run for Sofia Mayor in the upcoming elections.
Mediapool.bg has a thorough article on the current management of BNT, following the developments around the failure of electing a new director general after Emil Koshlukov’s term expired in July 2022. After over a year and a half of keeping the position, despite the absurdity of the situation, Mediapool’s journalistic investigation shows that Koshlukov is in his right to continue being BNT’s Director General, according to legal documents.
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Psychiatrist commenting on a case where a man held two women hostage and streamed online the terror, he inflicted upon them.
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The plenum of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) adopted a position Tuesday on the proposed constitutional amendments directly concerning the Judiciary. Duma and Trud headline that the SCJ has rejected the proposals to amend the Constitution, while Telegraph headlines that the SJC has approved one proposal.
The spokesman of the Holy Synod Metropolitan Cyprian spoke on the morning programme of BNT about the fate of the Russian Church and the position of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church on the case. Duma writes on its front page that the Holy Synod cannot open the Russian church, because it does not have the authority to do so, even though Metropolitan Cyprian declared the Holy Synod’s willingness for the church to be open once again.
The St Nicholas of Myra Russian Church in Sofia was closed on September 22, a day after the expulsion of its rector and two Belarusian priests accused of serving Moscow's geopolitical interests.
Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev talked about virological diseases and prevention. He highlighted the slight increase in COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria and said that the peak will be reached in January-February 2024. Kunchev noted that the virus is starting to resemble other respiratory viruses more and more. The illness does not burden the healthcare system at the moment, he said.