site.btaMedia Review: February 26

Media Review: February 26
Media Review: February 26
BTA Photo

HEADLINES

The frontpage headlines in Trud, 24 Chasa, and Telegraph on Monday are on the topics of energy and economy, the top headline in Duma is that the Bulgarian Socialist Party branches in Sofia and Burgas are going to elect new leaderships. Trud headlines that nearly nine out of ten lack the funds to receive the second pillar pension in Bulgaria. Telegraph writes that that fuel prices have gone up by BGN 0.12 in a month and 24 Chasa writes that electricity prices are going up as of July 1, 2024.

The main topics on the morning programmes of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), bTV, and Nova TV are also energy, politics, and home affairs. The Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) has an interview with Ruslan Stefanov from the Centre for Democracy who comments on Parliament’s decision on the construction of two nuclear energy unit at Kozloduy nuclear power plant, and interviews with political scientist Lyubomir Stefanov and Diana Eftimova from the Institute for Public Environment Development, who commented on Bulgaria’s current political scene.

ENERGY

Ruslan Stefanov from the Centre for Democracy said that Parliament’s decision for the construction of two new unit at the Kozloduy NPP is to avoid responsibility. According to him, the same cases have been raised with different international partners since 2005. Bulgaria is not following the rules - to have a long-term policy based on the European models, that the country has agreed on with its European partners. Models show that Bulgaria does not need new nuclear capacity at least until 2040, Stefanov said. According to him, energy consumption figures are exaggerated to support the need for the construction of new units.

* * *

Svetoslav Benchev, President of the Bulgarian Petroleum and Gas Association told Telegraph that the fuel market in Bulgaria is not expected to collapse after the halt of the import of Russian petrol. The daily writes that the price of diesel fuel at the end of February 2023 was BGN 2.88 per litre, and the price of petrol was BGN 2.59 per litre. Diesel fuel prices at the end of February 2024 is BGN 2.77 per litre. The story also highlights that electric vehicles are not subject to taxes and that the Innovation Ministry is proposing a tax increase for vehicles running on diesel fuel.

ECONOMY

Trud’s top story on second pillar pensions in Bulgaria reads that for an overwhelming majority of people getting a second pension turns out to be mission impossible, according to data from the Financial Supervision Commission. The reason for this is people who retire do not have enough money accumulated in private funds to take a lifelong pension. The reasons for this are many, and among them are - the low wages on which people have been insured; the periodic crises that bring down the profitability of managing the money of the insured; the rapid increase in wages and state pensions relative to the profitability of the funds; the low contribution for a second pension of 5%, and the fees that the funds collect, the daily writes.

POLITICS

Sofia Mayor Vassil Terziev was in the studio of BNT’s morning show to comment on his first 100 days in office. He said that his group in the Sofia Municipal Council is still at the start of governance and not a single day it had in office until now has been peaceful. Terziev noted that the municipal councillors from Save Sofia are not experiencing themselves as opposition neither within the coalition (Continue the Change – Democratic Bulgaria), nor in the council. He said that once gain relations between the different parties have been exacerbated, it has become apparent how greatly views on the governance the capital differ. Terziev urged for agreeing on key points where groups’ policies have 80% overlap and admit differences on the but focus on agreement. “Let's figure out what the principle of committee assignments should be - proportional, without putting names and without saying this committee belongs to who but adopting some logic," he said.

Terziev also said that BGN 37 million, needed for a 15% pay increase, have been secured, as agreed with public transport trade unions. There are projects for the construction of parking lots in Sofia's neighbourhoods - about 22 of them, in all neighbourhoods there is at least one, the mayor said. Some are under construction, others are in the planning process, he said. "This is a very big problem, for we have over a million cars. Until recently it was not compulsory to have one parking space per apartment when a new building was being built. The fight against the muddy spots and the regulation of traffic in the neighbourhoods is on the way and is being actively pursued by district administrations," Terziev noted.

* * *

Political scientist Lyubomir Stefanov told BNR that the risk of the collapsing of the power sharing government coalition is unjustified at the moment. Stefanov said that neither Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov nor his deputy and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel are political leaders in their parties. “They are second-tier individuals, elevated to the first tier. Negotiations should be conducted between those who really bear the political responsibility, including for their current nominations and operational actions as prime minister and foreign minister," the political scientist said.

Stefanov also commented on the official election of the co-chairmen of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) – MRF floor leader Delyan Peevski and MRF MP Dzhevdet Chakarov. Stefanov said that the election was foretold and was made by just one person. According to him, the party has problems, but it is also crucial for decision-making in Parliament.

* * *

Mediapool.bg quotes US Ambassador to Bulgaria Kenneth Merten, who gave an interview for bTV on Sunday evening, as saying that the US is still examining the effect of the Magnitsky sanctions in Bulgaria. He did not say whether the sanctions list for Bulgarians will be expanded. Merten noted that it is important to remember that corruption exists in every country, including in the US, and in other European countries. “It is important to have laws aimed at those who are culpable and to ensure that they are punished. In recent months, the Bulgarian Parliament has taken steps to fight corruption and to reform the judiciary. We are proud of the work done with various NGOs to raise awareness on the issue in recent years,” Merten added. He stressed that Bulgarians should have trust in their political system, in the political leaders and the judiciary, it is important to know that the laws that are voted in the EU are implemented here. According to Merten, Bulgaria has done a very good job in reducing its dependence on Russia. Westinghouse will build a power plant here - this is an excellent step towards energy independence. Regarding Lukoil, Merten said that there were several American companies that have been to Sofia. “But I am not in a position to say how seriously they are seeking to buy the refinery,” the ambassador explained.

 * * *

24 Chasa, Trud and Telegraph have interviews with political scientists Dimitar Ganev, Toncho Kraveski, and Strahil Deliyski, who all comment on the relations in the power-sharing coalition between CC-DD and GERB-UDF. Deliyski is of the opinion that the coalition is unbreakable, Ganev and Kraevski see GERB-UDF as having the upper hand.

/YV/

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By 13:30 on 21.04.2024 Today`s news

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