site.btaMedia Review: May 27

Media Review: May 27
Media Review: May 27
BTA Photo

HIGHLIGHTS

On Monday morning, Mediapool.bg leads with a story about the ongoing meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Sofia. “NATO demonstrated in Sofia unity in support of Ukraine and called for strengthening this support,” the story says. It quotes Jens Stoltenberg as saying that NATO's purpose is not to fight the war but to prevent the war; NATO’s purpose is peace. He pointed out that unprecedented military aid from Allies to Ukraine has helped the country liberate 50% of the territories occupied by Russia at the beginning of the war, but aid delays have had negative consequences.

The Stoltenberg quote about peace being the purpose of NATO is also a central headline on the website of the Bulgarian National Television (BNT).

Mediapool and Nova TV, among other media outlets, report the remarks by caretaker Prime Minister Dimitar Glavchev at the forum, where he reconfirmed Bulgaria’s support for Ukraine. According to Mediapool, he called for stronger NATO presence in the region and a strategy for the Black Sea.” In the noticeable absence of President Rumen Radev, who is on a trip abroad, Glachev pointed out that improving the interoperability of the Ukrainian forces would provide a bridge to future membership,” the story says. Nova TV quoted him as saying, “Our NATO membership is a civilizational choice. It is a guarantee of security. It has served as an inspiration and motivation for generations of Bulgarians. It has also been a powerful driver for important reforms and has contributed to the development of peace and prosperity in this country.”  

Yet another Mediapool story asks whether the voice of Bulgaria and Romania in NATO can be stronger. It was written under the PULSE project, a EU-backed initiative for transborder cooperation between journalists.

Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) quoted Stoltenberg as saying that NATO should increase its role in coordinating and planning military assistance to Ukraine, as well as commit to a multi-year financial framework to support Kyiv. 

Most media outlets write about the NATO Parliamentary Assembly forum in Sofia.

The front-page story in Telegraf is about a severe shortage of auto mechanics in Bulgaria. “Unskilled car mechanics practice repairs on our cars,” the story says. It explains that the shortage of workers is caused by an exodus to the more advanced economies in Western Europe. “The gap is filled by unskilled apprentices who do shoddy job but don’t ask much money,” says the story. 

On the morning programme of bTV, former Bulgarian Ambassador to the US Elena Poptodorova and former Defence Minister Nikolai Svinarov commented how close to peace Russia and Ukraine are. The former ambassador said, “Zelenskyy has never shied away from seeking peace. But the question immediately comes, under what conditions? So far, there is only talk of peace. Vladimir Putin wants it to happen on Russia's terms, and that is not acceptable.” Svinarov said, “Attempts for ceasefire and cessation of hostilities have been made since the beginning of Russia's aggression in Ukraine. The direct participation of world leaders in the summit in Switzerland matters. We do not yet know whether the warring states will attend the summit."

Trud leads with the weather forecast for the beginning of summer and weathermen’s warning for extreme heat. That is valid throughout Europe, according to meteorologist Petar Yankov. The paper carries several stories on the topic on an inside page.

24 Chasa has a similar front-page story, with the headline reading “Europe Braces for Infernal Heat”. The story mentions that Catalan people in Spain are not allowed to wash their cars; that people in France are instructed to use the economy washing cycle and that watering gardens is restricted in Italy. Bulgaria has a low risk of going into a water stress, the story says.

Also on the 24 Chasa front page: “Wealthy City Dwellers Vote, Poor and Older People Are Resigned”. The story reports the findings of a large-scale study commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The story says that those who choose not to vote are not illiterate but feel betrayed and demand guarantees that somebody will bring dramatic improvement to their life. Only a third of respondents feel represented in Parliament. The profile of those who didn’t feel represented in 2013-17 is young female university graduate and in 2021 it was middle-aged male dwellers of small towns.

Duma leads with a quote of Bulgarian Socialist Party leader Korneliya Ninova, who this time calls for “ending the duty-free Ukrainian imports”. The paper covers the appearance of the party leader at a national fair of sheep-breeders, where she said that duty-free Ukrainian imports kill domestic production. 

HEALTH CARE

The Bulgarian ambulance services are experiencing a shortage of some 500 doctors, writes Trud. Nova TV has a report on that as well. According to the Union of Paramedics in Bulgaria, who are quoted in Trud, there is no will for reforms to allow paramedics take on some of the burden. The story  starts on the front page and continues inside the paper.

MORE OF NATO, THE WORLD

Trud writes that the power-holders in Rome blame NATO of being “intoxicated by war rage” and demand the resignation of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he “calls for strikes against military targets in Russia”, the paper says.

What happened in reality was that in an interview with The Economist on May 24, the NATO head called on members to “consider whether they should lift” the current restrictions that don’t allow Ukraine to use Western-supplied weapons in strikes against military targets inside Russia.

Duma has an analysis on whether things will come to a direct clash of the West with Russia. The chances for “yes” or “no” are 50-50.

ECONOMY

Duma and Trud have stories about a Standard&Poor’s credit rating update for Bulgaria (which affirmed this country’s BBB/A-2 long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings, and the stable outlook). The focus in both papers is that “the euro changeover will be delayed for January 1, 2026” and that “Bulgaria does not yet meet the price stability condition”.

The S&P report says that “if a stable government emerges relatively quickly from the June elections, avoiding a prolonged period of unstable government similar to 2021-2023, there will be limited delays to the country's euro area accession”. It does say that Bulgaria still does not meet all convergence criteria (formal conditions that all countries must meet before joining), including for price stability. The S&P statement says that even if Bulgaria were not to accede to the euro area in 2025, its accession would likely be delayed only to January 1, 2026.

***

Mediapool.bg writes that Bulgaria will import workers from India after the two countries sign a Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement. This was announced by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Bulgaria has been unable to overcome the problem of shortage of skilled manpower for years, especially in sectors such as construction, tourism, pharmaceuticals, transport and logistics. The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry sees the partnership with India as a good opportunity, which will be secured by signing a partnership agreement on migration and mobility,” the story goes.

***

In a dispatch from Stresa in northern Italy, Trud reports that finance officials of the G7 most advanced Western economies “failed to agree what exactly of the frozen Russian assets worth some USD 300 billion would be given to Ukraine”. According to the story’s subheading, “Moscow’s frozen assets dropped from the agenda”.

***

24 Chasa has an analysis about an ongoing trend of an increasing number of Bulgarians buying a house in the countryside – not only as vacation property but to live there year-round. The process started during the COVID pandemic and continues to date. Young families, intellectuals, rich people and foreigners are most commonly the new dwellers of Bulgarian villages, the author says. He sees another trend: after retirement, Bulgarian emigrees in Turkiye return to their ancestral homes in Bulgaria for the warm months and go back to Turkiye for the autumn and winter. 

***

On BNR, Yordan Ibrishimov, chairman of the Bulgarian Camper Society, dwells on the rules for camping in Bulgaria. He argues that setting in place favourable conditions for camping will attract foreign tourists to Bulgaria. “The draft of the long-awaited regulation on free camping is ready, but it is unclear when it will come into force. Some of the texts propose that campers, tents and caravans be placed on designated free camping sites by the sea. They will be listed on a special platform. It is very good for starters. The ordinance came out 6 years ago in an unsavory version full of bans. It received over 600 negative opinions. It even sparked protests. Now a new version, a much better one, is put out. It is clear that the voice of civil society organizations has been heard,” he said.

CHURCH MATTERS

Telegraf reports of clashes in Sofia over the election of a new metropolitan of Sliven this past weekend. Arseny was elected metropolitan of the Sliven eparchy in a 7-5 vote by the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. He is strongly disliked by the Sliven laity and needed police to protect him from angry parishioners outside the synodal headquarters. According to Telegraf, such clashes have not been since since the church rift in Bulgaria in the 1990s.

Telegraf has a signed commentary on the matter titled “A Farce that Can Turn into Drama”. The “farce”, according to the author, is the election of the new Sliven Metropolitan. He warns that Sliven laymen will likely boycott their new metropolitan and that is sure to have implications for the upcoming convention of clergy and laity that will elect the next Bulgarian patriarch.

On BNR, theologian Ivan Zhelev said that Metropolitan Nikolai of Plovdiv is making his way to the post of Patriarch of Bulgaria via the election of the new Sliven metropolitan. According to story on the BNR website, Metropolitan Nikolai “went to bow down” to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in order to receive support from him. In Zhelev’s words, it is “very prestigious” to be on good terms with Bartholomew, who has the State Department standing behind him. This was a move by Metropolitan Nikolai to get some publicity, Zhelev said. 

BALKANS

In a Trud interview, political science professor Mirjana Maleska says that the crisis between Athens and Skopje could be repeated with Sofia. She says that foreign politicians and analysts are watching Skopje with concern, and that the election victory of VMRO-DPMNE might turn bitter. 

Dnevnik.bg has an extensive story about Bosnia and Hercegovina. It is titled “Despite Talk of Disintegration, Something Can Unite Bosnia” and looks at the roots of the division in this country and the prospects for healing the rift between Serbs and Bosnians.

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By 17:50 on 20.06.2024 Today`s news

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