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Bulgarian report Bulgarian report
by Euro Reporter
2014-06-14 12:17:54
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Bulgarian PM survives vote, fresh poll due

Technocrat Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski narrowly won Friday's vote by 114-109, but on the condition set by his onetime allies - the ethnic Turkish minority MRF party and Socialists - that he resign and make way for a new election. Friday's ballot, called by the centre-right opposition over fiscal policy, was the fifth such no-confidence vote in the past year in the EU's poorest member nation. Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev is expected to summon party leaders next Tuesday to set a date for elections, possibly in August or September. Oresharski took office in May 2013 after street protests over falling living standards and corruption led to the fall of the previous government led by the centre-right GERB party and its then prime minister Boyko Borisov.

Last week, the MRF withdrew its support for Oresharski's cabinet in reaction to the Socialists' drubbing in the European Parliament elections in May. Volen, Siderov, the leader of the nationalist Attack party, which had previously given Oresharski indirect support, said on Friday "this government is exhausted." In recent months, Bulgaria was thrust into the middle of the dispute over Ukraine and Russian gas deliveries to Europe because of a pipeline project.

On Sunday, Oresharski said work on the Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline through Bulgaria would be suspended, pending consultations with Brussels over EU and US objections to its construction. The pipeline would pump gas to European markets thus circumventing Ukraine, with whom Russia has been holding highly tense negotiations. GERB has said - if elected - it would scrap the contract awarded to Russia's Stroytransgaz which is owned by businessman Gennady Timchenko. He is on a US sanctions list after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Black Sea region of Crimea. On Friday, Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev diverged from Oresharski's stance, saying the project could be moved forward "because it is important for Bulgaria."

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Bulgaria halts work on gas pipeline after US talks

Bulgaria is to halt work on its Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline following criticism from the EU and US. Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski announced that he had "ordered all work to be stopped".  "We will decide on further developments following consultations with Brussels," he said after meeting with US senators.

The Gazprom-financed pipeline would ship gas to Western Europe via the Balkans, thus avoiding Ukraine.  The European Commission had sent Bulgarian authorities a letter at the start of the month, asking them to suspend work on the project. The EC claimed Bulgaria may have broken EU public procurement laws by choosing local and Russian bidders.

Bulgaria has previously said it is being targeted by Brussels as a means of retaliating against Russia over the situation in Ukraine.  If built, the pipeline would deliver 63 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year, via Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia before entering Italy. Construction work on the pipeline began in Bulgaria in October 2013.

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Bulgaria without Censorship’s chair to hold press conference

National Council of Regions of the Bulgaria without Censorship will hold a sitting in the capital Sofia on Saturday, June 14, the press centre of the party announced. The event will begin at 11:00 am.

The post of deputy chairperson of MP Svetlin Tanchev will be voted on and the activities the party will undertake in the frames of an election campaign for early parliamentary elections will also be commented on.

Bulgaria without Censorship’s Chairperson and party members will hold a press conference at 2:30 pm.


       
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