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Bulgarian report Bulgarian report
by Euro Reporter
2010-07-14 08:05:19
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Bulgarian ruling Party reshuffles Parliamentary heads

Ruling centre-right party GERB has decided to appoint MP Anastas Anastasov as the new Deputy Chair of Bulgarian Parliament. Anastasov, who is the head of Parliamentary Committee on interior and home affairs, will be replacing MP Lachezar Ivanov, who resigned last week after a scandal in which he tried to stop a TV report exposing the luxurious life of a customs agent, who is close to him. Ivanov resigned not just as deputy head of the Parliament, but also as the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on health. However, he has kept his MP seat.

The GERB party press centre announced Tuesday night that MP Desislava Atanasova will be the new chair of the Health Committee. The ruling party has also asked MP Svetlin Tanchev to resign as head of the Parliamentary Committee on EU Funds absorption over his proposal for a notorious “lobbyist” amendment to the Drug Substances Act. Tanchev has deposited his resigned duly. He will be replaced by MP Monika Panayotova.

Plamen Tsekov has resigned as the Deputy Chair of the Health Committee over the same problematic amendment. Tanchev's amendment had to do with allowing a previously profited advertising of products using images of narcotic substances. The initial version of the Drug Substances Act was published in the State Gazette in March with the proper prohibition. Subsequently, however, a second draft of the Act was published without the ban. The investigation discovered that Tsekov omitted the probation when reading the text of the Act as approved by the Health Committee. Unofficial information said he was asked to do that by Svetlin Tanchev.


EU sets Bulgaria under excessive deficit procedure

The EU Finance Ministers have decided to set Bulgaria under the excessive deficit procedure, a program to reduce its budget deficit below the 3% threshold required by the Stability and Growth Pact. During Tuesday’s meeting of ECOFIN, the Council of the EU Finance Ministers, a decision was made to press Bulgaria, Denmark, Cyprus, and Finland to cut their budget deficit gaps. ECOFIN’s statement said financial figures showed Bulgaria and Cyprus had budget deficits in 2009 surpassing the limit of 3% of the GDP, while the deficits of Denmark and Finland are also expected to exceed the 3% threshold.

With respect to Cyprus and Denmark, the Finance Ministers of the EU decided that the deficits resulted from “special circumstances” related to the global economic crisis. Thus, Cyprus is asked to bring its deficit below 3% by 2012, and Denmark – by 2013. At the same time, in the cases of Bulgaria and Finland, ECOFIN has demanded that the two countries rectify their budget deficits according to the standard timetable "Thus, in its recommendations the Council called on Bulgaria and Finland to bring their deficits below the 3% of GDP threshold by 2011, on Cyprus to do so by 2012 and on Denmark to do so by 2013. For all four member states, it set 13 January 2011 as the deadline for taking corrective measures," said the Council statement.

With Tuesday’s decision of ECOFIN, only Luxembourg, Sweden, and Estonia, that is, three out of a total of 27 EU member states are left out of the list countries that broke the 3% budget deficit requirement of the Stability and Growth Pact. Bulgaria was first slated to be set under the EU excessive deficit procedure in early May when the convergence report of the European Commission concluded that it, together with seven other EU member states, did not meet all the conditions for the adoption of the euro. Subsequently, the Commission proposed to the Council of the EU Finance Ministers that it consider setting Bulgaria, together with Cyprus, Denmark and Finland under the so called excessive deficit procedure to ensure that they will reduce swiftly their state spending. The European Union sets a cap on budget overspends at 3% of gross domestic product, and Bulgaria reached a general government deficit of 3.9% in 2009, according to latest data revealed in April 2010. Likewise, Cyprus breached its budget by 6.1%; Denmark is projecting a 5.4% shortfall this year, while Finland expects its deficit to reach 4.1%.


Bulgarian NGO resettles Griffin vultures from Spain

Bulgarian environmentalists are going to resettle eight griffin vultures as part of a project to restore the population of the birds of prey. The eight new griffin vultures will be resettled in the Blue Stones Natural Park near the eastern city of Sliven.

They are the second group of vultures “imported” from Spain as about a month ago a total of 31 birds were transported from Palma de Mallorca to the Wild Animals Protection Centre in Stara Zagora, which is in the same region as Sliven.

After a quarantine period and several months in a special facility for adaptation, the griffin vultures will be released in the wilderness. Each of them will be marked with special rings. The project for the resettlement of the griffin vultures in Bulgaria is realized by the Zeleni Balkani, i.e. “Green Balkans”, NGO and is funded under the EC program LIFE+. The birds have been provided by the Foundation for Vulture Protection and the zoo in Jerez, Spain.

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