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Bulgarian report Bulgarian report
by Euro Reporter
2011-11-19 10:37:40
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President does not rule out possibility to veto retirement age rise proposal

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov does not rule out the possibility to veto the government’s proposal to rise retirement age next year. The government does not observe the rules set by previous governments and which it accepted. After holding consultations with the trade unions and employers and after I hear the government’s motives, I do not rule out the possibility to veto this legislative proposal, said Parvanov.

According to the head of state the trade unions’ withdrawal from the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation will harm seriously the country’s social dialog.


Bulgaria's syndicates revolt against retirement age increase

Bulgaria's two major syndicates have rebelled against the government's intention to up the retirement age by 1 year as of 2012. The Podkrepa Labor Confederation and the Confederation of Independent Bulgarian Syndicates (KNSB) threatened Friday to launch a general strike over the initiative of Finance Minister Simeon Djankov to increase the retirement age unilaterally while disregarding the gradual increase agreement that the government made with the trade unions and the business associations back in 2010.

KNSB and Podkrepa are set to hold a joint sitting on Sunday, and to decide on how to prepare for a general strike as well as on their withdrawal from the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation, the meeting ground of the government, the business, and the unions. "We will withdraw until somebody realizes that there needs to be dialogue," stated KNSB President Plamen Dimitrov. The unions are going to meet with the parliamentary group of the ruling party GERB on Tuesday to discuss retirement system reform, the 2012 State Budget Act, which has already been adopted at first reading, as well as the crisis with the Bulgarian State Railways where the government has already laid off 500 workers, and plans to lay at least three times as many.

The syndicates are also insisting that the outgoing President, Georgi Parvanov, use his power of suspense veto on the proposed retirement reform legislation. Meanwhile, the Borisov Cabinet has made it clear it has not intention to back out of the idea to speed the retirement reform, starting it in 2012 instead of in 2021 as it agreed with the unions in 2010. "The proposal to up the retirement age as of next year will be tabled to Parliament by MPs; I hope they will be brave enough to know what's good for Bulgaria in the long run rather than think about whether we will have a strike in two months," Bulgaria's Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said in Parliament Friday as cited by BTA.


Bulgaria socialists slam rulers for disenfranchising Roma

Extra requirements to the Civil Registration Act have prevented a large part of Bulgaria's Roma and socially underprivileged population from obtaining ID cards and receiving social benefits, according to socialist MP Maya Manolova. Speaking in Parliament on Friday, she said that the issue was a problem of colossal proportions because these people were entitled to social benefits and yet could not access them due to the lack of identification documents. After outlining the paradox, Manolova urged Interior Minister Tsvetanov to back the legal amendments she had tabled in Parliament.

"As a person who is knowledgeable about elections, I can tell you that, on a nationwide scale, you emerged winners because you got the highest approval from Bulgaria's Roma population," Tsvetanov told the left-wing MP, responding to her question about Bulgarian citizens who had not been issued ID cards. The MP from Coalition for Bulgaria insisted that Iskra Fidosova, MP of centre-right ruling party GERB and Chair of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, was not interested in how many Roma people would vote or would be left in the cold this winter and deliberately ignored the issue for personal reasons.

"Perhaps the Roma should come to you and complain in person, because you refuse to hear about it. It only matters to you that I tabled the proposed amendments," Manolova stated. Tsvetanov suggested that Manolova's accusations were politically motivated and shed light on the   methods the party deployed to win the Roma vote. He emphasized that the government was willing to implement a pragmatic policy in the sphere and that GERB remained open for an expert discussion. "We can always reach a consensus on important matters," Tsvetanov concluded.

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