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Bulgarian report Bulgarian report
by Euro Reporter
2012-04-08 09:16:37
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Bulgarian cabinet faces no-confidence vote over atomic plant

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s minority government will face its fourth no- confidence vote in parliament next week after cancelling a project to build a nuclear plant with Russia’s Rosatom Corp. The Bulgarian Socialist Party and the nationalist Attack Party introduced the motion to the legislature today, Sergei Stanishev, ex-premier and leader of the opposition Socialists, told reporters in Sofia.

The European Union’s poorest country in terms of output per capita gets most of its oil and natural gas from Russia and wants to diversify its energy sources. It cancelled on March 28 a project to build a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant at Belene, about 250 kilometres (155 miles) north of Sofia, with Russia’s state nuclear company after failing since 2005 to agree on its cost and find Western investors.

“The government stopped Bulgaria’s biggest industrial project in two decades,” Stanishev said. “This decision is fatal for Bulgaria. It puts at risk the existence of Bulgaria’s nuclear energy industry and will lead to much higher electricity prices.” The Fukushima accident after a March 2011 earthquake in Japan raised costs for improved safety measures and risk insurance on the Bulgarian project by an extra $2.1 billion, according to a report by the Balkans and Black Sea Studies Centre in Sofia, which also was in favour of cancelling the project.


Bulgaria PM fumes over costly bread despite subsidies

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has voiced his indignation at the fact that bread prices remain high despite the annual subsidy of BGN 1 B paid to grain producers. Borisov's statement came in response to a question of socialist MP Kornelia Ninova about the reasons for the stalled implementation of the June 2010 agreement between the government and Bulgarian grain producers for an additional subsidy of BGN 70 m per year for the sector. The Prime Minister explained that the scheme for the distribution of the money through coupons had been delayed due to a request for extra information on the part of the European Commission.

He specified, however, that the subsidy had already been approved by Brussels.
Borisov added that in order for the scheme to be implemented, two laws had to be changed. The Prime Minister made it clear that the amendments had been drafted by the Agricultural Ministry but had not been presented to the Council of Ministers and to Parliament. "We are counting on your support for the vote on the legal measures. Each year we pay over BGN 1 B to grain producers but I have not seen bread prices fall. We give them BGN 1 B and yet bread prices rise," Borisov remarked. Ninova replied that the money given to grain producers was not from the state budget but from EU funds and had been negotiated at the time of Bulgaria's accession to the EU.

"The money allocated under the EU funds cannot be stopped by the government and even if it happens, it will only drive the prices of the commodities up," the MP from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) stated. She added that the centre-right GERB government had introduced a three-fold increase in social security contributions paid by farmers, which was included in the cost price of bread and other products, meaning that a tangible price reduction was not possible. Ninova suggested that people's incomes had to increase because they were unable to afford the costly food products. She went on to ask what had happened to the government's commitment for a reduced fuel excise duty rate for farmers.


Majority of Bulgarian 'orphans' have parents

Almost all children accommodated in orphanages in Bulgaria have parents, according to data of the National Statistics Institute, NSI, released Friday. At the end of 2011, 2 278 children, or 98.2% of the children accommodated at the so-called the Homes for Medical and Social Care had one or two parents. Only 41 children were complete orphans, which is 1.8% of the total number of accommodated children at the end of the year. The number of social homes for children at the end of 2011 was 31 with total capacity of 3 756 residents in them.

2 319 children were accommodated there, of them 1 278 of were boys and 1 041 – girls. The noted trend of decrease of the total number of children accommodated in the social homes continued in 2011, and at the end of the year it was down by 5.5% compared to the end of 2010. As of December 31, 2011, children up to 1 year of age had the highest share of accommodated children – 31%. Those aged 1 to 2 years were 20.9%, children from the age group 2 - 3 years were 18.0%, and those 3 years and over were 30.1% of all children.

2 508 children entered social homes in 2011. 63.6% of them were up to 1 year of age, 14.7% belonged to age group of 1 to 2 year-olds, 10.7% were 2 to 3 year-old and those 3 and over were 11% of all children. 2 565 children were discharged from the social homes in 2011. 171 (6.7%) of them were transferred to another institution due to completion of age, 2 394 children left through adoptions or application of different protection measures in compliance with the Child Protection Act.

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