» Sofia Morning News is a daily online newspaper published by Sofia News Agency (novinite.com), the biggest real time news provider in English in Bulgaria. It covers the latest economic, political, cultural and sports news happening in Bulgaria, major world events and foreign media analyses.

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SOFIA MORNING NEWS FOR 2014-11-01
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1 November 2014, Issue 4069
by Novinite.com
Bulgaria's Daily Newspaper since 2001
9716 subscribers of Novinite.com
147148 articles
590 interviews
9565 pictures
 
BUSINESS POLITICS WORLD SOCIETY SPORTS FORUM
 
Boyko Borisov Threatens To Return Mandate


GERB leader Boyko Borisov told journalists in Parliament he might return the government mandate next Wednesday, if no agreement is reached. read
Intl Consortium Proposes to Inject BGN 2.3B in Bulgaria's KTB - FinMin


An international consortium has proposed to Bulgarian authorities to invest BGN 2.3B in troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank or KTB), carateker Finance Minister Rumen Porozhanov said on Friday. read
Bulgaria’s National Electric Company Reports BGN 425 M Loss in end-Sept


Bulgaria’s state-owned National Electric Company (NEK) has reported a loss of BGN 425 M for the first nine months of 2014. read
 
 
MORE TOP NEWS
3 Big Outsourcing Firms to Open Offices in Plovdiv Within Months

Construction of 2 New Bulgaria-Romania Bridges to Start by 2017

Bulgaria-Macedonia Rail Line to Start Functioning in 2022

Austria's Verbund to Sell Its Wind Farm in Bulgaria

Bulgaria Counts on Austria's Support for Schengen Bid - PM

Sofia Metro To Reach Airport In April

Bulgaria Drops in Anti-Bribery Enforcement Ranking - Report

Refugee Center in Bulgaria’s Kovatchevtsi Faces Closure

Hungary Drops Draft Internet Tax Bill After Protests

Victor Ponta Set to Win First Round of Romanian Presidential Race


UPS & DOWNS
Share Of Shadow Economy In Bulgaria Decreases – Employers

Bulgaria Business Climate Worsens in October
QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The “holiday” Halloween is actually worshiping of evil and death. It teaches our children to mock their own innocence and the dignity of their loved ones, not to believe in the resurrection of Christ and to serve the Devil through demonic play and entertainment."

Bulgaria's Metropolitan Bishop of Varna and Veliki Preslav Yoan on October 31's festivities.

 

"When Germany catches a cold, Austria gets pneumonia."

Austrian President Heinz Fischer comments on relations with neighbors while meeting Bulgaria's interim Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki.

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TOP NEWS
GERB WITHDRAWS PROPOSAL TO SAVE KTB THROUGH LEGAL CHANGES

Conservative GERB has renounced its proposal for legislative amendments that could restore troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) back to health.

The center-right party had submitted a draft bill under which Bulgaria's central bank BNB would have to save banks that have reported negative equity.

GERB is the biggest party in Parliament with 84 out of 240 MPs.

It first announced the idea in Parliament during this week's first sitting of a temporary committee chaired by GERB's Menda Stoyanova and set up to work toward a decision on KTB.

On Friday, however, Stoyanova said her party was making a step back.

The original idea of this draft piece of legislation was to prepare "in the short term... amendments to the Credit Institutions Act which could transpose texts from the EU [Deposits Guarantee Schemes] Directive, with our obligation having a deadline until December 31," the website dnevnik.bg quoted her as saying.

Conservatives had previously insisted KTB should not be saved with state money.

Now it is backtracking after, in Stoyanova's words, the offer of "potential investors" proposing to contribute to Corpbank's recovery is "not serious".

On Friday, a consortium of investors submitted a proposal to participate inject BGN 2.3 B in KTB, but authorities are yet to respond.

GERB, on the other hand, will not renounce its proposal to speed up the Directive's transposition (until November 6, and not until June as it is now envisaged) to ensure that depositors at KTB have access to their savings. read more


BUSINESS

3 BIG OUTSOURCING FIRMS TO OPEN OFFICES IN PLOVDIV WITHIN MONTHS

In a few months’ time, three leading outsourcing firms will open offices in Bulgaria’s Plovdiv.

Representatives of Scale Focus, 60К and UNIFY announced at a conference titled “Outsourcing Destination Bulgaria” in Plovdiv on Friday that they had picked the city due to the combination of universities, affordable office rental rates, and the support of the municipal authorities for the launch of their businesses. read more


FLYDUBAI AIRLINE TO FLY BETWEEN SOFIA AND DUBAI

The Flydubai low cost airline starts flights between of Sofia airport and the Dubai International airport twice a week, according to the winter timetable of the Sofia Airport.

The flights will operate on Wednesdays and Sundays. read more


CONSTRUCTION OF 2 NEW BULGARIA-ROMANIA BRIDGES TO START BY 2017

The construction of the two new bridges Silistra – Calarasi and Nikopol – Turnu Magurele will start by 2017, according to Bulgaria’s caretaker Transport Minister Nikolina Angelkova.

Angelkova explained Friday that the deadlines had been included in the bilateral memorandum on building two new bridges over the Danube. read more


BULGARIA-MACEDONIA RAIL LINE TO START FUNCTIONING IN 2022

Macedonia’s Transport Minister Mile Janakieski expects the Bulgaria-Macedonia rail line to start functioning in 2022.

The transport ministers of Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania participated Friday in a conference held in Sofia. read more


FINANCE

INTL CONSORTIUM PROPOSES TO INJECT BGN 2.3B IN BULGARIA'S KTB - FINMIN

An international consortium has proposed to Bulgarian authorities to invest BGN 2.3B in troubled Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank or KTB), carateker Finance Minister Rumen Porozhanov said on Friday.

Speaking on bTV channel, Porozhanov said the proposal of State General Reserve Fund of Oman, Vienna-based EPIC Group and GemCorp Capital LLP was submitted to Bulgaria’s government, finance ministry and central bank late on Thursday.   read more


ENERGY

BULGARIA’S NATIONAL ELECTRIC COMPANY REPORTS BGN 425 M LOSS IN END-SEPT

Bulgaria’s state-owned National Electric Company (NEK) has reported a loss of BGN 425 M for the first nine months of 2014.

NEK’s loss has increased by 275,2% year-on-year, according to a financial report of the company, as cited by econ.bg. read more


AUSTRIA'S VERBUND TO SELL ITS WIND FARM IN BULGARIA

Austrian energy concern Verbund is selling its wind park at Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, the concern said in a statement Thursday.

A subsidiary of the Bulgarian financial company called Inovent Holding AD is to purchase the wind turbines.

The park's turbines have a total power of about 16 MW, producing electricity for 14 000 households.

Both companies have agreed to remain silent about the price tag.

Their transaction is expected to be closed by the end of this year.

Verbund is thus pulling out of the Bulgarian market after opting to leave those of Italy and France.

The company said in it statement its moves are part of a shift in strategy to focus on Austria and Germany, its core markets.

At the same time the company has long considered its business in Bulgaria and Romania unprofitable due to low whosale prices of energy sunk to EUR 7.2 M in Q3, from the previous EUR 62.4 M. read more


RUSSIA TIES RENEWAL OF SUPPLIES TO UKRAINE'S FIRST CHUNK OF DEBT

As soon as Ukraine transfers the first chunk of debt worth USD 1.4 B, Russia will renew gas deliveries, Economy Minister Alexander Novak says.

At a meeting held in Brussels with officials from the outgoing EU Commission, Russia and Ukraine, the two countries' ministers signed an agreement setting the final price of supplies, set to gradually decrease over the next year.

Ukrainian utility Naftogaz will have to pay USD 378 per 1000 cubic meters of gas until end-2014 and USD 365 until March, 2015.

Prices for the same volume was earlier envisaged to drop to USD 285. But Russian news agency RIA says Gazprom will take into consideration the price of oil to set one for gas in 2015.

A source told AFP news agency that Ukrainians "had enough money" to pay off their debt. At the same time Ukraine's Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan announced Kiev would make transfers from an aid fund already set up with the help of foreign contributors, and not directly with EU intervention.

Ukraine will now have to transfer USD 1.451 B in November and the flow of gas will instantly continue, Novak asserted. The next tranche of USD 1.6 B is due until end-December.

Paying off the USD 3.1 B within the next two months will be a prerequisite if Ukraine wants to have stable gas deliveries in January.

Kiev and Moscow have been locked in a gas dispute since this spring, with the former refusing to pay off debts to Gazprom. In June the Russian energy concern introduced prepayment for gas deliveries and halted supplies. read more


DIPLOMACY

BULGARIA COUNTS ON AUSTRIA'S SUPPORT FOR SCHENGEN BID - PM

Austria will support Bulgaria in its commitment to reform, the country's President Heinz Fischer made clear on Friday while meeting caretaker PM Georgi Bliznashki.

Austria's head of state arrived in Bulgaria on Thursday to mark the 135th anniversary since the two countries established diplomatic relations.

Fischer voiced his confidence that the excellent cooperation between Bulgaria and Austria within the EU will continue.

The Austrian President however pointed out that Bulgaria needed to do more in fighting corruption and legal security.

Interim Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki said he and Fischer were sending a message of humility to politicians.

Speaking of bilateral relations, he placed emphasis on cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture, which was "of particular importance" to Bulgaria alongside investment.

He reminded that 1996 investment from Austria was at approximately EUR 6 B and trade turnover was nearly EUR 1 B.

Bliznashki asserted a new Bulgarian government would be formed by November 10.

A Bulgaria-Austria business forum is to take place on Friday and to be attended by over 50 Austrian representatives who flew with Fischer to Sofia. read more


BULGARIA IN EU

FINANCIAL SUPERVISION COMMISSION CHAIR, ECB VICE-PRESIDENT DISCUSS TROUBLED BULGARIAN BANK KTB

Stoyan Mavrodiev, Chair of Bulgaria’s Financial Supervision Commission (FSC), met with Vitor Constancio, Vice-President of the European Central Bank (ECB) during a working visit to Frankfurt.

The FSC, a member of the Financial Stability Advisory Council and the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), sought the meeting as part of its efforts to help maintain financial stability in Bulgaria and find an optimal solution to the crisis involving Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB, Corpbank). read more


DOMESTIC

BOYKO BORISOV THREATENS TO RETURN MANDATE

GERB leader Boyko Borisov told journalists in Parliament he might return the government mandate next Wednesday, if no agreement is reached.

“As of today I am not optimistic about the government negotiations,” Borisov said, quoted by Dnevnik.bg. “Yesterday's option is not abandoned, but this is our tenth meeting already. And at every meeting we agree to have consultations and have a final decision at our next meeting. At the next meeting we don't agree on anything, because we need more consultations.” read more


PRESIDENT PLEVNELIEV BEGINS CONSULTATIONS WITH PARTIES FRIDAY

Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev is to hold consultations with the left-wing ABV and ultra-nationalist Ataka on Friday.

Under Bulgaria's Constitution, presidential consultations with all parliamentary parties are a prerequisite for handing to a Prime Minister candidate from the biggest party the mandate to form a government.

In this particular case talks have been extended since Plevneliev has taken into consideration the demand of all political parties, which he met at the Presidency on October 15, to have separate talks with each of them.

The head of state is receiving parties in reverse order starting with the one that has the smallest number of MPs in Parliament.

Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV) and Ataka, which came eighth in the October 5 elections with a result slightly below ABV, have 11 MP seats each.

Ataka's leader Volen Siderov has declared it will not attend the consultations after calling them "a PR event of President Plevneliev".

Plevneliev will discuss the present political situation in Bulgaria with two parties every day.  read more


PARLIAMENT STARTS DEBATE ON BUDGET OVERHAUL, C-BANK'S REPORT ON KTB

Bulgarian lawmakers are discussing amendments to the 2014 budget and two documents about the situation at Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) on Friday.

Interim Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki submitted earlier this week a proposal to the newly-convened Parliament to update the State Budget of the Republic of Bulgaria Act.

The draft envisages a budget deficit reaching 4% of Bulgaria's GDP to ensure all ministries and other institutions will be able to service their current payments.

It could also include additional funds for the Deposits Insurance Fund (DIF) which should be used to restore the savings of depositors at KTB, which have been unable to access their assets since this summer.

The biggest party GERB insists a deficit below 4 percent would be dangerous and would freeze activity at some ministries.

In July the previous legislature failed to overhaul the budget amid brawls between parties seeking to distance themselves from each other.

As for KTB, which has been under conservatorship of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) since mid-June, MPs are to discuss the central bank's report submitted Monday which suggests the BNB expects KTB to report negative equity, a prerequisite for revoking its license within 20 days in order to start paying deposits up to EUR 100 000.

However, an interim budget committee in Parliament presided by GERB's Menda Stoyanova dismissed on Wednesday the report of BNB, preparing its own draft project to save KTB and approving amendments to the Credit Institutions Act under which the BNB will have to save banks reporting negative equity.

The central bank for its part believes such a move will impose a heavy burden on the state by forcing it into saving the bank with its own funds.

Stoyanova told the Bulgarian National Radio on Thursday GERB would propose that the BNB hand within three days its estimate on the macroeconomic effect of a prospective move to declare KTB insolvent.

She explained the proposal with a possible intervention of "an investor" willing to pump EUR 1 B into the bank.

Left-wing Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV)'s Ivaylo Kalfin believes the BNB should be given the opportunity to deliver within thirty days two separate analyses on the aftermath of both options - recovery or failure.


read more


SOCIETY

SOFIA METRO TO REACH AIRPORT IN APRIL

The extension of Sofia's red line will reach the airport in April 2015, said Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova who inspected the construction process.

The inspection established that the work was 72% complete and the metro station at the airport will be finished by end of November. read more


REFUGEE CENTER IN BULGARIA’S KOVATCHEVTSI FACES CLOSURE

The refugee center in the western village of Kovachevtsi will be closed, according to Nikolay Chirpanliev, Chair of Bulgaria’s State Agency for Refugees.

In an interview for Presa daily, Chirpanliev says that the authorities will have to move some 100 people, who currently live there, to other centers. read more


SOFIA CITY COURTS ACQUITS ACTIVISTS FOR PAINTING MONUMENT

The Sofia City Court acquitted Asen Genov and Tsvetelina Sarbinska, accused of hooliganism for painting the monument in front of the Bulgarian Socialist Party offices in Sofia last November.

As a part of the anti-government protests in 2013 Genov, a blogger and active participant in the protests, and Sarbinska reportedly painted the monument, depicting communist partisans, in pink and purple and wrote “WHO? BCP – DISGRACE”. WHO? being one of the popular slogans of the protests and BCP referring to the old name of BSP – Bulgarian Communist Party. read more


CULTURE

SOFIA HISTORY MUSEUM TO HOST EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS

The Sofia History Museum will host the first European Heritage Days in Bulgaria.

The festival starts on October 31 in Sofia's Central Bath building, which houses the Sofia History Museum, and is co-organised by Institut Francais. It will run till November 2. read more


ARCHAEOLOGY

ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS AT PERPERIKON TO CONTINUE NEXT YEAR

The archaeological excavations at the Perperikon site in south eastern Bulgaria will continue next year, the head of the archaeological team Nikolay Ovcharov told journalists, quoted by BTA.

This season the team studied the buildings' reconstruction pattern from the Antiquity through the Middle Ages. read more


SMILES

A FAMILY OF PIGS

A young couple drove several miles down a country road, not saying a word.

An earlier discussion had led to an argument, and neither wanted to concede their position.

As they passed a barnyard of mules and pigs, the husband sarcastically asked, "Are they relatives of yours?"

"Yes," his wife replied. "I married into the family." read more


WORLD

BULGARIA DROPS IN ANTI-BRIBERY ENFORCEMENT RANKING - REPORT

Bulgaria has regressed in the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention  enforcement, a new report by Transparency International has shown.

“Fifteen years after the Convention entered into force, there are still 22 countries with Little or No Enforcement and eight countries with only Limited Enforcement. As a result, the Convention’s fundamental goal of creating a corruption-free level playing field for global trade is still far from being achieved,” Transparency International said in its Progress Report 2014 . read more


GERMANY INTRODUCES ROAD TOLL OF UP TO EUR 130 FOR FOREIGN DRIVERS

Germany has introduced a road toll which requires foreign car drivers to pay up to EUR 130 a year for using the country’s motorways.

The new fee, which will is scheduled to take effect in 2016, aims to secure funds for the maintenance of transport infrastructure, according to reports of EurActiv. read more


EU

HUNGARY DROPS DRAFT INTERNET TAX BILL AFTER PROTESTS

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday said a controversial draft bill to tax Internet traffic will be scrapped following mass protests.

"This tax in its current form cannot be introduced because the government wanted to extend a telecommunications tax, but the people see an Internet tax," Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Radio Kossuth on Friday. read more


SOUTHEAST EUROPE

VICTOR PONTA SET TO WIN FIRST ROUND OF ROMANIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Romania’s Social Democrat Prime Minister Victor Ponta leads in opinion polls ahead of the first round of presidential elections on November 2.

According to a CSCI poll conducted from October 27 to October 29,the 42-year-old prime minister is expected to garner 40% support, while his main opponent, Liberal Party head Klaus Iohannis, will get 29%. read more



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