Meagre progress to euro adoption
None of the seven Member States that are legally obliged to adopt the euro are actually ready to join the single currency, according to the 2018 Convergence Report presented last Wednesday by the Commission.
Little-known lawyer appointed Italian PM
Italy's President Sergio Mattarella appointed last Wednesday the little-known lawyer Giuseppe Conte to lead a populist coalition government, with plans to slash taxes and boost spending, as well as demands for reform of the EU, which worry Brussels and the financial markets.
Sofia proposes strategy for tourism energy efficiency
Bulgaria plans to propose the creation of a common strategy for energy efficiency in tourism, announced Bulgaria's Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova at the International Conference on Macro-Regional Cooperation in Tourism and Energy held in Sofia on 23 May.
Greening our cities for prosperous future
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Imagine there is a city in the form of huge water lily that is floated at sea. This futuristic vision and many other brave ideas for the future presented at this year's Green Week in Brussels Vincent Callebaut, lead architect at Paris-based Vincent Callebaut Architectures. The Lilypad project, which he developed jointly with the University of Singapore, is concretely dedicated to helping the 250m climate refugees that will appear by 2050. He also gave his answers on how the post-carbon, post-fossil, post-nuclear and post-insecticide city will look like.
Binding obligations on Gazprom imposed to enable gas free flow
The Commission adopted last Thursday a decision imposing on Gazprom a set of obligations that aim at addressing the competition concerns and enabling the free flow of gas at competitive prices in Central and Eastern European gas markets, to the benefit of European consumers and businesses, the EU press service reported.
Boyko Borisov: Instead of divided, let us celebrate holidays together
Bulgaria and Macedonia have shown that it is better to celebrate holidays like 24 May together instead of being divided by them. This said Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in the presence of his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev in Rome during a visit to mark 24 May - Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture and the Slavonic Script.
Civil society of tomorrow
Luca Jahier, President of the European Economic and Social Committee
Centralisation of power in the executive, politicisation of the judiciary, attacks on media independence and lack of trust in the traditional political parties are just some of the symptoms of the current widespread crisis of democracy. It is not an understatement to say that European democracy is experiencing its biggest setback since the 1930s and that traditional models of participation seem ill-equipped to cope with the acceleration of change.
Europe needs neighbourhood policy rethink
The main thrust of the EU's response to the migration crisis has been to enlist the co-operation of third countries in an attempt to better control its own borders. The EU struck a deal with Turkey in March 2016, and supported Italy's efforts to co-operate with Libyan authorities in policing their coasts better and cracking down on people-smuggling.
Missed chances for peace
Chances for peace on the turbulent Korean peninsula vanished last week despite North Korea's goodwill gesture to dismantle its nuclear test site in the country's far Northeast, which was carried out in front of foreign journalists. The decision for demolition of the site was considered by international observers to be a good omen leading up to a potential meeting between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore next month.
Washington further enrages Tehran
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week outlined an aggressive series of “painful” measures against Tehran following Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear deal, which in response intensified the voices of more world leaders in the pact's defence.
EU notifies WTO on US steel tariffs
The EU presented last week to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) a list of US products on which the bloc may in the future apply extra import duties in retaliation to tariff measures on steel and aluminium the US is readying, news wires reported. “This would be to compensate in an equivalent manner for the impact of the US tariff measures on steel and aluminium, which the EU considers to be safeguard measures in effect, should they enter into force,” the EU said in a written statement. This notification does not result in any immediate imposition of additional duties on imports from the US so far, it added. The EU said some retaliation could be applied already from 20 June.
US-China trade war put on hold until wider deal
The world's largest economies, China and the US, agreed to drop their tariff threats while they work on a wider trade agreement, news wires reported last week. The US said it will not impose $150bn in tariffs on China, as negotiations under which China would import more energy and agricultural commodities from the US will be launched.
Sony takes control of EMI in $2.3bn deal
Sony announced last Tuesday it is buying a controlling stake in EMI Music Publishing for about $2.3bn, effectively becoming the world's largest music publisher, news wires reported. With the deal, the Japanese company takes control over two million songs by artists from Queen and Sam Smith to Alicia Keys and Kanye West.
Star-studded cast shines in Aida
Following a triumphant tour to Bolshoi Theatre, the Sofia Opera and Ballet is presenting a true musical feast, this time in Sofia, with three different casts performing one of Giuseppe Verdi's most beloved operas, Aida - on 8, 9 and 10 June. It promises to be an experience with a different emotional intensity, featuring Bulgarian singers enjoying global success. The concerts will be conducted by Italian maestro Giordano Bellincampi, music director of the Auckland Philharmonia and chief conductor of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra.
Life is salsa, so dance it
Olya Al-Ahmed, BTA
It comes from our ethnic diversity and rich combination of folk traditions. We are a hotchpotch of a nation. You can find white blond people, black people, mulattos, mix-race, Africans and people with Asian roots in Cuba.
Ennio Calabria's great return in Sofia
The great Italian artist Ennio Calabria has returned to Bulgaria through his incredible love-filled works in the style of Neo-Expressionism. Organised in association with the Italian Cultural Institute, his exhibition The Body is on show at the Contrast Art Gallery in Sofia and is dedicated to his 60-year artistic journey. The collection of prints and paintings will be on display until 30 June.
Bulgaria introduces Cyrillic script to EU
Among the EU 28 Member States, Bulgaria is unique with its alphabet, the Cyrillic script. Its earliest version was devised in 855–862 and is known as the Glagolitic alphabet.