Far-right tsunami looms over Austria
For the first time, Austria's next president will likely be someone who is not officially backed by either of the two parties that have dominated politics since the end of World War II, news wires reported.
Protecting European consumers
More than 2,000 dangerous products triggered EU-wide alerts in 2015, new figures published last Monday by the Commission showed, the EU press service reported.
Three-pillar Arctic policy adopted
The European Union will step up its existing action and engagement in the Arctic with 39 actions focussing on climate change, environmental protection, sustainable development and international cooperation, foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said unveiling a three-pillar plan of the new integrated EU Arctic policy on 27 April.
EU tops global trade marks applications
Exactly 89,420 applications for trade mark protection were received in 2015 by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) from the EU Member States, the Eurostat pointed out in a report published last Monday.
Electoral Code overhauled
After two hours of tense parliamentary negotiations between Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the leaders of the parties supporting the government, the ruling coalition members agreed on 26 April to amend or remove some of the controversial texts in the new Electoral Code voted last week. GERB, the Reformist Bloc, the Patriotic Front and Alternative for Bulgarian Revival have reached a consensus on the final amendments to the Electoral Code. For example, the introduction of compulsory voting remains but the only repercussion of not going to the polling stations, i.e. striking off the offender’s name from the electoral lists, will be enforced only after said person has recorded absence in two consecutive elections of the same type.
Northeast region in position to attract over BGN 300m
Bulgaria’s northeast region is in a position to attract more than BGN 300m in targeted investments under the new Operational Programme Regions in Growth, which has a budget of over BGN 3bn, said Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Lilyana Pavlova, cited by BTA newswire. Ms Pavlova took part in a business forum held on 25 April in Varna. According to the minister, the investments will be in several areas – urban development, transport and environment and educational infrastructure.
Migrants in Greece sway between hope and despair
The 50,000 asylum-seekers who got to Greece before the EU's cut-off date of 20th March may seem to be the lucky ones, compared to those awaiting deportation from Lesbos and other islands. But the desperate conditions in Idomeni, Piraeus and in some camps, and the snail-like pace of the EU’s relocation programme, suggest lucky is the wrong word.
Obama's awkward transatlantic trip
Barack Obama’s visit to Britain, brings with it plenty of chatter about the so-called “special relationship” between the US and the UK. Coming as Britain prepares for a referendum on EU membership, the visit has already kicked off a political bunfight about the Americans “ordering” Britons how to vote on 23 June, with Obama to weigh in explicitly on why a Brexit would be a seriously bad idea. But this neurosis about being bossed around by Washington misses the bigger point about how Obama sees Britain and its neighbours. Whenever he swings through Europe, he makes a public show of friendship and unity – but he clearly thinks the US is being exploited by a troublesome continent that relies on American power to shore itself up. This is a misdiagnosis on his part. The issue here is Obama’s imperative to gloss over his own foreign policy failings.
Pro-EU ruling party wins in Serbia
The incumbent pro-EU populists swept Serbia’s parliamentary election in a landslide 24 April, leaving pro-Russia nationalists far behind, the electoral commission confirmed after nearly all the ballots were counted. The triumph of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic's Progressive Party means Serbia will continue on its path toward EU membership despite opposition from right-wing parties, which seek close ties with traditional Slavic ally Russia instead, AP reported.
US President: World needs strong and united Europe
The US President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea for European unity last Monday in Hannover and stressed that “a strong Europe is a necessity for the world.” Obama evoked the European history of banding together to defeat prejudice.
Australia, France defence deal inked
Australia's cabinet decided to commit a 50bn Australian dollars ($40bn) project for new submarine fleet to French state-controlled company DCNS, PM Malcolm Turnbull announced last Tuesday. France's offer was preferred over those of Germany and Japan. DCNS proposed to build a Shortfin Barracuda, a diesel-electric version of its current nuclear-powered vessel, re-designed for Australia.
Saudi Arabia readies for life without oil
Saudi Arabia's cabinet has agreed a broad-based economic reform programme, known as Vision 2030, revealing how the oil-reliant state plans to diversify its economy over next 14 years.
Hannover Fair displays integrated industry world
The world's biggest industrial fair, Hannover Messe, was opened last Monday to show the latest achievements of the leading industrial nations, news wires reported.
Ambassadors of books
Ten years ago, the Czech translator, David Bernstein, knew enough Bulgarian to read Teodora Dimova’s novel Adriana in original. He was so captivated by the story that he translated it for his 90-year-old grandmother, who was the same age as the heroine of the book. Today, Bernstein is in anticipation of the most prestigious award for translators in the Czech Republic for his work on another of Teodora Dimova’s novels – The Mothers, which won the Special Award for Eastern European Literature in Vienna a decade ago. Whether he will receive the honour bestowed by the Czech community of translators will become clear in September.
Stage makes every single emotion real
I founded not only “Fortissimo Family” but also “Fortissimo in Class” and “Fortissimo Fest”. There is already “Fortissimo Academy”, which is for adults, and “Fortissimo Radio” that broadcasts the children’s concerts on Horizont programme of the Bulgarian National Radio, and on the Bulgarian National Television.
Graffiti artists' intimate world
The Red Dot Art Gallery in Sofia has invited Bulgaria’s most renowned graffiti artists to join the Without a Scaffold project, daring them to show a different, more personal side, outside the comfort of their art groups.