The programme aiming to unlock funding from private investors received a mixed response
An action plan to unlock funding from private investors, crowd capital market and insurance companies for business and infrastructure in the EU unveiled European Commission on 30 September. It lists the steps the EU will take to put in place the "building blocks" of a Capital Markets Union (CMU) by 2019. The massive and long-promised programme was presented in Brussels by first ever EU Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, the Briton Jonathan Hill, but has received a mixed response. The CMU aims to unleash the ability of markets to raise funds for Europe's sluggish economy after the financial crisis strained banks, the continent's main source of funds for companies. The Commission said the CMU is a key pillar of the Investment Plan.
A key partnership on the fifth generation of mobile telecom networks (5G) was signed
Maria Koleva, Brussels
China will be the first country outside the EU that that will beef up the €315 billion Junker Investment Plan. China’s contribution to this ambitious Commission initiative was announced in Beijing on 28 September during the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue. At the forum Chinese Vice-Premier Ma Kai informed EC Vice-President Jyrki Katainen that the country has also intention for a closer cooperation with the EU on investments “in general”.
Commissioner Maros Sefcovic pledges at least $500m to Kiev
Europe could rely on regular supplies of Russian gas via Ukraine this winter. After several rounds of trilateral and bilateral negotiations over the last months, the European Commission, the Russian Federation and Ukraine have agreed оn 25 September on the terms of gas deliveries to Ukraine for the upcoming winter period.
MEPs rejected all cuts in 2016 draft budget
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The cuts in the EU 2016 draft budget proposed by the Council were totally restored by the Budgets Committee (BUDG) MEPs on 28 and 29 September.
Merkel, Hollande to jointly address EP
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Upcoming parliamentary week in Strasbourg, October 5 to 8, will be remembered with the plenary debate on Europe with Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande and the visit of King Felipe VI of Spain.
Call on fostering strong narrative against hate
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Against the backdrop of the migration avalanche, recent data about the level of discrimination on grounds of religion shows clearly the other huge challenge Europe
Hungary expels via fast-track hearings
Hungary's border with Serbia is fortified not only by the newly built barrier but by heavy police and army patrols.
Operation against migrant smuggling
Some 46 individuals were detained for smuggling of people during a large-scale joint operation of the interior ministry, SANS and the Prosecutor’s Office throughout the country, announced Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov at a press conference. The operation aims to fight illegal migration and smuggling schemes in particular, said Tsatsarov. The whole campaign had been carefully planned by his office together with the Minister of Interior Rumiana Bachvarova.
Energy exchange to be launched on 8 December
Teodora Todorova
Bulgaria’s energy exchange will be launched on 8 December, was revealed at the project’s first official presentation on 29 September.
The Syrian trap again
Prof. Mihail Konstantinov
Two years after we first wrote on this topic, our worst fears have come to pass. Now we are compelled to write about it again, hopefully for the last time, although most likely it won’t be. After first sinking into a painful mental stupor and then committing nearly every folly imaginable in response to the migrant tsunami that hit Europe, the world and especially European leaders are starting to exhibit some signs of common sense. We should probably attribute this improvement to them finally realising that if they remain inadequate, the situation could well have direct impact not only on their careers and bank accounts but on their personal safety too.
New Sisyphus
Stavros Dzimas
The government led by Alexis Tsipras set off last Wednesday on a difficult journey to the top of Mount Olympus, pushing a boulder along the way. This boulder is the agreement which Tsipras signed with foreign creditors in July (and later voted in the Greek parliament) in a last attempt to save Greece from banishment from the Eurozone.
Japan, US boost military ties
One of US Navy's most advanced aircraft carriers docked in Japan last Thursday at the start of a deployment that will strengthen the capability of the Seventh Fleet in Asia and boost ties between the US and its closest regional ally, Reuters reported.
Bombs deafen diplomacy
Only a few days after the heavy clash of the official stands of the presidents of the United States and Russia on the solution to the crisis in Syria at the United Nations, the explosion of bombs deafened the voice of diplomacy.
Balkans losing human capital, WB warns
A new World Bank report on the economies of six Balkan countries - Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia, published on 28 September, warns that the region is losing a vital part of its young and educated population and urges governments to take action to deal with the consequences. Economic activity in the six south east European countries (SEE6) is picking up speed, and growth in the region is expected to average 1.8% in 2015, compared to only 0.3% in 2014, the regular biannual report said. It is stimulated by recovery in domestic demand and developments in the global economy.
Volkswagen scandal turns to politicians
In the end, VW will not be the same company it once was, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said last Wednesday, stressing that the crisis, although very serious, did not pose a danger to the country's economy. “We will come out of this crisis stronger. We learn from crises,” he pointed out.
Shell abandons offshore Alaska drilling project
Royal Dutch Shell decided to abandon its Arctic search for oil after failing to find enough crude, news wires reported. The move will appease shareholders who said the project was too expensive and risky. Environmentalists claimed victory and hope Shell leaves the Arctic forever.
Festivals: the heart of Europe
Culture is what brings Europeans together – across geographic, political and economic lines – in good times and in times of division. Many of the European Union’s most popular initiatives are culture-based. Festivals are fast becoming the most popular way to experience culture in Europe, with attendance that has grown drastically over the last decade. Some 250 leading personalities gathered to celebrate the 12 winners of the EFFE Awards 2015-2016, and the art that brings millions of people together each year.
There is too much politics and too little art in today's cinema
Mariana Parvanova
This subject has never died in Russia. When I make films, I don’t follow a fashion. I make a film if I have an interesting story to tell. But with the years I tend to ask myself more often the question what war actually means and what role it plays in our lives.
Artists paint themselves
Lora Rizova
Previously unexhibited self-portraits by contemporary Bulgarian artists have been displayed in the halls of the former National Art Gallery, present-day Sofia Palace, and some of the works represent nudes.
Cloister among sand pyramids
The Rozhen Monastery “Nativity of the Virgin Mary” is the largest cloister in the Bulgarian region of Macedonia in the Pirin Mountains and one of several Medieval Bulgarian sanctuaries preserved in a relatively good condition to this day.
In Brief
Sefcovic: Nord Stream-2 project will hurt eastern Europe
Russia’s Nord Stream-2 pipeline would undermine energy security in eastern Europe, EC Vice President Maros Sefcovic told an energy conference in Sopot, Poland.

Bank of China opens RMB Clearing Centre for Central Europe
Hungarian PM Minister Viktor Orban addresses the opening ceremony of Bank of China`s RMB Clearing Centre in Budapest on 2 October. Photo: EPA

Chopin Music Spot at Warsaw airport
Polish Grammy Award winner, jazz pianist Wlodek Pawlik performs at the Chopin Music Spot, opened on 1 October for over a year in the Warsaw Chopin Airport. Photo: EPA

Ukraine and Syria in focus at Normandy quartet talks
French, German, Russian and Ukrainian leaders gathered in Paris last Friday in an attempt to inject new life into Ukraine's peace process at a time when global attention has been diverted to Syria.  Ukrainian officials expressed fears that by making himself an important player in Syria, Putin is hoping to leverage a better deal on Ukraine -- particularly an easing of painful economic sanctions that were imposed after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula last year. French President Francois Hollande said in early September that he was open to lifting sanctions on Russia if eastern Ukraine gets the elections and greater self-rule promised under the Minsk accords. Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, however, said last week the Syrian and Ukrainian cases could not be linked.

EU-South Korea free trade agreement concluded
The European Council adopted on 1 October 2015 a decision concluding the EU's free trade agreement with South Korea. The agreement, signed in October 2010, provides for the progressive liberalisation of trade in goods and services. It includes rules on trade-related issues such as competition and state aid, intellectual property and public procurement. It is the first of a generation of free trade accords, and is the EU's first trade deal with an Asian country.

Roaming charges across Europe to stop by mid-2017
The Council formally approved last Thursday new rules to end mobile roaming charges in the EU as of mid-2017. The new law will also include the first EU-wide provisions to safeguard open internet access. This Council's position at first reading was adopted without discussion at a meeting of the Competitiveness Council. The Parliament is expected to adopt the text at its plenary session in late October. This will mark the end of the procedure at second reading.

Germany to start returning fake asylum seekers at border
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere wants to turn away migrants at the border if they clearly have no chance of gaining asylum, a regional newspaper reported, citing a draft bill from his ministry. According to Passauer Neue Presse, citing the bill, like at airports, transit zones should be set up at land border crossings so that the asylum process can be carried out before a decision is made on whether migrants can enter Germany or not. De Maiziere also warned migrants who have already arrived, that they must obey rules or risk expulsion. He criticised those migrants who complain on housing or food they get and leave the camps they were put. “Until the summer, the refugees were grateful to be here. Now we are getting a lot of refugees who somehow think they can allocate themselves at will. They leave a camp, order up a taxi, unexpectedly have the cash to travel hundreds of kilometres through Germany. Or they go on strike because they don't like their accommodation,” he told ZDF public television news late Thursday.

Bulgarian climbs Manaslu
Bulgarian Boyan Petrov successfully completed its climb of Manaslu, the eight highest peak in the world at 8,163 metres above sea level, on the morning of 30 September. This was the last unconquered peak in the over-8,000-metres group left on the Bulgarian alpinist’s list.

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