The UN General Assembly held the first-ever summit aimed at creating a system for tackling the refugee issue
The hot migration issue was finally put last week under direct UN scrutiny as the General Assembly held the first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants, news wires reported. Separately, the Obama administration and US State Department organised a parallel programme under the name The Leaders' Summit on Refugees. The shared goal of both summits was to focus on the refugee problem and to search for a global answer to it. According to the UN, currently there are more than 65 million displaced people worldwide, while about a third of them could be considered refugees.
Revised draft provides barriers against abuses
The European Commission unveiled last Wednesday a revised draft of the rules needed to avoid abuses of the end of roaming charges. The new proposal scrapped a previously announced limit of 90 days free use a year. “The College discussed a new approach to the fair use principle and agreed that there should be no limits in terms of timing or volume imposed on consumers when using their mobile devices abroad in the EU,” the Commission press service said.
 
Slovak PM Robert Fico opposes to any negotiations that limit the citizens’ rights
The Visegrad Group (V4) of Central European countries is ready to veto any Brexit deal that would limit their citizens' rights to work in Britain, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico told Reuters last Saturday.
 
Widening up anti-terror measures
The EU will for the first time be able to apply sanctions autonomously to Islamic State terrorist organisation, Al Qaida and their associates and supporters, following a strengthening of its legal arsenal in the fight against terrorism, the EU press service reported. Until now sanctions could only be applied to persons and entities listed by the UN or by EU Member States acting individually. The new measures were adopted by the Council last Tuesday. The EU will now be able to impose travel bans on individuals and asset freezes on individuals and entities that are identified as being associated with IS or Al Qaida. This means that all their assets in the EU will be frozen and that EU persons and entities will also be prohibited from making any funds available to listed persons or entities.
More public visibility on who pays what
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Public tax transparency was among the 20 opinions on which the EESC plenary debated and voted during its session on 21 and 22 September in Brussels. Its recommendations are quite timely in the context of the Panama Papers and LuxLeaks exposure, and the revelations of tax dealings of Apple in Ireland.
Migrants flee burnt down Lesbos camp
Thousands of migrants fled last Monday the overcrowded Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos after a fire burned down about 60% of the tents and containers during violence among residents, news wires reported citing police.
Boosting development, regional cooperation
The EU announced last Monday a new assistance package of over €129m to support socio-economic development, job creation and youth empowerment in the Southern Mediterranean, the EU press service reported.
Economic growth is impressive
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will continue to partner Bulgaria in the realisation of projects of strategic importance to the country, including via the Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria (Fund of Funds). This was stated at a meeting between Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and President of the EBRD Suma Chakrabarti held in Sofia on 19 September. Together with Vice-PM Tomislav Donchev and Minister of Finance Vladislav Goranov, the two senior officials discussed Bulgaria’s partnership with the EBRD and opportunities for taking on beneficial projects of mutual interest in the future.
Europe takes notice of Bulgaria
The European Union will grant €160m to Bulgaria for border management and handling of the refugee crisis, announced President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker following the European Council summit in Bratislava on 16 September. The financial assistance is expected to be paid out in two tranches.
Revamping the Union
Maria Koleva
The Bratislava Summit which gathered informally 27 heads of state and government on 16 September, in the absence of the British PM, aimed to exchange hopes, thoughts and ideas on how to revamp the Union and what its future should be after Brexit. The gathering ended up with a declaration, the so called Brati­slava Roadmap, which gave a feeling of some relief from the concerns of deepening of the East-West rupture within the pact. The hosts in the Slovak capital made their utmost to ensure smooth atmosphere inviting all the leaders on a boat for a working lunch and amazing cruise on the Danube.
Why hard Brexit looks very likely
John Springford
Recent data suggests that the Brexit vote will not cause a recession. This, coupled with the fact that British voters rejected two important principles of the EU, makes a single market exit all but certain. Last week, Number 10 repudiated the remarks of David Davis, the Brexit minister, who said that “if a requirement of single market membership is giving up control of our borders, I think that makes it very improbable that the UK will remain in it.”
Putin cements his supremacy
Vladimir Putin cemented his supremacy over Russia's political system, news wires reported, referring to the official results of last weekend parliamentary elections. The ruling United Russia party took three quarters of the seats in parliament, paving the way for Putin to run for a fourth term as president. The results were predictable, the only surprise being the sharp fall in turnout to 48% from 60% in the last election in 2011.
Fighting further buries hopes for Syria truce
The war in Syria rages with new vigor. Syrian rebels and pro-government forces last week battled each other on major frontlines near Aleppo and Hama, and air strikes reportedly killed a dozen people including four medical workers, as the ceasefire appeared to have completely unraveled.
Millions dirty diesel cars run in Europe
All diesel car brands in Europe are even more polluting than Volkswagen, a study made by Transport & Environment (T&E) reveals one year after Dieselgate. T&E, which integrates national non-governmental groups on transport policy in the EU, said it analysed emissions test data from around 230 diesel car models. Data was taken from the investigations conducted by the British, French and German governments, as well as a large public database. The carmakers’ ranking was built with on-road performance figures mostly measured in real world driving.
China's credit binge risks banking crisis
Excessive credit growth in China is signalling an increasing risk of a banking crisis in the next three years, a report from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said.
Deutsche Bank faces up to $14bn fine in US
The US Justice Department asked last Friday Deutsche Bank to pay $14bn to settle a set of high-profile mortgage-securities probes stemming from the financial crisis, news wires reported. The figure is described by people close to the negotiations between Deutsche Bank and the government as preliminary, and they said it came up in discussions between the bank and government lawyers in recent days.
Beigbeder show to launch CineLibri
Irina Gigova
World-renowned author, publicist, director, marketing expert and public figure with scandalous image Frederic Beigbeder is to open the second edition of the world’s first ever film and literature festival CineLibri on 5 October at Hall 1 of the National palace of Culture in Sofia. The unpredictable Frenchman is famed for his stage presence, which is why the hosts of Colibri Publshers expect a show full of surprises during Beigbeder’s first visit to Sofia.
Music is born not from scores, but from human interaction
Irina Gigova
Quite many actually. I continue working with the same musicians I worked with five years ago, and we tour the world together.
Paintings in dialogue with ancient artefacts
It is no coincidence that the ancient Greeks had a mythological muse Clio as patron of history for trying to understand the past is a process rendered more natural and harmonious by art.
Facing the Sun
The unique Thracian sanctuary known as Harman Kaya lies on a plateau that offers a gorgeous vista to the eastern part of the Rhodope Mountains. It is located some 20 km away from the town of Momchilgrad and 30 km off the town of Kardzhali, and has been dedicated almost entirely to the solar cult.
In Brief
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Borisov meets Lenaerts
 
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (2R) met with President of the Court of Justice of the EU Koen Lenaerts (C) during the latter’s visit to Bulgaria on the occasion of the 25th anniversary from the establishment of the country’s Constitutional Court, 21 September. Photo: BTA

Juncker welcomes Kerchove
 
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (L) welcomes EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove (R) ahead of a meeting at the European Commission, in Brussels, 22 September. Photo: EPA

Brussels stands against TTIP, CETA
 
Thousands of people demonstrated last Tuesday in Brussels against the free trade deals that the EU is pursuing with Canada and the US, known as CETA and TTIP. Photo: EPA.

Bahamas leak spotlights on ex-commissioner
 
Links between Brussels and business came under the spotlight again on 21 September as it emerged that Neelie Kroes, ex-commissioner, omitted to declare a directorship in a Bahamas company while she served as Europe's competition enforcer. The disclosure came in a leak of some 1,3m files from the Bahamas corporate registry to Suddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. French Socialist MEPs are now demanding a parliamentary inquiry.

Germany mulls border control extension
 
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said last Wednesday he favoured a six-month extension for border controls which Brussels has authorised until November. “The border controls are in place until mid-November. But if things stay as they are today then I favour an extension," De Maiziere told a news conference. “Of course, it is our goal to lift checks  within the Schengen area but for that to happen, permanent and durable protection of exterior frontiers is indispensable,” he pointed out.

Vestager in transatlantic Citizens' Dialogue
 
European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, took part on 22 September in the first-ever transatlantic Citizens' Dialogue alongside Senator Mario Monti and Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz. The three speakers debated the challenges of democracy in the digital age, the latest developments in competition policy, and the fight against tax avoidance. "Europe is open for business," said Vestager. "It is not open for tax avoidance." The event was at Columbia University.

Right Livelihood Award winners announced
 
Ole von Uexkull, chairman of Right Livelihood, announces the laureates of the 2016 Right Livelihood Award at a press conference in Stockholm. The so-called Alternative Nobel Prize has been awarded to the White Helmets, Syria Civil Defence; Mozn Hassan together with Nazra for Feminist Studies (Egypt); Russian civil rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina and Cumhuriyet newspaper (Turkey). Some 125 candidates vied for the prize of SEK 2m (€315,000) intended for activities of strictly public benefit.

Bulgaria's Independence Day
 
A celebratory change of the guard of honour outside the headquarters of the presidential administration was held on 22 September to mark Bulgaria’s Independence Day. Photo: BGNES 

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