Market benchmark rules finally approved
The European Council on 17 May adopted new rules aimed at ensuring greater accuracy and integrity of benchmarks in financial instruments. The regulation sets out to restore trust in indices used as financial benchmarks, following manipulation scandals in recent years.
Reforming weighty professions statute
Maria Koleva, Brussels
A conference organised by the European Commission in Brussels, titled Reforming regulation of professions, took stock of the work Member States have performed during the last two years with regard to the review of their national regulation and the reform they proposed addressing disproportionate rules, and also outlined the way forward. National authorities, professional organisations and academia were among the participants at the forum.
Cars will 'talk' to each other and make driving safer
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The opportunities of having connected cars on the European roads and the challenges lying ahead with respect to consumers, businesses and public authorities was the central topic of a vibrant conference organised in Brussels on 17 May by Forum Europe.
New tobacco rules become mandatory
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The new 'scaring' layout of cigarette packs offered in the European market, which shows photo and text health warnings covering 65% of the front and the back sides and the top, is obligatory as of 20 May. This is the term when the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive should be transposed in the national legislation of the Member States.
EC supports efforts to reform judicial system
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The progress of Bulgaria’s judicial reform was the focus of discussions during a meeting Vice-PM Rumiana Bachvarova, Minister of Justice Ekaterina Zaharieva and Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov had with Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission, and European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova in Brussels on 18 May. The visit was part of regular conferences to discuss measures addressing Commission’s recommendations within the framework of the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification.
New prospects for Bulgaria, Belgium business outlined
Belgian firms, potential new investors in Bulgaria, became acquainted with the opportunities the country is offering during a Bulgarian-Belgian business forum held on 17 May by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce of Antwerpen-Waasland (VOKA).
Reforming asylum system
One thing the EU doesn't need right now in its fragile post-Turkey deal, pre-UK referendum state is another row about handling the refugee crisis. Political leaders are jittery enough about whether the lower numbers of refugee arrivals since the first quarter of 2016 will hold through the warmer summer months, or whether the Adriatic route via Libya will become the next crisis point. The resignation of Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu, and the stormy rumblings from key EU capitals and the European Parliament on the visa liberalisation issue have further jeopardised hopes that March's EU-Turkey bargain on returns and resettlement will continue to run smoothly.
Europe seems to be in a referendum frenzy these days. In early May, the Hungarian government confirmed its decision to hold a referendum on the European Commission's plan to distribute asylum seekers among Member States. In April, Dutch citizens voted against the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine. In June, the UK will hold a crucial vote on whether to leave the EU altogether. The three votes have a common denominator: EU citizens are essentially being asked to decide on issues connected to the process of Continental integration.
Macedonia court halts June vote
The Constitutional Court of Macedonia has provisionally suspended all preparations for the snap election due on 5 June in the midst of the dire political crisis in the country. All nine judges ruled the dissolution of parliament unconstitutional, which means that the votes now have to stop, local media report. The step follows the junior ruling party Democratic Union for Integration (DUI)'s move to refer to the top court to contest the legitimacy of a decision to dissolve the country's National Assembly. Parliament speaker Trajko Veljanoski is now expected to call a parliament session to postpone the elections.
UN arms embargo on Libya cracks to counter jihadists
Two international meetings last week in Vienna were dedicated to diplomatic efforts to solve the acute problems of the Libyan and Syrian crises. US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Monday that the world powers are ready to consider demands from Libya's new unity government for exemptions from a UN arms embargo and to militarily equip it in its fight against the IS and other groups.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) was held on 17 May in Thessaloniki, Greece, in the presence such high-ranking officials as Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, Azerbaijan's Minister of Energy Natig Aliyev, as well as the representatives of the project shareholder companies. Its shareholders are BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam S.p.A (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagas (16%) and Axpo (5%).
Oil prices surge over reported supply deficit
Oil prices jumped over 2% last Monday after Goldman Sachs said the market had ended almost two years of oversupply and flipped to a deficit, news wires reported. Growing Nigerian oil output disruptions have accelerated the deficit.
Norway sovereign-wealth fund to sue Volkswagen
Norway oil fund, which is worth $850bn and has stakes in more than 9,000 companies, will file class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen over emissions scandal in the near future, business media reported.
Magic of embroidery
The restoration of the Bulgarian intellectual elite following the national liberation was a long process. Then, what little there was of it was crushed and exiled when the communists took power in 1945. The left fist fell on the country’s leaders, including an exceptional woman and scientist, Evdokia Peteva-Filova, an ethnographer of European rank and the wife of then Prime Minister Bogdan Filov.
I love opening history's curtains
The royal treasure had indeed disappeared from the medieval Bulgarian capital of Tarnovo and its whereabouts remain unknown to this day. What we know is that it had been stolen by King Ivan Asen III (grandson of King Ivan Asen II) upon his abdication and had been carried away to Constantinople.
Plethora of stars shines in Norma
A plethora of stars will be featured in the latest master production of the Sofia Opera and Ballet, Norma by Bellini, including tremendous artists from Bulgaria and Italy.
Dancing barefoot on burning embers
If you happen to visit Bulgaria in summertime, you'd see in many of the seaside resorts a show of young people clad in white robes or traditional costumes, dancing on burning embers.