External financing agreement reached
In one of the major achievements for the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council, the Permanent Representatives Committee endorsed last Tuesday an agreement with the Parliament on seven legislative acts setting the rules for some €51bn in EU development aid, assistance to pre-accession and neighbouring countries, strategic partners and tools for promoting human rights and responding to crises in the financial period of 2014-2020.
Growth in Europe? Mission possible
After holding in October its first-of-the-kind event at the royal Vrana Palace near Sofia, the Vrana Economic Council initiative, under the auspices of H.M. King Simeon II (who served as Bulgaria’s prime minister from 2001 to 2005) and the European Liberal Forum, went on to debate on the EU’s future and EU economic competitiveness recovery at the top of the Canary Wharf skyscraper at the heart of London.
Uneven pace towards EU
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Six Western Balkan countries - Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Kosovo have one dream.
European elections 2014 website launched
Maria Koleva, Brussels
EU citizens have received another important instrument to help them for their informed choice at the upcoming May 2014 vote when will be directly elected the next 751 MEPs.
All power producers face charges
Wind and solar energy producers are to pay a 20% charge. An amendment to that end was adopted by Parliament during the 5 December vote on the government budget. The new tax is expected to channel some BGN 160m to the coffers. A fee on preferential prices will be introduced for all electric power producers through urgent amendments to energy and renewables legislation. This will broaden the scope to include nuclear, coal-fired, hydroelectric and all other green power plants. "The changes are needed to mitigate an energy system imbalance the former government allowed," the energy committee chair, Ramadan Atalay, said in plenary. The money collected from charges will be spent on investment and programmes in the energy industry.
Inventor of the year and his million-dollar machines
Twenty percent of the world's laminated tubes used as packaging for cosmetics, toothpaste or paint are made in Bulgaria. Incredible as it may sound, it is true, and has been so for a long time now. Fifteen years ago, Engineer Miroslav Hinkov found an untapped business niche worth millions and turned Gabrovo into a mechanical engineering hub.
Syria's children shocking tragedy
Angelina Jolie, Antonio Guterres
Over 1.1 million Syrian children have registered as refugees with UNHCR worldwide. Of this number, some 75% are under the age of 12. Children represent 52% of the total Syrian refugee population, which now exceeds 2.2 million. The majority live in Syria's neighbouring countries, with Jordan and Lebanon combined hosting more than 60% of all Syrian refugee children. As of 31 October 2013, 291,238 Syrian refugee children were living in Jordan, and 385,007 in Lebanon.
Europe needs new migration policy
H.M. King Simeon II
The hysteria we are seeing in some British and French media over a dreaded influx of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants once labour market restrictions for the two Balkan nations are lifted in January is rooted in speculation and random conjectures.
Egypt new charter raises questions
Egypt's new draft constitution, handed to the interim President, Adly Mansour, by a 50-member constituent assembly, has raised doubts as to whether political change in Egypt would stay on track. The draft seems to empower citizens with important new rights, criminalizing torture and human trafficking and requiring state protection for women and children. But at the same time, the new charter could strengthen military and police power.
Ukraine: Little more than Orange Revolution echo
Many Ukrainians hope for a rerun of the 2004-2005Orange Revolution but the only thing the two situations have in common are the thousands of people taking to the streets and the international outcry at the government's crackdown on protesters.
EU imposes duties on Chinese solars
The EU imposed last week anti-dumping measures on some Chinese solar panels, news wires reported. The step came in response to what the bloc said were unfair trade practices, including illegal state subsidies. The two-year measures enter into force on 6 December and will apply to those panels produced by Chinese manufacturers who rejected a deal, reached in July, to diffuse a brewing trade war, the Commission announced. According to the settlement, Chinese exporters agreed to a minimum price to provide a floor to the market.
Landmark deal ready for WTO approval
Ministers from 159 member countries of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) were, on the final day of negotiations in Bali, on track to bridge the rift over food subsidies and make a landmark trade deal that would save the trade body from sliding into irrelevance after 12 years of fruitless negotiations.
Hilton seeks $2.4bn in biggest hotel IPO
Hilton Worldwide, bought by Blackstone Group in 2007, plans to raise as much as $2.4bn in its US initial public offering, the most ever for a hotel company, Bloomberg has reported.
Embroidered balls tell colourful tales
Ralitsa Koeva studied industrial design in Varna, but her heart and soul have always been with Japan and the ancient art of temari - balls that started out as toys the Japanese used to make of pieces from old kimonos filled with rice husks or bells to make pleasant sounds when children play with them.
Only words save big events from oblivion
Aglika Georgieva, Novinar Daily
The elusive logic you are referring to can be found in the tragic fact that little record of events has been kept throughout Bulgaria's history.
Unknown Sirak Skitnik
Assembling a hundred and twenty works by Sirak Skitnik, a major exhibition commemorating the 130th anniversary of the artist's birth has opened at the Sofia Art Gallery. The jubilee show features signature pieces as well as less familiar works.
Stronghold of faith living through centuries
Chiprovtsi Monastery, dedicated to St. John of Rila, was a paramount Bulgarian religious and cultural centre promoting spirituality and enlightenment pursuits.