A resounding majority backs the second set of reforms needed to unlock a bailout as PM Tsipras reins in Syriza revolt
Greece's parliament last Thursday approved a second batch of reforms needed to unlock a vital bailout for the stricken economy, news wires reported. The bill passed by a resounding 230 votes out of the 298 members of parliament present, after a marathon debate stretching into the early hours. The legislation covers changes to the civil justice system, a bank deposit protection scheme, and measures to shore up the liquidity of Greece's banks. The tough reform package sparked five hours of fiery debate on Wednesday night, with weary lawmakers clashing on everything from Marxism to submarines, and the speaker of parliament comparing the bailout deal to 'a coup'. Some 6,000 anti-austerity demonstrators protested near parliament before of the debate.
Failure to reach consensus leaves participation in the disputed redistribution plan optional
The European Union failed on 20 July to agree on how to spread 40,000 asylum seekers in Greece and Italy among its members over the next two years, postponing the decision until the end of the year. Instead, home affairs ministers have decided to start the relocation of just over 32,000 people in October. Under the plan, the Commission also wants EU governments to take in 22,500 refugees from their countries of origin, such as Syria or Afghanistan, or in transit, such as those who have flooded into Syria’s neighbour Lebanon.
Political leaders finally arrived at the right decision
After four days of negotiations and deliberations and, at one point, even a threat to dissolve the parliament dropped by the Reformist Bloc (RB), lawmakers finally reached consensus on the proposed constitutional changes on 23 July. The next day the new bill that will change Bulgaria’s principle laws was introduced to the floor of the National Assembly.
Hollande calls for stronger Eurozone
France wants a stronger, more harmonised Eurozone led by “a vanguard of countries,” French President Francois Hollande said in an interview published last Sunday. Commenting on the Greek crisis, “the European spirit prevailed”, he told the weekly Journal du Dimanche, adding that the Union needs more secure Eurozone, a European economic government, and a specific budget to deal with crises in future.
Thinking about SMEs is not enough
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for more than 98% of Europe's businesses and provide more than 67% of private sector jobs in the EU, the backbone of the European economy.
Fake clothes, shoes cause €26bn losses every year
The manufacture and distribution of knockoff clothing takes over €26bn every year from legitimate EU businesses, according to a new study from the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the EU’s intellectual property agency.
Greece seeks to reboot economy, pays to IMF
Greek banks reopened last Monday after a three-week shutdown imposed to stop a run on ATMs from crashing the financial system, news wires reported.
Vacation time - how to avoid unpleasant surprises
At the height of the summer vacation season, the European Parliament’s press office has published a list of the most important things EU citizens should know before they go on vacation in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Resumption of enforced retirement
Employers will now be able to terminate the labour contract of employees who have reached the age of retirement. As of 20 July, companies will have the right to dismiss employees who have reached the age and length of service for retirement.
EU-Iran relations: the way forward
Eldar Mamedov, Amanda Paul
For the past decade the EU made a conscious choice to condition progress in relations with Iran on a single issue: ensuring that the country’s nuclear programme is of an exclusively peaceful nature. Concerns over Iran’s nuclear activities impeded cooperation in virtually any other area where the EU and Iran had common interests'.
Investing in people to invest in the future
Conny Reuter
The slogan of the European Year for Development (EYD), “our world, our future, our dignity”, is clearly designed to emphasise that development cooperation isn’t simply about concern for the less fortunate in certain remote countries. Development is about not excluding anyone, anywhere. This is not only because we live in an interconnected world where, in the words of former Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Juan Somavia, “poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere”, but also because poverty, rising inequalities and insecurity are now matters of global concern. Eradicating poverty and reducing inequality are global challenges that should steer the EU’s action whenever important decisions are taken in the coming months on the new sustainable development goals, including how they will be funded and maintain respect for the environment.
Flexible climate accord sought
A United Nations accord to slow global warming should be short, flexible and long-lasting to avoid complex re-negotiations every few years, according to a document prepared by France before a Paris summit in December. The deal will also have to ensure that governments do not backtrack on promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions, despite a likely lack of sanctions, it said.
Turkey ups border security
Angry anti-government protests last week followed one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Turkey in years. Turkey blocked access to Twitter for several hours on Wednesday to stop calls for mass demonstrations. After Monday's suicide bombing in the south-eastern city of Suruc, which killed 32 and wounded at least 100 others, tensions rose in the country.
Iran woos investors with lucrative deals
Iran outlined last Thursday a plan for rebuilding its industries and trade following the nuclear deal with world powers and the expected lifting of sanctions, news wires reported. Tehran said it was targeting nearly 50 oil and gas projects worth $185 billion by 2020.
Italy to sell off €4bn stake in post office
The Italian government plans to list a 40% stake in the 153 year-old national post office, Poste Italiane, on the Milan Stock Exchange later this year.
Lockheed Martin to buy Sikorsky Aircraft for $9bn
Lockheed Martin Corp., the largest US defense contractor, has agreed to buy military aircraft maker Sikorsky from United Technologies Corp.
Meeting Egyptian priest in Sofia
The "Meeting with an Egyptian Priest" Exhibition, showcasing art pieces provided by the Louvre, opened on 23 July in the Bulgarian capital. It will be available at the Sofia History Museum until 15 September. The museum’s director, Nadezhda Kirova-Yov­che­va, commented at a press conference for the event’s launch that this is a very interesting exhibition. Its main attraction is a statue of the high priest Nakhthorheb from the 26th Egyptian dynasty (664-525 BC).
Books have a special mission
Aglika Georgieva
It is nice here, but I have not seen very much of the place because this is my first visit to Bulgaria and it is only for a day. My schedule is very busy. I have been in contact with my local publisher, Perseus Publishing House, for nearly two years and I could not say no to them. So I managed to find a small window of time to come to Bulgaria for the launch of my first book here.
Becoming one with the divine
Serbian artist Bozidar Plazinic shows his latest works at the Union of Bulgarian Artists Art Gallery in Sofia. His Titled Temple series of paintings offers an interesting combination of contemporary art and old Christian symbols and the themes of the eternal.
Buried church
At the foot of the Rhodope Mountains in the village of Patalenitsa, Pazard­zhik Area, is located one of the most stunning and well-preserved medieval churches in Bulgaria, St. Dimitar.
In Brief
Happy diamond jubilee, dear Irena!
Nobility, strength of character, ambition and great aspirations are just some of the traits of a Leo. And Irena Krasteva, chairperson of the editorial council of New Bulgarian Media Group, is a proud representative of this fiery astrological sign. Nothing is impossible for Irena and her contagious energy, which is clearly reflected in the newspapers she guides: EUROPOST, Telegraph, Monitor, Politika and Meridian Mach.

Dear Irena, on the occasion of your diamond jubilee the team at EUROPOST wishes you that health, strength and good fortune are your constant companions. Stay true to your noble sentiments and undertakings, because nothing is more important in life than the next day and its glorious promise of endless possibilities.  

We congratulate you on the expertise and persistence with which you lead your big media family!

May God always be with you and protect you!

WTO seals landmark tariff-cutting IT deal
World Trade Organization (WTO) member states on 24 July agreed to abolish duties on more than 200 additional technology products, ranging from advanced computer chips to GPS devices. The accord marked the WTO's first tariff-reducing deal in almost two decades. Officials said the updated accord covered products generating $1 trillion (€911 billion) in annual global revenues, equal to the trade in iron, steel, textiles and clothing combined.

New financial support for reforms in Ukraine
Pierre Moscovici, the EU economy commissioner, announced on 22 July that the Commission would disburse €600m in Macro-financial assistance to Ukraine. This is the first installment under the new MFA programme for the country, which amounts to a total of €1.8 bn. At the same time last week, the European Investment Bank (EIB) said it would lend €400m to finance public infrastructure projects in Ukrainian municipalities.

Portugal to hold general elections in October
Portugal will hold general elections on 4 October, President Anibal Cavaco Silva announced last Wednesday, urging politicians from left and right to guarantee stability. “Due to the great challenges that it faces, Portugal is one of the countries in Europe where political stability is most necessary,” he said. All recent opinion polls have indicated a hung parliament, with neither the centre-right government nor the opposition centre-left significantly in the lead.

Three debuts to vie for LUX Prize 2015
Three debut feature films by four young directors will vie for the 2015 LUX Prize awarded by the EP. Reaching the final stage were Mediterranea by Jonas Carpignano, (Italy, United States, Germany, France, Qatar), Mustang by De­niz Gamze Erguven (France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar), and Urok (The Lesson) by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov (Bulgaria, Greece). The three competing films, featuring subtitles in all 24 official EU languages, will tour Europe between October and December.

25th anniversary of German reunification
To mark the 25th anniversary of German reunification, the outlines of the Federal Republic of Germany can be seen with all its 16 states and their major rivers in a maze in Utting, Germany. The giant map was created from a mixture of sunflowers, hemp, corn, and mallow flowers. Photo: EPA

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