Archive for February 15, 2009

Netherlands Set to Remain Most Critical EU Country Regarding Bulgaria

Dutch Minister for European Affairs, Frans Timmermans, stated Saturday that The Netherlands is and will remain the most critical EU member state regarding Bulgaria and Romania and about how they are sticking to their respective accession agreements, reported Dutch Nis News.

“We see that the Bulgarians and Romanians have stepped up their efforts, but we continue to consider that insufficient concrete results are being booked, continued pressure is therefore important,” Timmermans said.

The Netherlands continues to demand that the CVM “remains unabatedly in force” for Bulgaria and Romania. “We remain the most critical member state and at the same time, also the most involved member state, because we are unabatedly continuing our efforts to help these countries with the improvement of the constitutional state,” according to Timmermans.

Timmermans continued “For the Dutch government, it is crystal-clear that if more concrete results are not booked by the final reports in June, further measures against both countries will be unavoidable. Here, after all, the credibility of the enlargement is at risk: criteria for membership apply not only before but also after accession, and it is our duty to address other member states about this, just as much as we can be addressed by them about our behaviour.”

He was reacting in his statement to the interim reports published Thursday by the European Commission on the progress of Bulgaria and Romania within the framework of the EU Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM).

New Bulgaria Gas Reserves Expected to Fulfill National Needs

A large deposit of natural gas has been discovered near the Bulgarian village of Deventsi in the Cherven Bryag municipality according to Edward Gendelman, the president of the US company ‘Direct Petroleum’, Darik Radio reported late Saturday.

Gendelman announced that the reserves could fulfill Bulgaria’s total natural gas needs for up to 3 years, with a reserve of up to 6 B cubic meters found under the village.

The newly found gas reserve is at a depth of 4.1 km below the ground and is of a higher quality than the normal reserves found in Bulgaria. It is a high calorie reserve with up to 95% methane.

By the middle of 2010 the exploitation of the deposit is expected to begin and its two drills will be included in Bulgaria’s gas transit system.

Direct Petroleum has so far invested about 50 million U.S. dollars in the drillings. The full inspection of the site will continue over the next year and will include an ecological survey.

Categories: Bulgarian Economy Tags: ,

Sofia Mayor Borisov Reports on Bulgaria Student Town Inspections

Inspections of a total of 79 establishments in the Studentski Grad borough showed mainly a complete lack of control by the municipality and the state, low rents and “incorrect association with private companies,” Bulgarian daily Gradski reported.
Five establishments could not produce any construction documents at all.

“We are both guilty, the state and the municipality,” Sofia mayor Boiko Borissov was quoted as saying at the presentation on February 14.

Among the facilities inspected were casinos, discos and restaurants, and were built on land owned by the university, the municipality, the state as well as private land. The ownership of the land of one property could not be established.

Among the most glaring violations were the bars, constructed against the Zimniya Dvorets (Winter Palace) stadium and the illegal discos held there, Borissov said.

Most prevalent offense among private companies was illegal expansion of facilities.

Municipal companies Municipal Market East and Campus were accused of a lack of control and of having charged low rents. The Campus company had been liquidated in June 2007.
“Campus was a subsidiary of Municipal Market East. Club Amnesia, in front of which 20-year-old student Stoyan Baltov was killed in late 2008, paid 240 euro monthly rent according to a contract with Campus from 2006,” Borissov was quoted as saying.

Borissov said he had ordered a review of rent contracts and an increase in rents.
As an example, he gave the recent rent increase for Pri Kmeta (At the Mayor), which saw its rent go from 4000 to 25 000 leva.

Subletting municipal property would also be prohibited, Borissov said.

Sofia’s chief architect Petar Dikov said some of the problems of Studentski Grad would be solved by the creation of mini-campuses with access only for students. These areas would be free of bars, Dikov said. The proposed changes had already been entered into the new city plan for the borough, which would be subject of a public hearing on February 24 2009.

Student organisation SROKSOS, one of the initiators of recent protest in front of Parliament, said the changes to the city plan would result in the maximum buildup area being used.

The report presented by Borissov would be sent on February 16 to the Directorate for National Construction Supervision (DNCS), after which it would start procedures to remove illegal buildings. Copies of the report would also be sent to the Ministry of Education and Sofia’s Prosecutor’s Office.

Borissov announced a second round of inspections would be helt, this time of retail establishments.

Kosovska Mitrovica

It is difficult to be a Serb in Kosovo now, but it is even more difficult to be a friend of Serbs, Abdi Alija, Chairman of the Municipal Council in Dragas, Southern Kosovo, told BTA Saturday. Dragas is the largest municipality in Kosovo and Metochia where there are about 10,000 Bulgarian-speaking residents, or “Gorani,” as they call themselves. In summer, when the people earning their living elsewhere return, their number increases nearly threefold. “There are no Serbs here and in addition to Bulgarian, only we speak Serbian, the language in which we get out education. There were no Albanians here before but in recent years they keep coming in large numbers and abuse us. At times we suffer violent acts, for instance, bombing of our sweet shops and grill rooms, aimed to drive our people away and take their business.

Categories: The Balkan Tags: ,