Archive for February, 2019

BGN 5.8 million Have Been Spent by the Bulgarian MFA on Projects Abroad

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spent BGN 5.8 million on the financing of 67 development projects abroad. The biggest aid is for Serbia and Northern Macedonia, BGNES reported.

For comparison, BGN 4.96 million was spent in 2017, BGN 4.6 million in 2016, and BGN 3.5 million in 2015. “The figures undoubtedly testify to a successful increase in the use of these funds” , said the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva.

One of Bulgaria’s most important foreign policy activities in recent years is development cooperation. It contributes to the enhancement of our country’s reputation and visibility, especially in the strategically important regions of the Western Balkans and the Black Sea.

Priorities for 2019

In 2019, Bulgaria will finance 41 bilateral projects worth a total of BGN 3.1 million, targeting northern Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo.

For the Eastern Partnership countries – Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia – funds amounting to a total of BGN 1.4 million are foreseen.

In 2019 and 2020 Bulgaria will make a voluntary contribution of BGN 390,000 for the Economic Stability Initiative of the European Economic Bank. This initiative will increase the Bulgarian role in addressing the problems of migration flows in the Western Balkans, which was one of the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council.

 

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WWF: Population of White Bears Sharply Decreases

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

To date, the population of white bears is between 22 and 31 thousand, with 60% of them on Canadian territory.

The World Wildlife Fund warns that if global warming continues to spread at such a rate, the polar bears will drop by 30% over the next 35 years.

Just two weeks ago in Russia, about 52 white bears attacked a city on the New Earth archipelago. The reason: they were looking for food.

Last summer a white bear was killed in the Norwegian island of Svalbard after attacking tourists in an attempt to get to the food they wore.

These are just two of the many examples of the effects of global warming, which completely changes the habitat of polar bears.

Climate change is causing a conflict between humans and predators, warns WWF. The organization also reminds us that there are still ways to achieve harmony between man and wildlife.

In 2006, it was the first time polar bears approached too much to a settlement on the Chukotka peninsula in Russia. Since then, the most important goal is without hurting animals to move as far as possible so that people are safe.

There are similar cases not only in Russia, but also in Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

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Higher oil and gas prices lift Repsol earnings

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Energy company Engie to exit 20 countries and back renewables

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

French group punished by Belgian unit but plans to invest billions over three years

Fruits & Vegetables in Bulgaria on the Rise

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

With nearly 250 billion euro per year, the growing consumption of fruits and vegetables brings many opportunities and impetus for changes around the entire world. Expected to continue rising, the trend is mainly based on the non-traditional foods like nuts and berries. The international trade of only avocados and blueberries has been grown fivefold over the past 10 years. The production of plumps, cherries, nuts raises to record high numbers in Bulgaria, with a large potential for export and Dutch-Bulgarian cooperation in various fields: production & trade, transfer of knowledge and share of experience and technologies.

These were the highlight of the second edition of InteliFresh – 2019 that brought together on 22 February in Plovdiv (south Bulgaria) Bulgarian vegetable and fruit growers, large supermarkets, processors, local retailers and foreign dealers, as well as suppliers of equipment and technologies of the chain “from the garden to the shop”. Global trends of the vegetable and fruit markets, export opportunities for the Romanian market, international quality certification and funding new veggie and fruit endeavours, as well as news technologies for plant protection, procession and storage were in the forum’s agenda.

The talks and the B2B meetings were sparkled with the opening discussion about the trade through the new modern channels, with the special participation of METRO Bulgaria, Kaufland Bulgaria and BILLA Bulgaria. In 2018, the three large supermarket chains experience an increase of sales of Bulgarian fruits and vegetables with nearly 50 %. Since 2012 they have first-hand experience about growing interest of Bulgarian consumers in local, healthy, new and organic produce.

Bulgaria has a potential in the export of melons, which is an appealing niche at the West European fruit market, said Reinoud Nuijten from CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries) in his presentation “Export opportunities for fruits and vegetables on the EU markets”. Nikolay Valkanov from InteliAgro put the stress on cultivated blueberries, with their high export potential for Bulgarian producers. In a couple of months. InteliAgro will organize a blueberries share-of-experience meeting between Bulgarian producers, seedlings dealers and Dutch companies, including a trip to Serbia.

Inge Ribbens from the Netherland’s Fresh Produce Centre presented of the story of success of the Dutch approach in the international supply of fruit and vegetables. One of the key factors of the Dutch agriculture, which could be a beneficial lesson for Bulgarian producers is the setting-up of organizations, as more than 80% of all farms are united in producers’ organizations, with 12 in the field of fruits and vegetables.

Among the business speakers were the representatives of the Dutch company Aweta on modern AGF packing and sorting technologies and the Dutch-based Tradin Organic on the organic fruits and seed market opportunities.

More than 250 participants attended the event, which is an increase of 25% compared to the first edition in 2018. B2B sessions provided an excellent platform for networking and liaising growers, dealers and partners of the chain “from the garden to the plate”, with opportunities for concrete deals and signing contracts.

InteliFresh 2019: from the garden to the shelf was organized by InteliAgro in partnerships with the Embassy of the Netherlands in Bulgaria, DSK Bank, ЕuroFert, METRO, Kaufland Bulgaria and Billa Bulgaria. The event enjoys a huge media interest, with several media – Bloomberg TV Bulgaria, Agro TV, AgroCompass news magazine, Balgarski Fermer weekly and AgroNovinite, Fermer, Sinor and AgroPlovdiv agri news outlets – as committed media partners.

Source: Fresh Plaza

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Bulgaria Becoming no Longer Competitive Outside the EU on the Grain Market

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

According to UkrAgroConsult’s estimates, Bulgaria’s harvest of major grains dropped by 5% this season. Consequently, a downturn is observed in grain supplies from the country.

The most substantial decline is in Bulgarian barley exports. In July-November 2018/19, they were down 42% year-on-year.

The wheat market also witnesses a slowdown in exports due to a harvest decline (-12%). Bulgaria exported 15% less wheat in July-November 2018/19 from last season’s record of 3 MMT. 97% of all the wheat exported in the reporting period went to EU countries, whereas their export share normally varies within 60-80%.

The grain harvest decline in the EU and its growing needs for imports make export shipments outside the European Union unattractive to Bulgaria, report UkrAgroConsult’s analysts.

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Four Property Fraudsters Arrested in Sofia

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

A group of four property fraudsters was detained in Sofia on 27th of February. According to the investigators, the arrested have committed frauds with 23 properties in the capital city of Sofia. Their victims were lonely elderly people, as well as people with mental health issues. The group also includes a former notary public who had been deprived of his rights for involvement in such crimes in 2009, reports BNT. 

The investigation on the group started a year ago following an alert filed to the police in Sofia by an heir of an elderly person, who was a victim to a property fraud. The police initiated investigative actions and identified that the group consisted of four people, including former notary Boris Yankov, who was the legal advisor of the group.

The former notary Yankov prepared the schemes under which the property of the victims can be acquired legally.

In most cases, the vicitms did not receive anything.

Georgi Hadzhiev, Director of SDRD: In some cases we are talking about property benefit, for example, provision of a TV or refrigerator in very minimal size. In some of the transactions, witnesses had been prepared to take part in the notarial proceedings to confirm to the Notary that the owner of the property has been in possession of it for more than 10 years.

In addition to adverse prossesion, properties were also stolen though forged documents or documents signed by the victim through coercion or deception.

Vania Hristeva, Prosecutor: Including signing blank documents, which the victims were deceived to consider that they were powers of attorney before different institutions, social assistance, etc. Such documents actually authorized other people to represent them before Notaries.

There are currently no existing Notaries to participate in the scheme. Theft of 9 properties has been prevented as investigators have tracked down the preparations for fraud and have warned potential victims not to sign the documents.

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Mayor of Sofia: 8 Metro Stations from the Third Line to be Ready by the End of the Year

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

We expect 8 metro stations, 8 km from the third underground line, to be ready by the end of the year, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova told bTV.

“Today, the tunnel boring machine will complete its work, we expect this to happen by noon. That means that we are almost at the finish line, 88% of the first stage of the metro is ready. The machine has dug a 7 km two-way tunnel from Krasno selo to Little City Theatre Off The Channel,” she explained. “We expect 8 metro stations, 8 km from the third line, to be ready by the end of the year. The second stage, 4 km from Ovcha kupel, to the Gorna Banya Ring Road, should be ready by the middle of next year,” Fandakova said. She further said that the third underground line is a very complicated and difficult project but also the most important one for the city. “We are building very fast, we have built 30 km out of a total of 40 in 10 years, and now we are going to launch 12 km, which are being built separately,” said the mayor, adding that the municipality has planned 16 larger projects for this year.

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Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court Declares Provisions of Judicial System Act Unconstitutional

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

The Constitutional Court of Bulgaria has declared provisions of the Judicial System Act unconstitutional, said the President of the National Assembly, Tsveta Karayancheva, Focus News Agency reports. The repealed provision stipulated that judges should be removed from office if they were charged with a crime committed in the exercise of their judicial functions. The copy of the decision by the Constitutional Court dated 21 February 2019 was received at the National Assembly on 25 February 2019. The ruling was made on a request by the Supreme Court of Cassation, Karayancheva explained.

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Bulgarian was Convicted in Hungary in the Case of 71 Dead Migrants in a Truck

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Bulgarian was convicted in Hungary of four years and eight months in prison for human trafficking in connection with the deaths of 71 migrants in the trunk of a truck in August 2015, Hungarian MIT agency reports.
 
Illegal migrants, including eight women and four children, suffocated in the truck and were found dead on a motorway in Austria near Parndorf.

The name of the 39-year-old Bulgarian is not reported, as is the practice of the Hungarian courts. Although not directly involved in the case in Parndorf, he was convicted of recruiting two of the main indictees in the case as human traffickers. So he has become an accomplice to organized trafficking of people, luring at least six traffickers, says MTI.
 
The verdict is final because neither the prosecutors nor the defendants have protested it.

Reuters reminds that last year the same court sentenced three Bulgarians and an Afghan to 25 years in prison for the same suit, but their sentences are not final because they are still expected to be appealed.

 
The migrants were among the hundreds of thousands of the massive migration wave from the Middle East, Asia and Africa across the Balkans to Western Europe in 2015, Reuters added.

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