"Bulgaria has every reason to apply for full EU membership," believes Mr. Nikolaos Papakyriazis MEP (Group of the Party of European Socialists, Greece), Co-Chairman of the newly established EU-Bulgaria Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). "European Bulgaria should formally become EU member, this is the only way to complete the process of European unification," Mr. Papakyriazis said, speaking at a news conference after the end of the JPC's first session (September 6 - 8). The purpose of the session was to work for the preparation and in support of the efforts towards Bulgaria's accession to the EU, said the Committee's other Co-Chairman, Mr. Nikolai Kamov MP of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Foreign Policy. At the end of its session, the Committee adopted by a unanimous vote (as the co-chairmen stressed) a joint declaration and 16 recommendations to the European Parliament and the Bulgarian National Assembly. The declaration says that the Joint Parliamentary Committee acknowledges the great progress which Bulgaria has made in recent years in the area of reform and notes with satisfaction the broad consensus of political forces in the country in favor of Bulgaria's accession to the EU. The recommendations concern mainly an acceleration of economic reform in Bulgaria and the need to bring Bulgarian legislation into line with European standards. Other noteworthy recommendations include the need to expand relations at the ministerial level, to ensure more efficient cooperation in justice and internal affairs, to provide financial and technical assistance in the process of approximation of Bulgarian to Community law, to implement investment projects, and to ease the access of Bulgarian goods to European markets. Bulgaria attaches particular importance to the recommendation that the European Parliament pass a special resolution on visa policy and take action to ensure the equal treatment of all citizens of the associated countries. Mr. Papakyriazis expressed the hope that "the matter will be raised with the EU sufficiently soon." "The Schengen Agreement is not under the European Parliament's control, but we are interested in the elimination of the unacceptable discrimination to the prejudice of Bulgaria, and we believe that this injustice must be eliminated," he indicated. "In respect of the political reform in Bulgaria there are no claims at all, and this country was found to be ready for full membership in the EU," Mr. Kamov said. The Committee will be a permanently operating body. It will hold regular sessions twice a year. The next session is scheduled to take place in Brussels in February 1996.
A Bulgarian delegation to Slovakia led by the Chief of the General Staff of the Bulgarian army Colonel General Tsvetan Totomirov agreed in principle to expand contacts between the military academies of Bulgaria and Slovakia and cooperate in military equipment maintenance and the supply of spare parts. The delegation paid a three-day visit, at the invitation of the Slovak Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces Josef Tuchyna, under a plan for cooperation between the ministries of defense of Bulgaria and Slovakia. The delegation completed all its goals, Totomirov said at Sofia Airport yesterday. An agreement signed between the ministries of defense in Bratislava last June serves as a basis for annual plans for cooperation in 18 fields: defense doctrines, reform, military economic activity, research, legislative initiatives, personnel training, health and recreation activities, action in case of disasters and accidents, etc. During the visit, the sides agreed in principle on the exchange of experience between the General Staffs in tactics art, territorial defense and personnel training. They will exchange cadets and officers, General Staff sources told "Daily News". A preliminary agreement was reached on interaction in information logistics. A cooperation plan will be developed for 1996, to be approved by Defense Minister Dimiter Pavlov. The sides expressed almost identical views on the reforms in the two armies, a member of the delegation told "Daily News". Although in the post-Warsaw Pact period Bulgaria and Slovakia started to cooperate actively only this year, cooperation was practice-oriented from the very start, focusing on the most important military spheres, General Totomirov told "Daily News" during the preparation for the visit. Bulgaria and Slovakia have shared interests in the repair of aircraft, in the exchange of expertise and in pilots' training, General Totomirov also told "Daily News". During an air show organized by the hosts, he was impressed by the capacity of the Albatros aircraft used by the Slovak army. "We also have a desire and potential to develop our cooperation within the framework of the Partnership for Peace plan, and address a number of problems including operative compatibility, compatibility of the information and signaling systems and harmonizing our standards with those of NATO," General Totomirov also told "Daily News".
At the invitation of the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Macedonia Vlado Popovski, the Bulgarian Minister of Justice Mladen Chervenyakov will pay an official visit to Macedonia from September 10 through 12, 1995, the Bulgarian Justice Ministry said in a press release. Mr. Chervenyakov is scheduled to confer with his Macedonian counterpart, with Interior Minister Ljubomir Frckovski and Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski on aspects of legal cooperation and other matters of shared interest for the two countries, the press release says.
The Rodacar joint stock company for the manufacture of Maestro car was officially opened here today. The company is a joint venture between the British Rover Group and the Bulgarian Daru Group, which hold, respectively, 51 per cent and 41 per cent interest. The opening ceremony was attended by President Dr. Zhelyu Zhelev, Deputy Prime Minister Roumen Gechev, British Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, Rover Group managers, members of the diplomatic corps in Sofia. President Zhelev and Lord Carmyllie opened a memorial plaque. The ribbon cut, the first Maestro manufactured here, rolled off the plant's lines. Earlier today the company signed an agreement for a loan from Bank Austria. The loan of 7.5 million pound sterlings will be utilized over the next two years. Philip Burley, Deputy Director General of Rodacar, said that the loan will be used to support the company and to ensure smooth progress to the next phase of its development. He said that the loan also serves to prove Britain's long term business intentions in Bulgaria. Jeff Dunkanson of the London branch of Bank Austria said that this is the first of a series of the bank's loans in support of Bulgaria's private sector and that the bank is convinced it marks the beginning of long lasting relations with Rodacar. A British-Bulgarian agreement on mutual insurance of investments is being worked out, Lord Fraser told reporters in Varna today. He said that details are being particularized and that in his view the agreement will be signed during the forthcoming visit of Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski to London in December. Lord Fraser assessed the agreement as a manifestation of British investors's interest in Bulgaria and as a step in encouraging Bulgaria's government to create conditions for foreign investments.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Kiril Tsochev received Jean Trestour, Director of Directorate-General I (External Relations) of the European Commission in charge of the region of Eastern Europe. The two officials discussed issues of the progress of Bulgaria's integration with the European Union. In the context of the structural adjustments they also considered some aspects of cooperation under PHARE. They emphasized the importance of PHARE as a key instrument in the integration processes, the Government's press office said. The two parties shared their positive stands on Bulgaria's activity for acceleration of the integration processes and the steps, which European partners have taken to that end. At the end of the meeting Kiril Tsochev and Jean Trestour restated their confidence in the success of Bulgaria's integration in the European Community.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Zhan Videnov will pay a one-day visit to Brno, the Czech Republic, on September 11, the Government Press Office said. Mr. Videnov will take part in a meeting of the heads of government of the Central European Free Trade Association (CEFTA). The prime ministers are scheduled to attend the formal opening of the Brno Fair and to give a joint news conference.
According to data of the National Statistical Institute, August 1995 inflation was 0.5 per cent. Compared with July figures, consumer prices of foodstuffs went down 0.5 per cent, prices of non-foods added up by 1.5 per cent and these of services - by 0.9 per cent.
Since the beginning of the year consumer prices have raised 17.6 per cent, as the increase in the separate commodity and services groups ranged from 6.6 per cent with foods to 37.5 per cent with tobacco products.
Among foodstuffs most tangible was the increase of the prices of eggs - 34 per cent, vinegar - 10.8 per cent, cheese 6.2 per cent, milk - 4.4 per cent and pork - 4 per cent. In the period under review sharpest was the drop of prices of fruit and vegetables.
September 10 - Atanas Kaloudov is the new Executive Director of the International Fair in Plovdiv (South Central Bulgaria). Mr. Kaloudov is a qualified engineer, he has worked at the ordnance works in Sopot, at the Record Engine-Powered Plant and, recently, in a private company for design and assembly of water treatment plant.
The Lead and Zinc Works near Kurdjali (Southeastern Bulgaria), which was established 40 years ago, declared 250 million leva gross profit for 1994. This year the Works will produce 27,600 t of zinc and 33,000 t of lead. The company is forced to seek loans abroad for lack of Bulgarian investment, said its Managing Director Roussi Dafinov. It recently put into operation new waste-treatment plant, entirely Bulgarian-designed. A state-of-the-art electric furnace for processing of lead slag will be equipped shortly. The Works employs 1,620 and exports almost all its output.
The Governing Board of the National Bank of Bulgaria has authorized the amalgamation of Commercial Bank Biochim, the Serdika Commercial Bank and Sofia Bank into a Biochim Inc. commercial bank with a registered Sofia in Sofia. The central bank management has licensed the Biochim commercial bank to effect all types of domestic and international banking transactions under the Banks and Lending Act.
The cement mill of Beli Izvor (North Central Bulgaria) has produced 588,000 t of cement and clinkerite between January and August, as much as throughout last year. The mill has a guaranteed market for all its output, which is exported to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain. The annual income is estimated at 1,600 million leva.
Russian industrial goods manufactured by Moscow-based enterprises will be displayed at a major exhibition at Grand Hotel Varna (in the Black Sea resort of Sveti Konstantin) in early October. The exhibits meet with a ready market in Bulgaria: the latest ZIL and Moskvich cars, refrigerators, TV sets, washing machines etc.
The international road between the bridge over the River Danube at Rousse and Veliko Turnovo (North Central Bulgaria) will be entirely overhauled by 1999 to meet the current European standards. The first-stage construction is to be completed in 1996- 1997, at the cost of some 3 million leva per kilometer. The four- year project will be co-financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the public purse.