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News from Bulgaria / Oct 5, 95

From: bulgaria@access1.digex.net (Embassy of Bulgaria)

Bulgarian Telegraph Agency Directory

EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA, WASHINGTON D.C.

BTA - BULGARIAN TELEGRAPH AGENCY

Oct. 5, 1995


CONTENTS

  • [01] GOVERNMENT DISCUSSES IMPROVEMENT OF TRIPARTITE CCOPERATION

  • [02] P.M. VIDENOV, FOREIGN MINISTER PIRINKSI TO ATTEND A MEETING OF THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE (CEI)

  • [03] FORTHCOMING VISITS IN BULGARIA

  • [04] BULGARIA'S REPLY TO G7 DEMARCHE CALLING FOR THE SHUTTING DOWN OF REACTOR 1 IN KOZLODUI N PLANT

  • [05] JUSTICE MINISTER CHERVENYAKOV ON BULGARIA'S INCLUSION IN VISA LISTS

  • [06] NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAIRMAN SENDOV CONDEMNS ASSAULT AGAINST MACEDONIAN PRSIDENT GLIGOROV [07] BUSINESS PRESS

  • [08] MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT VISITS GERMANY


  • [01] GOVERNMENT DISCUSSES IMPROVEMENT OF TRIPARTITE CCOPERATION

    Sofia, October 4 (BTA) - It is necessary to complete the building of a system of bodies for tripartite cooperation (of employers, trade unions and the Government) on the sector, branch and territorial levels, Doncho Konakchiev, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation (NCTC), said today at the opening of a national meeting on tripartite cooperation. The meeting was held in the framework of an agreement between the social partners signed three months ago on improvement of the work of the NCTC.

    As a national body of what the Council of Ministers believes to be the social partners representative for the country, the NCTC has been operative under different names since March 15, 1990 (with interruptions). The NCTC is considered one of the first achievements of democracy after the collapse of the totalitarian regime in 1989. It discusses all important acts of the Government and Parliament in the economy and the social sphere before they are passed by the respective institutions. The drafts are discussed in NCTC commissions which submit draft statements to the NCTC. This year saw a deepening of the contradictions between the social partners in the NCTC on the social and incomes policy of the Government. The two major trade unions amalgamations - the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CITUB) and the Podkrepa Labour Confederation, demanded that the Government revise its method of calculating the inflation rate and cost-of-living adjustment. In July the CITUB proposed that Social Minister Mincho Koralski resign because of his inability to cope with this problem, according to the trade unions. The third trade union in the NCTC - the Community of Free Trade Union Organizations in Bulgaria, and the employers are more reserved in their attitude to the Government policy. "The outdated legal framework should be amended in order to improve the work of the NCTC but for the time being we should seek to enhance efficiency within the framework of the existing laws, Konakchiev told participants in the meeting. In a brief discussion after hearing the report, representatives of the central departments made recommendations for improving the work of the NCTC. Nikola Koichev, chairman of the parliamentary Labour, Social and Demographic Affairs Committee promised that within the next six weeks Parliament would pass five bills regulating tripartite cooperation in a new way. New national meetings will be held to discuss the raised issues.

    [02] P.M. VIDENOV, FOREIGN MINISTER PIRINKSI TO ATTEND A MEETING OF THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE (CEI)

    Sofia, October 4 (BTA) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski will attend a meeting of the Central European Initiative (CEI) Association Council in Warsaw on Friday and Saturday, said the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry. Bulgaria is associate member of the CEI and aspires to full membership. But is unlikely that the upcoming meeting in Warsaw will grant full membership to Bulgaria, Kosyo Kitipov, chief of Western Europe and North America Department with the Foreign Ministry told journalists. The CEI has yet to adopt rules and procedures for admitting new members. Furthermore, a full membership decision is taken by consensus. This Foreign Ministry official further thanked the Polish government for its efforts for reaching a consensus to that end. Prime Minister Videnov and Foreign Minister Pirinski will use the CEI meeting for bilateral talks. Bulgaria established contacts with the CEI in May 1990 when the then Bulgarian foreign minister sent a letter to the Italian foreign minister in his capacity as CEI chair, expressing interest in principle in participation. In March 1992 Bulgaria was invited as an observer and joined the work of the working groups of interest for it - small and medium-size enterprises, environment protection, transport and telecommunications. Along with Belarus, Romania and Ukraine (and later Albania), in 1994 Bulgaria received associated member status and joined the working groups on agriculture, civil defence, culture, statistics, power engineering, tourism and science and technology. Bulgaria also established parliamentary cooperation with the CEI. Bulgaria's interest in CEI membership is determined by the possibilities it offers both for participation in large regional projects and for integration into the European Union. Another consideration is the possibility for Bulgaria to establish more intensive economic contacts with states like the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, etc. which once used to be among Bulgaria's major economic partners.

    [03] FORTHCOMING VISITS IN BULGARIA

    Sofia, October 4 (BTA) - The Foreign Minister of Slovenia Zoran Taler will visit Bulgaria on October 18 and 19, the Foreign Ministry Spokesman said today. The visit is in return of the visit by the Bulgarian Foreign Minister to Slovenia in March 1994.

    NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes will visit Sofia on October 24 and 25, as part of a tour of the six member countries of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council.

    Mats Hellstroem, a minister without a portfolio in the Swedish Government, will pay a visit here on October 24 and 25.

    [04] BULGARIA'S REPLY TO G7 DEMARCHE CALLING FOR THE SHUTTING DOWN OF REACTOR 1 IN KOZLODUI N PLANT

    Sofia, October 4 (Kiril Vulchev of BTA) - Unit one of the Kozlodoui nuclear power plant is safe according to Bulgaria's only regulatory authority, the Committee for Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy (CPUAE), Deputy Prime Minister Kiril Tsochev told the press here this morning. Earlier today he presented a letter signed by Prime Minister Zhan Videnov to Ambassador Thomas O'Sullivan, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Bulgaria.

    The letter comes in response to a G7 demarche of September 21, insisting that Bulgaria shut down the 440-MW unit one of its nuclear power plant for safety reasons.

    Tsochev said that this afternoon it would be decided whether to restart unit one which was closed down for a scheduled repair early this year. Asked to comment on a press release by the Kozlodoui plant which said on Tuesday evening that permission had been given for the physical restarting of unit one, Tsochev said this was a preparatory step and the unit had not been linked to the national grid.

    Under Bulgarian law, only CPUAE can decide to restart unit one, Tsochev said, adding that the government may support a decision but cannot impose one. A political decision can be taken only in response to the G7 political demarche, Tsochev said.

    Final consultations about the Kozlodoui nuclear power plant are under way with more than 20 representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the deputy prime minister said. He said there are representatives of five Russian institutes and of the Russian designer of the reactor in Bulgaria now. Tsochev said "it was only to be expected" that France and Germany would send lower level experts who "cannot make decisions".

    "We have come under sustained pressure. Yesterday we had a detailed letter from the Canadian foreign minister. This outcry is excessive. Nuclear power plants provide 70 per cent of electricity in France, which has exerted the most pressure. I would advise it against conducting nuclear tests at Mururoa and then finding fault with the Bulgarian nuclear reactor which is completely safe according to experts," Tsochev said.

    The letter presents arguments about Bulgaria's compliance with all international conventions, Tsochev said. He added that Bulgaria is one of the few countries with a Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy Act.

    Asked whether the letter implies that Bulgaria sees the G7 demarche as a political act, Tsochev said Bulgaria's energy interests were defended in the letter.

    "Mr Thomas O'Sullivan hinted that in addition to our reply to the demarche in the form of a letter to the European Commission, they were considering a constructive discussion with the European Union, proposed by them and accepted by me, with a view to helping the power industry as a whole," Tsochev said.

    Deputy Prime Minister Tsochev stressed he would not sign loan agreements under impossible terms for Bulgaria as the ones signed in 1993. "What I have in mind is the clause that units one and two are to be closed down in 1997-1998 unless this poses an obstacle to meeting the country's energy requirements," Tsochev said.

    He admitted that the G7 demarche alluded to the 1993 document. "This is unacceptable because the two reactors' service life expires in the year 2004 or 2005. We have no information now that they must be closed down," Tsochev said.

    He pointed out that if there happened to be information on irregularities in the chemical-spectral analysis of individual reactors or on the unreliability of some system, an early shut-down may be considered.

    "We'll study the response which as far as I can see is measured and well-balanced. We'll be available for further discussions and we'll do our best to be helpful for your energy needs," Ambassador O'Sullivan said after the meeting. He said the Bulgarian government had been giving very serious attention to energy problems.

    Kozlodoui, October 4 (BTA) - Unit One of the Kozlodoui Nuclear Power Plant reached its minimum controllable level of capacity at 7:30 a.m. today after the Committee for Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy (CPUAE) gave the go-ahead for its restarting, the unit's engineer on duty told Deputy Prime Minister Kiril Tsochev, who visited the N-plant this afternoon. The 440-megawatt reactor will be brought on stream by the end of the week.

    Compared to end-1993, Unit One is in better condition after its upgrading recommended by Western experts, the plant's Manager Kozma Kouzmanov told a working meeting today. Over 3,000 points on the shell of the reactor have been photographed in a unique spectrometric study. The phosphorus content, which determines the brittleness of the shell, is lower than in 1989.

    The technical schemes and control systems underwent 92 improvements during the seven-month revamping of Unit One. Over 65 improvements were made in the safety systems alone.

    CPUAE Chairman Yanko Yanev emphasized that the decision to restart Unit One was prompted by a clear, science-based position. Energy Committee Chairman Konstantin Roussinov said tests of the metal shell of the reactor provided sufficient grounds for its restarting. In his view, Unit One can be operated normally until April or May when it will be shut down and templets will be cut out to prove its serviceability. Additional safety systems will be installed while it is off.

    The power plant, the Energy Committee and CPUAE handed Mr Tsochev reports on the full technical readiness and safe operation of Unit One. He ordered the plant's management to report daily to the Council of Ministers, the Energy Committee and the National Electric Company on the state of Unit One and the equipment of the plant. Mr Tsochev said that while no personnel changes would be made in the management, it would be expected to improve its performance.

    [05] JUSTICE MINISTER CHERVENYAKOV ON BULGARIA'S INCLUSION IN VISA LISTS

    Sofia, October 4 (BTA) - "Bulgaria's inclusion in E.U. black list was not dictated by political motives, although it has attained such significance for this country," Minister of Justice Mladen Chervenyakov said today. He pointed out that the EU members consider Bulgaria's non-exclusion from the list a technical problem. The Justice Minister and the Minister of the Interior Lyubomir Nachev attended the meeting of justice and interior ministers of EU states and associate members. "The drawing of the Schengen list began in a situation which was completely different from today's," Mr Chervenyakov said. In his view, "initially the criteria were the stage of political and economic development of a country, which was in favour of Bulgaria whose achievements in reform were recognized; Bulgaria's statute as an associate EU member is another argument in favour of the country's exclusion from the black list, but later additional requirements were introduced." According to Mr Chervenyakov, different treatment has been applied to the various states. The influence of certain countries during the making of the last version of the list, which resulted in the removal of the South African Republic and Zimbabwe, is not to be undervalued either," Mr Chervenyakov said. Minister Chervenyakov pointed out that Bulgaria has been pursuing a consistent policy on the problem of the negative list, one that was supported by several governments, the Parliament and the President. "We shall not seek the privileges, granted by certain clauses, but a comprehensive solution of the problem," Minister Chervenyakov said. He recalled that the Schengen list is to enter into force six months after its publishing, a period during which Bulgaria will go ahead with its initiatives for exclusion from the list. According to Chervenyakov, "the fact that since January, 1996, the decisions for dropping from the list will be taken by a qualified, rather than by simple majority, is also a promising sign."

    [06] NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAIRMAN SENDOV CONDEMNS ASSAULT AGAINST MACEDONIAN PRSIDENT GLIGOROV

    Sofia, October 4 (BTA) - National Assembly Chairman Blagovest Sendov today sent a letter to the Chairman of the Macedonian Parliament Stojan Andov, condemning the assault against Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov. "This terrorist act happens at a time when renewed efforts are underway for the establishment of peace and stability in the Balkans", Sendov wrote. He wished the Macedonian President speedy recovery on behalf of Bulgarian MPs.

    The Executive Committee of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization - Union of Macedonian Societies today condemned the terrorist act against Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov. A declaration of the organization says: "The political timing and the way of carrying out the assault indicates it is the doing and serves the interests of a small group of people in Macedonia nostalgic of former Yugoslavia, and their foreign patrons."

    Minister of the Interior Lyubomir Nachev had a telephone call with his Macedonian counterpart Lyubomir Frckovski in which he expressed sympathy in connection with the consequences from the act of terrorism against Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov. "I voiced Bulgaria's willingness to assist in the clarification of circumstances in which this act of terrorism occurred as well as in the tracking down of the offenders," Minister Nachev told reporters. He also said that the incident had made the Ministry of the Interior tighten controls at the border with neighbouring Macedonia and conduct stricter checks of the vehicles passing through the check-point.

    [07] BUSINESS PRESS

    Sofia, October 4 (BTA) - One million tonnes of bread wheat will be allocated for animal feed, "Troud" writes in its economic columns. Instead of exporting wheat at a good price to buy with the money animal-feed grain of which supplies are insufficient in Bulgaria, the Agriculture Ministry introduced a ban on wheat exports, the daily says. 85% of the sunflower has already been harvested, the daily further says. The Agriculture Ministry will not increase the USD 200 per tonne export fee. Reports say there are plans for promoting exports of cooking oil as a 75-tonne surplus of this commodity is expected this year. "24 Chassa" writes that a 65,000-tonne shortage of maize is expected this year.

    The first "Made in Bulgaria" national exhibition of companies registered in Bulgaria opens on October 27, "Troud" writes. 60-70 companies will participate in an exposition arranged under the motto "Choose The Bulgarian". "24 Chassa" says there will be 100 participating companies.

    A list of insolvent companies drawn up by the Ministry of Agriculture includes 35 agricultural and 25 food processing enterprises, dailies write. A decision on their future will reportedly be taken within two weeks.

    Five months after Bulgarian President Zhelyu Zhelev's visit to South Korea, results are already tangible in some spheres, Sofia- based Korean Ambassador Pil Ju Sung tells the "Continent" daily. Samsung of Korea launched a business with Bulgarian-made steel and products are now being exported to third countries. Negotiations are underway for cooperation in production of cellulose. Samsung is also investigating possibilities for investing in Bulgarian mining; Hyundai is negotiating with Elprom the launch of production of electric transformers. Cooperation negotiations are underway with Balkancar as well. The Ambassador also says that Korea started importing Bulgarian-grown tobacco. According to him, there are more South Korean companies, including Deawoo and Hanhua, interested in investing in this country.

    The rehabilitation of the existing power capacities by the year 2010 will take a total of USD 870 million to 1,600 million, "Douma" writes. Other experts expect investments to that end to reach USD 8,000 million. The funds will go for the launch of a national programme on reduction of sulphur emissions by the year 2010, that is currently being drafted by a working group.

    [08] MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT VISITS GERMANY

    Sofia, October 4 (BTA) - "I am going to call on the German business circles to invest in Bulgaria, explaining the advantages of doing it," Roumen Gechev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development, told BTA before leaving for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The visit is paid at the invitation of Mr Gechev's counterparts in the state. He will have meetings with parliamentarians and businessmen. The topics of discussion will be Bulgaria's economic legislation, the macroeconomic prerequisites for development and the conditions for the participation of foreign companies and businessmen in the privatization process. Mr Gechev will attend the presentation of Bulgaria in Duesseldorf and Hamburg, organized by the German business circles.

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