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News from Bulgaria / Oct 26, 95

From: (Embassy of Bulgaria)

Bulgarian Telegraph Agency Directory














    Sofia, October 25 (BTA) - The signing of a declaration by the presidents of four Balkan countries on a future transport corridor through their territory to Italy is a major success for Bulgaria, President Zhelyu Zhelev said today upon his return from New York. He attended the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the UN. Three days ago the heads of state of Bulgaria, Turkey, Albania and Macedonia signed a joint declaration on building a transport corridor as part of an East-West transport project. This scheme was backed by US President Bill Clinton, with whom Zhelev met in early 1995; the US then committed financial support to the amount of $30 million, Zhelev recalled today. The fifth signature under the declaration should have been that of Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, who did not arrive in New York due to domestic problems, Zhelev specified. The project received a blessing from European Commissioner Hans van den Broek, who was present at the signing ceremony.

    The Bulgarian President described the idea of building the transport corridor as very important for Bulgaria. Bulgaria is entitled to joining in, thanks to its location, he stressed. As no political force has expressed reservations to such an initiative, Zhelev believes that it enjoys a consensus.

    The presence of many state and public figures at the UN anniversary shows that the world organization has its place and is not redundant, as some believe, Zhelev also said.


    Sofia, October 25 (BTA) - Speaking at a news conference here today, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski confirmed that infrastructure projects for Southeastern Europe, involving Bulgaria have been under discussion since last spring. The projects the Bulgarian government has considered refer to three major corridors: Corridor 4 linking Bulgaria with Central Europe and crossing Romania, Bulgaria and Northern Greece; Corridor 9 linking Bulgaria with the Baltic region and passing through Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria, and ending at the eastern section of the Mediterranean; and Corridor 8 linking the Adriatic and the Black Sea, said Pirinski.

    Yet he said the various guidelines of infrastructure development should be synchronized, viewed as interrelated, and developed in parallel. Special preference to a single orientation, and a country's commitment to a single orientation on the presidential level, create possibilities for speculation, Pirinski said.

    For this reason I find it hard to understand that a commitment on such a major international project is treated as a presidential prerogative, the Foreign minister said.


    Sofia, October 25 (BTA) - At their meeting today Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and Swedish Minister of European Union Affairs, Foreign Trade and Nordic Cooperation Mats Hellstroem, praised the achieved economic contacts and the readiness to promote trade and economic relations between the two countries which cannot be described as satisfactory. Mr Hellstroem arrived here yesterday on an official visit. He is accompanied by businessmen of large Swedish companies. At his meeting with Prime Minister Videnov, Mr Hellstroem expressed the interest shown by the businessmen in cooperation which will improve depending on the concrete dimensions of the structural reform and the investment processes in Bulgaria, Mr Hellstroem said. Bulgaria's integration into the European Union and Sweden's wish, as a newly accepted member, to share its experience were also discussed, Government spokesman Nikola Baltov told BTA. Considerable attention was paid to the possibilities for Bulgaria's participation in the post-war reconstruction of the former Yugoslavia and to the role of infrastructure projects for stability in the Balkans. Sweden confirmed its readiness to take part in a seminar in Sofia in November on the role of Transeuropean infrastructure for stability and cooperation in the Black Sea region. Mr Hellstroem and the delegation headed by him also met today with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Kiril Tsochev. During the talks the guests expressed the opinion that Bulgaria stands great chances both as regards European integration and the development of bilateral relations with Sweden, Deputy Prime Minister Tsochev said. The Swedish businessmen believe that there are good projects for Swedish investment in Bulgaria. "I am an optimist because there is strong interest on the part of Swedish business and the Swedish model is a good model for Bulgaria to follow," Tsochev added.

    Meeting with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, the Swedish minister said it is hardly justifiable to link membership in the EU to membership in NATO.

    Mr Hellstroem reiterated the Swedish view on EU enlargement, commended by the Bulgarian Foreign Minister. Mr Pirinski observed with satisfaction that the Swedish Government is in favour of en bloc negotiations on full membership with associated countries.

    The Swedish delegation today also me with central bank Governor Todor Vulchev.


    Sofia, October 25 (BTA) - Budget deficit was reduced by 3,200 million leva in November 1-17, the dailies say referring to the Finance Ministry. By October 1 the deficit was 46,650 million leva or 95.7 per cent of the projected figure.

    The EU finance ministers showed interest towards bank supervision and regulation of the finance system in Bulgaria, the papers write quoting Finance Minister Dimiter Kostov. Kostov took part in the meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg.

    The papers cover yesterday's extraordinary congress of the Union for Private Economic Enterprise. The congress appealed to Bulgarian Government and Parliament to take urgent measures for reviving private business.

    The National Bank of Bulgaria (BNB) rejected a proposal to repay part of its foreign debt by BNB foreign gold reserves, "24 Chassa" writes referring to BNB. The paper recalls that the proposal was made last week by experts of the Morgan Grenfild company, which is a branch of Deutsche Bank. BNB gold reserves in the USA, Great Britain and the Basle bank for international payments total some five tonnes, "24 Chassa" says.

    Four exhibitions in the fields of medicine, stomatology, pharmacy and nature will be opened in Plovdiv (Southern Bulgaria) today, "Troud" writes.


    Sofia, October 25 (BTA) - The executive directors of the telecommunication companies of Bulgaria, Mihail Danov and Greece, Petros Lambru signed a protocol on achieved agreements here today. The document particularizes the plans for joint investments, Petros Lambru told journalists. Bulgaria and Greece will initiate the establishment of a Balkan Telecommunication Pool (BTP), which will unite the actions of the Balkan telecommunication companies. As projected the BTP members will jointly launch a common telecommunication satellite. The Bulgarian side confirmed its commitments to construct an underwater cable system in the Black Sea which will be a part of the Europe-Asia underwater link, Lambru said. At the talks the two sides agreed to exchange experts and know- how for digital upgrading of the Bulgarian telephone network and when introducing new telecommunication services, Mihail Danov stated.


    Sofia, October 25 (BTA) - The Ministers of Environment participating in the Third Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" today adopted a Ministerial Declaration. In the Preamble to the Declaration the ministers reaffirm their commitment to cooperation in the field of environmental protection in Europe, the principles of which were agreed in Lucerne on April 30, 1993. They underline the urgent need for the further integration of environmental consideration into all sectoral policies, so that economic growth takes place in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. The ministers acknowledge that, since they last met in Lucerne, progress has been made in a number of areas, but many serious problems remain. The declaration sums up the ministers' conclusions as to how these problems should be addressed together. In the first part of the Declaration, entitled "Implementation of the Environmental Action Programme (EAP) for Central and Eastern Europe", the ministers welcome the positive results achieved by the central and eastern European (CEE) countries and their partners in implementing the EAP, endorse the continuation of the Task Force and encourage the CEE countries to assume greater ownership of the EAP implementation process. The Declaration welcomes the progress achieved by the CEE countries in developing and implementing the National Environmental Action Programmes and recommends that coordination should be ensured with the objectives and implementation of the National Environmental Health Action Plans. The ministers endorse the achievements of the Project Preparation Committee (PPC) and are committed to supporting the continuation of its activities so as to facilitate and strengthen environmental investments in CEE countries. The document welcomes the "Sofia Initiatives" developed by the CEE countries in cooperation with the EAP Task Force and international financing institutions. The second part of the Declaration, "Environmental Financing in CEE Countries," recognizes that, in general, the financing of environmental expenditures should be based on the "polluter pays" principle. The ministers encourage CEE countries to enhance domestic financing for environmental investments even though external financial assistance will continue to play an essential role. The crucial importance of the business and industrial sectors in securing environmentally sustainable economic development in Europe is the subject of a separate, third part of the Declaration adopted by the participants in the Sofia forum, entitled "Business, Industry and Environment". It acknowledges the significant progress made in a number of countries as a result both of policy and price reform and of energy saving, waste minimization and cleaner production measures applied in individual plants, noting, however, that some beneficial effects result from lower levels of production, particularly in central and eastern Europe, rather than from environmentally friendly investment. The ministers commit themselves to a close and continuous consultation with the business sector, including small and medium-sized enterprises, encouraging the private sector to take stronger responsibility for protecting the environment and human health through sound environmental management and other voluntary mechanisms. In the fourth part, "Biological and Landscape Diversity", the ministers urge that all parties effectively implement the Convention on Biological Diversity, cooperate in taking concrete measures, and recognize the effect of agriculture on the environment. The delegates endorse the Environmental Programme for Europe which highlights a number of long-term environmental priorities at a pan-European level. In the part of the Ministerial Declaration entitled "Public Participation", all states in the region of the UN Economic Commission for Europe are called upon to ensure that they have a legal framework and effective and appropriate mechanisms to secure public access to environmental information, encouraging public participation through environmental impact assessment procedures. The next part, "Regional Environmental Centres", calls for training and education schemes in environment management for NGOs and the media.


    Sofia, October 25 (BTA) -

    The Swiss government extended 30 million Swiss francs in grant aid to Bulgaria under its programme for closer cooperation with Central an East European countries.

    Bulgarian Finance Minister Dimiter Kostov and State Secretary for Foreign Economic Cooperation with the Swiss Ministry of Economy Franz Blancart signed the grant-in-aid agreement here today. The donation is earmarked for projects in public health care, environmental protection, power engineering and infrastructure currently under way. The projects will be selected in accordance with criteria proposed by the two governments. The provided funds are expected to meet this country's most urgent needs.

    This is the second grant-in-aid which the Swiss government floats to Bulgaria. The first 30 million Swiss francs were extended in December 1992.

    Switzerland is fully aware of the losses sustained by the states neighbouring former Yugoslavia, as well as of Bulgaria's role as a factor for the region's stabilization, a communique issued by the Swiss Embassy here says. The Swiss Federal Council recognizes the importance and urgency of the forthcoming investments for the modernization of Bulgaria's infrastructure. Through this grant-in-aid, Switzerland intends to continue its support for the efforts of the Bulgarian government to restructure the economy of the country, the communique says.


    Sofia, October 25 (BTA) - Bulgaria's National Electricity Company and Energy Committee and European Union officials begin talks on a technical level on Friday, in a bid to alleviate Western safety concerns about the Kozlodoui nuclear power plant on the Danube, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Kiril Tsochev today told BTA, after meeting with European Union Ambassador Thomas O'Sullivan.

    "Ambassador O'Sullivan and I today agreed that the issue of the Kozlodoui nuclear power plant should be discussed on the expert and technical level. We should talk sensibly, logically and calmly about a solution, related to the possible provision of short and long-term financial assistance," Tsochev told BTA after the meeting. He also expressed the opinion "it is time the fuss about Kozlodoui stopped."

    Tsochev said none of the ministers he met during the the Third Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" in the last three days, except the German minister of the environment, raised the issue of Kozlodoui. According to him, the issue is being politicized by the environment ministers of some nations, and by forces in this country.

    The Government Press Office this afternoon released a statement denying reports in Sofia papers that Bulgaria had declined foreign aid to its energy sector.

    Only at noon today, European Union Ambassador Thomas O'Sullivan presented ideas of the European Commission about a fact- finding mission to study the feasibility of compensating energy imbalances which may result from the requested shutdown of Kozlodoui's oldest reactor, the statement says.

    According to the statement, allegations, mainly from opposition circles, that Bulgaria has received an official proposal for assistance, are not true.

    Talks on this issue are only now beginning. They will be carried out on an expert level, and not under political pressure, the statement says in conclusion.


    Sofia, October 25 (BTA) - Parliament passed on first reading today amendments to the Monuments of Culture and Museums Act and to the Administrative Misdemeanors and Penalties Act and started its second reading debates on the Social Security Fund Act and its first reading of radio and television bills. The amendments to the Monuments of Culture and Museums Act provide for the state to be able to expropriate immovable monuments of culture of exceptional value. According to the opposition, this contradicts the constitutional principle of inviolability of private property. The amendments to the Administrative Misdemeanors and Penalties Act provide for increasing the size of fines due to the changes in economic life and the inflation rate in Bulgaria.

    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Kiril Tsochev met today US Ambassador William Montgomery. The talks discussed possibilities for Bulgaria's participation in the setting up of "New Forum" (neo-Cocom), the Government press office said. Kiril Tsochev set forth the basic provision of a bill regulating the export and import of dual use commodities and special equipment submitted to Parliament. Tsochev expressed the hope that the US will assist Bulgaria's accession to the World Trade Organization already by the end of this year. As regards the operation of the Kozlodoui N-plant, Ambassador Montgomery agreed with the opinion expressed by the Bulgarian side that the strong politicization of the problem should give way to discussions between Bulgarian and foreign competent experts, the press office said.

    Bulgaria was elected deputy chair of the 28th Session of the UNESCO General Conference which opened today. The Bulgarian delegation to the session is headed by Academician Ilcho Dimitrov, Minister of Education, Science and Technologies.

    Three specialized international medical exhibitions opened in Plovdiv today. These are "Dento", "Galenia" and "Family Doctor", the local BTA correspondent reported. Almost 140 companies of 15 countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, the US, Italy and Switzerland, are taking part in the exhibitions.

    German mathematician Prof. Dr Walter Benz was awarded the title Doctor Honoris Causa of the St Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. Prof Walter Benz (64) heads the Geometry Department of the University of Hamburg.

    A Tourism and Leisure Time Fair opened in Varna (on the Black Sea) today, the local BTA correspondent reported. This is the sixth autumn edition of the largest tourist exchange in Bulgaria. It is attended by 200 Bulgarian and foreign firms. The Republic of South Africa is represented for the first time. The most pressing problems in Bulgarian tourism will be discussed on the sidelines of the Fair. According to Vassil Velev, Chairman of the Committee of Tourism, the crisis in tourism has been overcome and it is now entering the realities of the market economy. The Fair will continue till October 28.

    Economic improvement as a result of mass privatization can realistically be expected in five or six years, according to 21% of respondents polled by the Sova 5 social and marketing research firm. Eighteen per cent expect positive results in ten or so years, and only 4% think things will get worse. The pollsters conclude that people are realistic- almost nobody expects wonders.

    The leaders of the Made in Bulgaria Union today sent a letter to Prime Minister Zhan Videnov. It emphasizes the need for legal changes in the course of preparation of the 1996 national budget. The Union urged abolition of VAT for joint ventures. According to a study of BBSS Gallup International, 80% of Bulgarians prefer Bulgarian goods.

    The Bulgarian Olympic Committee (BOC) today accepted the invitation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to participate in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The Bulgarian delegation will be led by BOC President Ivan Slavkov.

    Sofia Mayor Alexander Yanchoulev, who is visiting Washington, today met wit US Senator Jesse Helms and US businessman of Bulgarian origin Avgoustin Peichinov. The talks focused on peace in the Balkans and cultural cooperation between Bulgaria and the US.

    The editor-in-chief of "Standart News" Valeri Zapryanov and his deputies Maksim Behar, Pencho Kovachev and Orlin Filev today handed in their resignations. The reasons are unknown.

    The Institute for Plant Protection in Kostinbrod (near Sofia) today marked its 60th anniversary. It is the only specialized institution of its kind in Bulgaria. It develops biological methods for protection against pests and promotes organic foods and a clean environment.

    The establishment in the next two years of a posts and telecommunications centre of central and eastern Europe in Bulgaria within a PHARE project was discussed today by Lyubomir Kolarov, Chairman of the Posts and Telecommunications Committee and a delegation of the European Union, headed by Henrik van Male, the press office of the Committee said. Kolarov assured the representatives of the European Union that the Committee headed by him will create the necessary conditions for the implementation of the project. He recommended that the project take into account the concrete needs of Bulgaria and the other countries of eastern and central Europe.

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