Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov defended the amendments to the Forestry Act, passed by Parliament on June 13, saying that the legislative changes were meant to develop winter tourism in the country.
More than 1000 people gathered at Sofia’s Orlov Most intersection on June 13 to protest against the amendments, accusing MPs of succumbing to lobbyist demands that will benefit a small number of resort developers. The law allows construction of ski runs and accompanying infrastructure in forests, removing the costly and lengthy process of changing the land’s status.
Borissov said that the new law was lobbyist, but the beneficiaries would be skiers and snowboarders who wanted to practice the sport “in normal conditions and without running over each other on the runs,” Borissov said on June 14, as quoted by Focus news agency.
He invoked the case of Austria, where ski runs with a combined length of 12 000km had been built in forests, and said that the amendments would help return Bulgaria to prominence in winter sports, drawing tourists from neighbouring countries who would otherwise take their holidays in Austria or Germany.
Borissov said that no amount of protest rallies will stop investment in winter tourism in Bulgaria. Social media campaigns have already asked opponents of the latest amendments to congregate at Orlov Most on June 14, to demand that President Rossen Plevneliev vetoes the law.
Several parties in Parliament, including the opposition socialists, as well as the right-wing Blue Coalition, have already asked Plevneliev to reject the amendments.
(Photo: European People’s Party)