Year in Review 2017: Bulgaria in October

Written by on December 20, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Year in Review 2017: Bulgaria in October

Residents of the Losenets and Sredets quarters in Sofia wake up to new parking rules on October 1. The Green Zone was extended into their vicinity, which means they either have to pay hourly rates, get their vehicles out of that zone, or get an inhabitant pass, which is kind of a parking permission. Sofia is counting on additional income.

Parking vouchers used in Sofia. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

On October 2, the new academic year starts at Sofia University, while Sofia Municipality terminates contracts with construction companies because of their poor quality work. At a time when Sofia is running countless renovation projects, even Mayor Yordanka Fandakova runs out of patience.

Sofia terminates contracts with two construction companies. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

Prime Minister Boiko Borissov and his Romanian counterpart Mihai Tudose open a new border checkpoint between the two countries, and gangsters steal automated teller machines in Western Bulgaria while being hunted by police.

The discussion on the acquisition of fighter jets for Bulgaria goes into the next round. While the Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Krassimir Karakachanov, who is part of the far-right “United Patriots”, says there was “no need to hurry”, the National Assembly approves a report according to which Bulgaria should go back to square 1 on the acquisition.

Fighter jets are a popular subject at the National Assembly in Sofia. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

The 1st Quadrilateral Summit at Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast includes Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic, his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and the Romanian PM Mihai Tudose. The talks of the four men focus on developments in the region, on the European course of the Western Balkans, finance, energy and more.

The 1st Quadrilateral Summit is under way close to Varna.

On Nova Television, Anton Todorov, an MP who belongs to Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, threatens show host Viktor Nikolaev, since he does not seem to like his interview questions. That threat leads to outrage throughout the country. GERB distances itself from its own MP. Todorov resigns a few days later.

TV show host Viktor Nikolaev gets threatened by an MP on live TV.

The controversy about threats aginst journalists continues, thanks to Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov of the radical right “United Patriots”. In a separate interview with Nikolaev, Simeonov says that he was giving Nova Televizia, bTV and public broadcasters Bulgarian National Television and Bulgarian National Radio 24 hours to publicly apologise to him. Otherwise he would take court action against them for defamation. Simeonov later says there was no threat and his words had been taken out of context.

Sofia’s air is toxic. The European Commission pressures Bulgaria to do something.

During a conference on clean air in Sofia, the European Commission warns Bulgaria. George Kremlis from the Environment Directorate urges the country to mobilize efforts in order to tackle its air pollution problem. Otherwise, it would suffer sanctions. It’s not the first threat of this kind.

Barmao Kiprono wins the Sofia Marathon. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

On October 13, an Airbus A320 owned by Bulgarian Air Charter loses one engine in flight, while Barmao Kiprono, a Kenyan runner, wins the Wizz Air Sofia Marathon. The sportsman kills the 42 kilometres in incredible 2 hours, 14 minutes and 49 seconds.

Georg Georgiev with David Harris.

The Bulgarian government appoints Deputy Foreign Minister Georg Georgiev as the country’s national co-ordinator for the fight against anti-Semitism, a move appreciated by David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, who congratulates Georgiev, just like the organisation for the Bulgarian Jews, Shalom, and many others.

The health authorities are scrambling to contain Bird Flu outbreaks in Bulgaria villages. And Bulgaria’s fighter pilots refuse to conduct training flights due to security concerns and demotivation. This leads to a new discussion in Sofia and beyond. PM Borrisov’s statement does not really motivate the pilots either, by saying “I fly when I have to.”

Valeri Simeonov is found guilty of hate speech.

The Regional Court in the Bulgarian city of Bourgas finds Valeri Simeonov, a Deputy Prime Minister and co-leader of the United Patriots coalition, guilty of breaking anti-discrimination legislation by his comments about Roma people, made in Parliament in December 2014.

In the Bulgarian Burgas Province, three inhabitants drown in floods caused by torrential rain.


Year in Review 2017: Bulgaria in September



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