Year in Review 2017: Bulgaria in November

Written by on December 21, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Year in Review 2017: Bulgaria in November

In Sofia, newly refurbished boulevards and bike lanes are the subjects of discussions. For its many construction projects, Sofia Municipality is getting both criticism and praise.

Bike lane or parking lane? Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

In most disciplines, the poor EU country Bulgaria is last or at least very low on all lists in which countries are compared. But when it comes to home ownership, it is actually above average. Eurostat says, 82% of Bulgarians own their own home.

Bulgaria is above the EU average for home ownership. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

The defacing of the Soviet Army monument in Sofia with an anti-Semitic slur takes a new twist: The Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova says that it was “thanks to our soldiers that the deportation of Jews from Bulgaria was prevented and thus about 50,000 people saved from certain death”. This historically inaccurate statement leads to outrage and a discussion everyone will comment on, including President Roumen Radev. To him, the Russian claim is “ignorance or provocation”.

Maria Zakharova from the Russian Foreign Ministry causes a row between Sofia and Moscow.

Everybody is preparing for the ski season, including the resorts themselves, which desperately need staff and belong to the cheapest in Europe. In Sofia and other larger cities, the problem of elevated air pollution levels resurfaces along with the cold weather.

Bulgaria’s Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova.

While many Bulgarian ministers deal with problems, prepare the EU Presidency or engage in discussions, the nation’s Minister of Tourism, Nikolina Angelkova, pursues her own goals. One of them is turning Bulgaria into a year-round tourist destination. At a tourism fair in London, she holds a meeting marathon.

Kiril Ananiev becomes Bulgaria’s new Health Minister.

Kiril Ananiev, who used to be Deputy Finance Minister, gets a new job. He becomes Health Minister. His predecessor Petrov resigned following media reports about him having signed, while head of the Military Medical Academy, contracts worth 1.6 million leva with a company owned by a man with whom Petrov’s daughter had a child.

Tsveta Karayancheva becomes Speaker of the National Assembly.

Shortly before Bulgaria’s EU Presidency, there is a fresh scandal at the Parliament in Sofia. Kornelia Ninova, the leader of the Socialists (BSP), demands clarification from Prime Minister Boiko Borissov about his statement according to which some MPs were involved in drug trafficking. Speaker Dimitar Glavchev expels her from a sitting. Then the BSP announces it will “partially boycott” the Parliament and demands Glavchev’s resignation. After he gives in to the pressure, Tsveta Karayancheva becomes Speaker of Bulgarian National Assembly.

Hard to believe, but Sofia’s Boulevard Dondukov is open for traffic again.

With a pretty big delay and after a long drama involving partially useless discussions, Boulevard Dondukov in Sofia is reopened. That step is considered a miracle. In the meantime, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov convenes an emergency meeting after several deadly road accidents happen. In one case, nine die in a bus crash.

The health of health is unhealthy. At least in Bulgaria. Photo by Imanuel Marcus.

The European Commission releases its “State of Health in the EU”, which shows the state of Bulgaria’s health system is still problematic.

 

Year in Review 2017: Bulgaria in April

 

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