Visa restrictions lifted
Bulgaria was finally taken off the visa "black list" on Friday last week after a decision of the internal ministers of the 13 European Union countries. The decision will be published in the official paper of the EU this week and will become applicable in the middle of April. This agreement ends an era of humiliation and long lines in front of foreign embassies, the impossibility to travel spontaneously and explore the rest of Europe. Romania along with 46 other countries were granted the "white list" status.
For Dialogue and Partnership formed
On 14 March, seven members of Parliament from the Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) and one each from the People's Union, which forms the ruling United Democratic Forces (ODS) coalition with the SDS, and from the Alliance for National Salvation (ONS) and one independent MP announced they have formed a new parliamentary group under the name "For Dialogue and Partnership."
The new group will be co-chaired by Hristo Biserov, recently expelled from the SDS, and Dimitar Ivanov who left the party on his own accord. Recently, the two urged exiled Bulgarian King Simeon II to enter Bulgarian politics.
The MPs stated in a declaration that they formed the new parliamentary group to respond to societal expectations for an open-door policy of agreement between all center-right and right-to-center parties. The MPs from the new parliamentary group stated their support for Simeon II's bid for participation in Bulgarian politics and said he brings with himself moral credit and unifying potential.
The SDS is now left with 114 members. The People's Union now has ten MPs, which will preserve the ODS's majority in the 240-seat parliament.
SDS and BSDP sign agreement
The ruling Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) and the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party (BSDP) signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday last week. With the document bearing the signatures of SDS leader Ivan Kostov and Social Democratic leader Yordan Nikhrizov, BSDP joins the United Democratic Forces (ODS) coalition of the SDS, and the democrats and agrarians of the People's Union.
People's Union co-chairperson Anastasiya Mozer said after the memorandum was signed that the next thing they would do is add BSDP to the ODS partners. After signing Prime Minister Ivan Kostov said that the document also brings ODS back to its format of the 1997 elections, the only difference being that all partners now are internationally recognized. He described ODS as "a nationally responsible coalition which can form a parliamentary majority at the center of the political spectrum and implement a program compliant with the national interests."
Bulgaria not to send troops to Macedonia
Bulgaria's Minister of Defence Boyko Noev declared on Monday 12 March in Tirana that "Bulgaria does not intend to send troops to Macedonia." "If a hypothetical situation is created, and NATO as well as other international bodies suggest entry of an international force in Macedonia, then Bulgaria will have its own role in this force," said the Bulgarian minister.
Bulgaria is in favor of "a Macedonia with a strong stability in the region, which should protect the interest of its citizens and face extremists. This is also the stance of UN Organization, which was recently expressed by the Security Council," said Noev in Tirana after the meeting he had with his Albanian counterpart Ismail Lleshi. According to the Bulgarian minister the international community and the Macedonian government should work together for the stabilization of the situation in Macedonia.
An employee of the Bulgarian Defence Ministry and a retired colonel were arrested on Tuesday last week for alleged spying, the Bulgarian news agency BTA reported, quoting the ministry's information directorate released on Friday. Lilyana Gesheva is alleged to have supplied retired Colonel Yani Yanev with top secret information. Yanev was arrested at the entrance to an unspecified embassy where he was about to deliver the confidential documents he was carrying. Yanev is a former deputy chief of the Analytical Department of the Defence Ministry's Intelligence Directorate while Gesheva is Head of the Confidential Secretarial Office of the Military Information Service, the agency said.
Guido De Marco unhurt in accident
Visiting President Guido De Marco of Malta escaped unhurt in a pile-up of his motorcade on Wednesday. The driver and a National Bodyguard Service guard in the outrider car were severely injured. Later, Stefan Yanchulev (31), one of the two seriously injured Bulgarian bodyguards, died in the Blagoevgrad hospital, BTA reported.
Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov immediately expressed his regrets over the incident to President De Marco. After his return to Sofia the Maltese President delivered a lecture on NATO's future at the Sofia University St Kliment Okhridski. President De Marco, who chaired the 45th session of the United Nations General Assembly, stressed that the UN needs greater transparency in the decision-making process.
De Marco later met with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mikhaylova. The two discussed bilateral cooperation in education, and the opportunity that Bulgarian students continue their education in Malta, while Maltese students study in Bulgaria. The guests showed interest in investment and tourism.
Bulgarian killed in Caribbean
A gunman killed a 36-year-old Bulgarian visitor on Friday last week shooting him four times in the head in the crowded lobby of an elegant hotel on the Caribbean island of Aruba, the daily 24 Chasa reported. Armed with a handgun, the man approached the Bulgarian in the lobby of the Sonesta Hotel in the capital Oranjestad. The attacker fled as hotel guests and security panicked. Police refused to immediately identify or provide details about the victim, who was accompanied by his wife when the shooting occurred. Officers were searching the small Dutch island for the gunman, the report said.
Nadia Rozeva Green, 16 March 2001
- Archive of news reviews for Bulgaria
- Archived articles about Bulgaria in CER
- Browse through the CER eBookstore for electronic books
- Buy English-language books on Central Europe through CER
- Return to CER front page