Balkan Airlines faces more trouble
Bulgaria is to withdraw the air operator certificate for Balkan Airlines, whose aircrafts remain grounded because of a dispute between the government and majority owner Zeevi Holding, an Israeli-based company. The airline was placed in receivership by a local court last week.
Receivers for Balkan Airlines said Zeevi had sold the airline's headquarters at Sofia airport, hotels and other assets to Zeevi subsidiaries, as well as spare parts and Tupolov aeroplanes. As a result Zeevi Holdings acquired USD 8.25 million without approval from the Bulgarian Privatisation Agency. CEO of the Israeli company, Frank Zeevi has fled the country fearing arrest.
Government condemns violence in Macedonia
The Bulgarian government has issued a memorandum condemning the violent actions of Albanian extremists in the Macedonian village of Tanushevsy. On 26 February, a two-hour gun battle took place on the Kosovo-Macedonian border between Albanian separatists and security forces.
The violence comes after Macedonia and Yugoslavia's recent agreement resolving ten years of negotiations about their common border dispute. The Bulgarian government declared it supports the Macedonian government's resolution not to use force to solve the problem.
Number of German tourists expected to rise
Bulgaria is expected to be one of the favourite destinations for the German tourist market. According to preliminary surveys and publications in German mass media, the upsurge is expected during the Berlin International Tourist Exchange.
Participants at a large conference in Berlin discussing the forthcoming exchange event specially mentioned that the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast has enjoyed a steady increase of German tourists, and are optimistic that the number will continue to rise in summer 2001.
According to the German daily Der Tagespiegel, German tourist companies have invested millions of DEM in the infrastructure of Bulgarian resorts because they foresee their great potential.
Elections raise doubts over future
Chairman of the Bulgarian Parliament Yordan Sokolav has stressed the importance of the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for summer 2001, in a meeting with Slovak Ambassador Ján Kovač. He commented that the elections would determine whether Bulgaria continues integration into the European Union or takes a step backwards.
According to Sokolov, the Bulgarian people must understand that repeating the situation of 1992 and 1993, when reforms stopped, would be fatal. Sokolov announced that Members of Parliament must vote in roughly 30 new laws in line with the governmental programme before the elections.
And in other news...
- A summit between the Presidents of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey held last week ended with a joint declaration to intensify efforts against all forms of cross-border crime and illegal activities. The leaders also reconfirmed their support for the efficient implementation of the tripartite Agreement for Co-operation in the Fight Against Crime signed in Antalia in 1998. The next summit between the three heads of state will take place in Turkey in 2002.
- Bulgaria's Foreign Investment Agency said last week that the country is to receive over USD 1.36 billion in foreign investment in 2001. Agency President Georgi Tabakov commented in an interview on national radio that the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections in June will probably have little impact on the level of foreign investment.
- President Petar Stoyanov has not excluded the possibility of signing an agreement with NATO during his forthcoming visit to Belgium. The agreement would give NATO forces a permanent corridor through Bulgaria.
- The Constitutional Court announced that His Majesty Simeon II does not have the constitutional right to run for a President of Bulgaria because he has not lived on Bulgarian territory during the last five years.
Nadia Rozeva Green, 5 March 2001
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