site.btaMedia Review: August 10

Media Review: August 10
Media Review: August 10

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The Wednesday print dailies have many election-related stories. 24 Chasa and Telegraph say that two formations running in the October 2 snap parliamentary elections, Continue the Change and Bulgarian Rise, have finally completed their court registrations so that they can independently, instead of needing a piggy-back party. 

In reports about a key meeting on the organization of the elections held by President Rumen Radev on Tuesday, 24 Chasa and Telegraph write that the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security plan to issue special instructions about handling hacking attacks against election infrastructure. The reports also stress that Radev called for a stronger awareness campaign regarding machine voting. 

* * * 

Continue the Change (CC) co-leader Former prime minister Kiril Petkov said on Nova TV that GERB leader and also former prime minister Boyko Borissov should retire from politics as "he is stopping Bulgaria and GERB". "Borissov is well aware that in a working judicial system he will go to prison. There is no way he and I could implement a judicial reform. Even European leaders have approached me to say that Borissov should retire," Petkov said. He made it clear that CC will not cooperate with GERB as long as Borissov is the latter's leader. 

Commenting the situation with gas supplies, Petkov repeated that the price of the LNG in the preliminary agreements his cabinet reached with the US supplier is USD 30 less than the price on the European markets. He was adamant that the agreed LNG supplies in October and November need to be finalized by August 19 or a serious risk will arise for this country. 

Petkov was also firm that the gas interconnector with Greece must start working by the end of the month, and that once this happens, the price of as in Bulgaria will be four times cheaper. 

The former prime minister also said that Bulgaria should not rely on gas supplies from Gazprom in the winter. "The problem is not the [payment] in roubles but the security of the supplies. The German and Italian companies are paying in roubles but still supplies are halted and reduced. It is not a question of ideology because Bulgaria got a derogation from the EU regarding Russian oil. I am afraid that the heating season will start and gas supplies will be stopped. The best thing for Bulgaria will be to not be dependent on Gazrpom this winter," Petkov said.

* * * 

In an interview to 24 Chasa high-ranking GERB member and former finance minister Vladislav Goranov discusses the upcoming elections and the economic situation in Bulgaria. Goranov says that new politicians who rely on "anti-theses, instead of on governance theses, to make a revolution, quickly grasp how they fail". He says that all saviors of the nation demonstrated in a convincing way that they lack the capacity to govern and can only act as critical observers. The interviewee does not think that Bulgaria will go in recession. He recommends a more conservative approach to finances and the economy. Asked whether he is tempted to return to frontline politics, Goranov says more time needs to elapse to contemplate such a move. 

* * * 

Bulgarian MEP and VMRO member Angel Djambazki said, speaking on Nova TV, that Bulgaria does not have a clear political force to defend solely and only the interest of the Bulgarian voter as "some formations heed the US Embassy, and others, the Russian Embassy". 

Djambazki also commented the efforts for gas diversification, stating that this country should find an option not to be dependent on one supplier. "For very long years the dependence on one supplier has been a source of political corruption which formed governments in Bulgaria," he said. 

* * * 

Speaking on the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), CC's Yordan Terziiski repeated the party's goal of having "an anti-corruption coalition of at least 121 seats in the next Parliament". Terziiski said that how the party will run in the elections will depend on the data they are analyzing.

On the Bulgarian National Radio, the head of the Market Links polling agency, Dobromir Zhivkov, said that the big unknown in the current situation is whether CC and Democratic Bulgaria will coalesce - this should be decided within a week, but CC is keeping a tactical silence on the matter. 

* * *

Appearing on BNT's morning show, Vazrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov once again said that the party will run alone in the elections, and that judging by the data they have, Vazrazhdane will be the primary political force in the next Parliament. He again repeated his party's stance against Bulgaria's joining the Euro zone. 

* * * 

Duma reports that caretaker Economy and Industry Minister Nikola Stoyanov has refuted the allegations by former head of the Kintex arms company to Stoyanov's predecessor, Korneliya Ninova, about export of weapons. Stoyanov categorically confirmed on Tuesday that Bulgaria has not exported and is not exporting arms with Ukraine as direct recipient. 

ECONOMY

The topic of gas supplies continues to be a much discussed issue in the Wednesday news. 24 Chasa says that the much expected cheap gas from Azerbaijan will not reach Bulgaria until November at the earliest, after new delays in the commissioning of the gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece. The topic is reported in all print newspapers. 

Duma carries a signed comment on who is to blame for the delayed  gas interconnector, given that the project for its construction started eleven years ago "with no end in sight". 

Speaking on the Bulgarian National Radio, caretaker Regional Development and Public Works Minister Ivan Shishkov said that solutions have been suggested to the Greek contractor performing works on the gas interconnector so as to speed up the commissioning of the facility. Shishkov said a schedule of the remaining works will be known by the end of the day today after Deputy Prime Minister and Transport and Communications Minister Hristo Aleksiev and he inspect part of the Bulgarian section of the interconnector. 

Reporting on a meeting Tuesday between the Energy and Water Regulatory Commission and the head of the state-owned Bulgargaz gas distributor, 24 Chasa and Duma say that Bulgargaz was slammed for not foreseeing the threat of the stoppage of gas supplies by Gazprom in late April, and also for not filing in time its proposals for energy and water prices to the regulator. 

Trud reports on a letter the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) has sent to the caretaker Prime Minister concerning the expected cuts in gas consumption by industrial users. BIA writes that when the gas price is hiked next, many enterprises will shut down. 

Duma says that Bulgaria needs to save 300 million cu m of gas under the EU regulation for voluntary gas demand reduction target of 15% from 1 August 2022 to 31 March 2023. 

24 Chasa runs the opinion of energy and environment expert Julian Popov who in a Facebook post said that the only crisis in the energy sector is consumption. Popov argues that the fixation on gas only is a strategic error. According to him, the main critical question at the moment - in Bulgaria, as well as in Europe, is energy consumption which he argues should shift to war-time arrangements.

* * * 

The splash headline in 24 Chasa says that the occupations in greatest demand by employers are garment-makers, bartenders, chefs, and construction workers, according to a survey by the Employment Agency among 4,000 companies. The topic is continued on two inside pages where it is said that the demand for garment-makers and bartenders is twice higher than that for university graduates. The poll also showed that in a fresh COVID-19 wave, 12,000 companies will stop hiring new workers. Another trend is that vacancies announcements are dropping across all sectors. The greatest decrease is in openings for hospitality, healthcare and construction staff, explained with the nearing end of the busy summer season. 

Duma reports that one in every five jobless people in Bulgaria is a young person. 

* * *

Trud studies the latest data from the central bank regarding loans and deposits, saying that a new millionaire appears in this country every five days. Telegraph says that the number of deposits of more than BGN one million has dropped by 108. 

* * * 

The print newspapers report on the complaints about alleged political pressure coming from the Consumer Protection Commission. Duma leads on the topic. 

* * * 

In an interview in Telegraph, Radoslav Hristov, of the National Association of Grain Producers, says that Ukrainian dumping prices  are hindering the sales of Bulgarian grain. Hristov also questions the quality of imported Ukrainian grain. He says protest rallies and road blockades are planned if the government fails to impose strict control of Ukrainian grain imports so that it is clear "what comes in and where it goes". 

* * * 

The Wednesday dailies report on the appointments of new heads of the State Construction Supervision Directorate and of the General Labour Inspectorate 24 Chasa notes that the previous director of the General Labour Inspectorate survived only seven months at the post. 

COVID-19

24 Chasa says in a headline that the sixth COVID-19 wave is waning but still ten new coronavirus patients are admitted to hospital daily. All newspapers and online news outlets report that the mask mandate has been relaxed in respect of stores but remains in place for visitors to hospitals, other health-care establishments, pharmacies and public transport. A splash headline in Trud says that the masks are falling but not quite. The newspaper devotes two inside pages to discuss where in Bulgaria the mask mandate is being properly followed and fresh pros and cons on this.

ROAD SAFETY, RAGING FIRES

24 Chasa has a report by criminal psychologist Rossen Yordanov about what is the best working way to punish drivers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Yordanov argues that the chaos among the institutions having a bearing on road safety is reflected in the chaos on the roads. The author takes a stand against the numerous campaign-like police raids, saying that after the police leave the respective road section, driving violations again increase. 

Trud has a signed comment on road safety whose headline says that drunk and drugged drivers and corrupt police lurk around every corner. The comment cites official statistics for road accidents fatalities in January-July which shows that on average, the mortality was 1.4 person per day. 

The TV morning shows had many reports on the ongoing fire-fighting operations in several locations across the country.

/ZD/

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By 04:11 on 03.10.2022 Today`s news

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