Northern Macedonia might not enter the EU soon, due to Bulgarian resistance, but it will certainly diversify its gas supplies sooner than its neighbor. This weekend the Northern Macedonian government announced plans to decouple from the Bulgarian gas network and connect itself directly to Greece. This will allow for more providers of gas - the current pipeline through Bulgaria is reserved by the Russian Gazprom up until at least 2030.
Enough from the weekend though; here is some of Monday's news.
New debt coming
Bulgaria will issue 300 mln. lv (150 mln euro) worth of 10-1/2 year bonds next Monday, January 15, announced Capital Weekly. This will be the first such auction since April last year and is expected to attract many investors. This time around, however, the coupon on the issue will be very low - 0.1%, while the last emission of such maturity carried a 0.5% yield.
One of the star-cases of the prosecution service reaches court
9 months after the arrest of two of Bulgaria's richest businessmen - Atanas and Plamen Bobokovi, charges against them were brought to court. The specialized unit of the Prosecution service dealing with high-level corruption charged the Bobokovi brothers with unsanctioned deposition of hazardous waste. Also charged were the former deputy-minister for environment, Krasimir Zhivkov, and three other people. Atanas Bobokov and Zvivkov also face charges of running an organized criminal group, and the businessman is charged with tax-evasion. The case is being watched carefully for signs of political pressure and corporate raiding.
Same old faces at helm of State transport
In case you were wondering, the government is not planning to allow new faces at the top of state-owned enterprises, even though a new law requires open competition. In October last year, the Transport ministry announced competitions for all the managerial positions in the enterprises under its control. Not a single new face entered this sector through this channel, it transpires. "Ports infrastructure", "National Railroad Company", "Bulgarian Air-traffic service authority", "Bulgarian posts" and others all retain the same managers as before the new law. Turns out, you can't promote fair competition simply by writing it down in law.