On Monday, as the new MPs await the sitting of the new National Assembly, Bulgaria's statistics office published worrying data about rising death rates in the second quarter of 2021. While not as dramatic as the increase in the autumn of 2020, the 34 percent jump in the number of total deaths to almost 34,000, compared to about 25,000 during the same period of 2020, illustrates the toll from the spring Covid-19 wave. In other news:
Caretaker Justice Minister calls for Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev's resignation
On Friday last week, caretaker Justice Minister Yanaki Stoilov announced he will call on the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to dismiss Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev during its next sitting this week. Mr Stoilov based his demand on a 108-page report from Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov, about a series of misdemeanors on the part of Mr Geshev, some of which may amount to criminal acts.
The report, published on Monday, points out how the State Prosecution abused its power on several occasions while investigating President Rumen Radev and his associates last year. These illegal acts include dissemination of classified information acquired by wiretapping and Mr Geshev's disregard for presumptions of impartiality and innocence.
Covid-19: Britons, Spaniards and other "red zone" citizens barred from Bulgaria
From today Bulgaria is barring access to citizens of five countries designated as Covid-19 "red zones". Following an increase in the number of new infections in their states, citizens of the UK, Spain, Cyprus, Fiji and Kuwait will be unable to enter. The ban applies to tourists, but not to essential workers or those who hold residency here (foreigners or Bulgarians). The latter have to show the results of a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before entering the country or have to remain quarantined in self-isolation for 10 days. The same rules now apply to citizens of Portugal and Russia who are now allowed to enter Bulgaria.
FT: Bulgaria among seven countries opposing Brussels' Green Deal
Seven countries, including Bulgaria, Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, Hungary and Lithuania, have opposed Brussels' plan to expand carbon pricing to the largest polluting sectors of the economy such as road transport and building heating. The legislative package that includes 13 measures established to cut average greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality by 2050, is opposed by various EU actors.
Many of these states fear it "will have a "regressive" effect on those residents who cannot readily afford greener alternatives," the Financial Times wrote on Friday, citing EU Commission sources. Several EU Commissioners have also opposed the plan. In order to come into effect, the reform package needs support from a qualified majority of EU governments and the European parliament.