Bulgarian parliament finally constituted committees to look into key issues ranging from the revision of the 2021 budget to vaccines and education (given the coming start of the new school year). It took MPs a month to form the commiteees, which is probably the longest period to do so since the fall of communism.
EU's least vaccinated country sells, donates Covid-19 vaccines
The country with the lowest Covid-19 vaccination rate in the EU (under 16% of the population), gives away or sells vaccines. The absurd situation is due to the fact that EU negotiated quantities for all member-states, but Bulgarians refuse en masse to take the jab. Since the vaccine doses have an expiry date, it makes more sense to give them to nations which are more willing to put the needles in. Today the cabinet decided to give away 51 thousand Pfizer vaccine doses to North Macedonia, 172 thousand Astra-Zeneca to Bhutan and sell over 100 thousand doses of Moderna to Norway. This year, the country is bound to receive almost 14 mln. doses.
Negotiations for forming government continue
President Rumen Radev continues consultations with political parties represented in Parliament, with the possibility for a coalition-backed cabinet still not very realistic. After anti-elite There Is Such a People (TISP) formation failed to submit a cabinet list to Parliament for approval, the second mandate will go to GERB, the second-biggest force in the National Assembly. They will certainly fail, which means the only possibility to form Bulgaria's next government in this parliament remains the third attempt. Then, the president has to choose whom to give the third mandate to. This can be either the third biggest party, the Socialists, or the one with the most chances to form a government. For now, neither option seems workable, as GERB and TISP have both ruled out the option of supporting any government in this parliament. Yet, the looming refugee crisis and fourth COVID wave may lead to a shift in positions.
Caretaker govt starts procedure for acquiring 8 more F-16 jets from US
Answering an MP question in Parliament today, the caretaker minister of defence Georgi Panayotov said that he's sending a Letter of Request for a Letter of Offer to the US Department of Defence regarding the planned purchase of 8 more F-16 fighter jets. Bulgaria already bought 8 F-16 for over 1 billion euro, with the first ones supposed to arrive in 2023. Any spending this big will have to be endorsed by parliament. The letter is non-binding and its aim is to get information about prices, delivery dates and armament.