On Thursday the Bulgarian Parliament finally launched proceedings to compel MPs to show Green Certificates for Covid-19 immunisation, antibodies or tests when entering the National Assembly. The proposal, passed in the Justice Committee, still has to pass a final vote in the General Assembly. The other topic that stirred debate on the second working day of the year for MPs was the slow progress of the construction of the Bulgaria-Greece gas interconnector. Ironically, the debates were initiated by GERB, who blamed the current government for not doing enough to finalize the gas pipeline, when in fact the project had been dragging for close to a decade under GERB's three governments.
Sofia "stands firm" about joining the Eurozone on 1 January 2024: Kiril Petkov
The Prime Minister confirmed Sofia's commitment to join the Euro in an interview with the Bulgarian correspondent of Bloomberg, Slav Okov, published on Wednesday evening. Mr Petkov added that Sofia will keep its fixed euro-to-lev rate after the transition to the common European currency. On the topic of potential NATO troop deployments on Bulgarian territory, he commented that the topic will be tabled in coming months. The entire interview is available on the Bloomberg website.
Census shows population down 844,000 people, or 11.5 percent in just over a decade
Preliminary data from the National Census that took place in the autumn of 2021 shows that the population of Bulgaria has dropped by a staggering 844,000 people, or 11.5 percent, since 2011, and is now 6.5 million. This is Bulgaria's lowest population since 1934, the National Statistics Institute (NSI) says. The biggest decrease is in the active population bracket (18-64 year old), where Bulgaria has lost 870,000 people. At the same time, the number of retirees has increased by close to 200,000. All cities, bar Sofia, have lost residents, but the situation is twice as bad in Northern Bulgaria, where most municipalities have lost between 23-26 percent of their residents since 2011.
Former PM Boyko Borissov interrogated by police over gold bar pictures from 2020
The leader of GERB Mr Borissov, alongside his party PR and former spokesperson of the government Sevdalina Arnaudova, were interrogated by the General Directorate of the National Police on Thursday. The action comes after demands from Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov that the investigation linked to the 2020 photos of Mr Borissov sleeping naked next to a drawer stashed with gold bars and a gun should be reopened. The photos were allegedly taken by an escort whom the ex-Prime Minister dubbed "Mata Harri". The State Prosecution opened a case in 2020, but closed it inconclusively soon after.