On Friday, the Prime Ministers of Greece and Bulgaria, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Kiril Petkov, officially launched the Greek-Bulgaria Natural Gas interconnector (ICGB) at a ceremony in the Greek town of Komotini. Mr Petkov claimed that, once the connection becomes 100% operational at the end of the summer, this should usher in a 30 percent decrease in natural gas prices for Bulgarian consumers. In other news:
Assen Vassilev returns first mandate to form a cabinet unfulfilled to President Radev
Outgoing Finance Minister and Deputy PM Assen Vassilev (WCC) opted out of seeking the approval of his proposed cabinet by the National Assembly and returned it unfulfilled to President Rumen Radev. "In this parliament, the number of MPs willing to support the change (WCC) is 117. I hope that after the next elections the people will elect four more," he said on Friday.
So it seems that Bulgaria is moving fast towards new early elections. If the next two parties (GERB and a party of Mr Radev's choosing) fail to produce a cabinet, the early vote will most likely take place in the weeks after September 15, as the head of state announced earlier this month.
Supreme Judicial Council rejects Justice Minister's call for Prosecutor General's dismissal
The main organ of magisterial self-governance (SJC) decided late on Thursday evening, after 13 hours of debates, to reject a motion to dismiss Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev, pursued by two consecutive Justice Ministers in the past year. With 16 votes "against" his sacking and only two in favor (cast by judges Atanaska Disheva and Olga Kerelska), the SJC ended the year-long saga, which was launched by caretaker Justice Minister Yanaki Stoilov in the summer of 2021 and pushed forward by his successor Nadezhda Yordanova this year. The SJC - mostly consisting of the same people who approved Mr Geshev's controversial candidature in 2019 - attempted to throw out and circumvent the effective examination of Ms Yordanova's case for his dismissal.
Parliament unanimously approves VAT registration threshold to increase to 100,000 BGN
With 212 votes "in favor" and without a single abstention or vote "against," the National Assembly unanimously adopted at first reading amendments to the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act, raising the minimum threshold of the annual taxable turnover for VAT registration from 50,000 BGN to 100,000 BGN as of 1 January next year. The current registration threshold, which has been in place since 1 January 2003, is beginning to create major difficulties for owners of small businesses who already declare turnovers above the threshold. This has made it necessary for them to re-register, which has only increased the administrative burden, the authors of the draft proposal from Democratic Bulgaria party point out.