Days after Slavi Trifonov's TISP party announced it wants a referendum on transforming Bulgaria into a presidential republic, the party's vice chairman Toshko Yordanov gave some clarifications. This morning, Yordanov stated that the point is that the question of the referendum has to be formed in such a way that it would require a Grand National Assembly to decide precisely what kind of presidential republic Bulgaria should be - like the U.S. or like France.
Scholz: Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania qualify for Schengen area membership
European Union countries Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria all meet the requirements to become full members of the bloc's passport-free Schengen area, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday, quoted by Reuters.
"Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of the European Union, and we should protect and develop it. This means, incidentally, closing the remaining gaps," he said, according to the text of a speech for delivery in Prague, Reuters reported.
Sofia has been trying - unsuccessfully - to become a member of this borderless space for about a decade now. Now it has another (and perhaps the last, at least for a long time) chance to push its bid forward as in May the European Commission called on the European Council to adopt a decision allowing Croatia, Romania, and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area.
Bulgaria waits for an answer from Gazprom
By the end of the day, Bulgaria will know if there is a chance to continue negotiations with Russia's Gazprom for the supply of natural gas, caretaker Energy Minister Rosen Hristov announced. The government expects the Russian company to choose a person with whom Bulgaria can start talks.
The Energy and Water Regulatory Commission said in a press release that long-term contracts, as well as their amendments, are subject to authorization by the commission. "This legal regulatory authority is essential, as it guarantees the security of supply," commented the commission.
On the other hand, the caretaker government said it will open tenders for the medium- and long-term supply of natural gas as soon as possible. But the decision to sign contracts will be left to the next regular government that will be formed after the October 2 election, announced President Rumen Radev.
Public gas supplier Bulgargaz has a contract for gas deliveries with Gazprom that will expire at the end of this year. Gazprom halted deliveries in April after Bulgaria refused to pay for the gas in rubles as the Kremlin has demanded in response to international sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
State budget 2023: record deficit of 11.3 billion levs
The first expert (and somewhat technical) accounts for the state budget for 2023 show a record deficit - 11.3 billion levs, equivalent to 6.8% of Bulgaria's projected GDP. Other things being equal, state finances will continue to run similar huge deficits until 2025. And this means that the state will take on 15 billion levs worth of new debt each of the following years. Thus, debt-to-GDP ratio can reach up to 40%, or 10 percentage points above projections from half a year ago.