President offers Dutch PM talks over blocked Schengen admission
On Wednesday President Rumen Radev announced he will offer the Netherlands a set of meetings, including with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, which would be aimed at mitigating the country's concern regarding the pending admission of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen free travel zone. The Hague is the most vocal opponent of Sofia entering the Schengen space.
"We are ready to provide additional information and respond to the concerns that the Netherlands may have regarding Bulgaria's readiness to join the Schengen area," President Radev stated in his proposal.
Romania and Bulgaria are expected to join Schengen together, the same way they joined the EU in 2007. But in recent months, the political crisis in Sofia combined with intensive lobbying on behalf of Bucharest led to concerns that the two would be decoupled, with Romania entering the free travel zone alongside Croatia after the next EU leaders' summit in December.
Parliament approves bill for diversification of nuclear fuel away from Russia
The National Assembly tasked the Council of Ministers with finding a substitute to Russian nuclear fuel for the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and signing a contract for its procurement by 2024, when the NPP will deplete its current fuel reserves. Until now, the Kozloduy NPP has only used Russian nuclear fuel.The proposal, which was made by the GERB parliamentary group, received the support of 156 MPs, including those of GERB, WCC, DPS, Democratic Bulgaria and Bulgarian Rise.
A total of 47 deputies - from BSP and Vazrazhdane - voted against the bill.Borislav Gutsanov from BSP insisted that there are currently no EU sanctions on the import of Russian nuclear fuel, adding that this made diversification from it not an urgent issue.
State loses important tax case against lottery mogul Vasil Bozhkov
The Supreme Administrative Court declared a 2020 decision of the State Commission on Gambling that claimed the lottery firm Eurofootball owes the state BGN 329 million "unclear and void." The now defunct company was part of the lottery business of Vasil Bozhkov. He has been in exile since 2020, when Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev surprisingly opened a number of indictments, including of murder, against him. The decision is final and not subject to appeal.
The case has been the most significant appeal filed by the company of the businessman against the state. In the decision of the Supreme Court, it is specified that it does not rule on the amount owed, but cancels the decision it was based on as void by itself. This means that it cannot be a basis for debt collection. If a new decision is issued, most of the debt would be time-barred.