32 Bulgarian Border Police Officers Posted to Aid Greece

    Sofia, January 31 (BTA) – The border police patrol vessel Obzor 525 has joined an operation in the eastern Mediterranean, the Interior Ministry said.

    In December Greece asked the EU’s Frontex Agency for support in view of the growing migrant pressure. Frontex decided to deploy Rapid Border Intervention Teams on the Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Kos, Samos and Leros, which are the worst hit by illegal migration, said the Ministry. More…

  • Bulgarian President Plevneliev: “We Need New Ideas in 21st Century”

    Sofia, January 30 (BTA) – Interviewed by the Italian daily “Corriere della Sera,” Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev says that throughout history Europe has seen much intolerance, xenophobia and anti-Semitism which have fuelled destruction and wars. “We need new, better ideas in the 21st century,” Plevneliev says,  as quoted by his Press Secretariat.

    He calls on his European colleagues to hold on to the vision of a Europe free of internal borders, which is at the heart of the European Union. He notes that the Schengen area has fulfilled the dream of all Europeans to travel freely and without barriers across Europe. More…

  • INTERVIEW Jose Manuel Barroso, former President of the European Commission

    The European Union must show solidarity to refugees, and at the same time must fight “without mercy” against terrorists, said, on Friday, in an interview to AGERPRES, the former President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, present in Timisoara where he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the West University of Timisoara.

    He also said that the fight against terrorism cannot be efficient without “European cooperation, because terrorists do not respect borders”. “If we want to be effective against terrorists, we have to have better cooperation between the police and intelligence services of Europe,” said Barroso in the interview for AGERPRES.

    The former president of the EC also spoke of the solution of a technocratic government in Romania, of his relation with the authorities in Bucharest over the ten years he presided over the European executive, of Romania’s accession to the eurozone, of the process to nominate new heads of key judiciary institutions, as well as of the situation in Moldova.

    AGERPRES: Mr. President, as a former Prime-Minister and former President of the European Commission, what do you think about the solution of a non-political government in times of mistrust regarding politicians?

    Jose Manuel Barroso: This is an internal issue of Romania and I don’t want to interfere now in internal politics. As you know, now I’m no longer in office, so what I am going to give you is a personal opinion as someone who likes to follow politics, but of course I have no authority today to elaborate on that issue.

    AGERPRES: Of course.

    Jose Manuel Barroso: We know, in democracy, that sometimes there are situations where some kind of independent, or sometimes people call them technocratical governments, are necessary, because there was some kind of blockage in the normal functioning of political parties or of a political system, so if the rules of democracy, respect for the constitution is assured, I see no problem, frankly. We have had that in my country [e.n. — Portugal], for instance, since you mentioned it. It happened several times. And in other countries in Europe as well. Just recently, remember what happened when mr. [Mario] Monti became Prime-Minister of Italy [e.n. — 2011], not being elected but because it was some kind of crisis. Also in Greece, it happened when mr. [Lucas] Papademos became Prime-Minister [e.n. — 2011]. So it’s something that is relatively normal and if the government has the confidence of the Parliament and the normal functioning of the institutions is kept, I don’t see any problem frankly.

    AGERPRES: But do you see it as a long-term solution?

    Jose Manuel Barroso: Long-term? it depends on what you call long-term.

    AGERPRES: Four years or…

    Jose Manuel Barroso: I think that is for the Romanian citizen and Romanian democracy to solve, I cannot comment on that, but frankly, the normal thing in a democracy is that the political parties present their candidates and after that there are majorities, if there are no majorities there are coalitions, that’s a normal thing. Now, a system of democracy always has some kind of plasticity, there is always the possibility of a regime, in the respect of democratic values and the constitution to adapt to different situations, and I could not now make a comment that could be misunderstood in the Romanian context.

    AGERPRES: You have been European Commission President for ten years, what would you say was the most memorable and the most difficult in your relation with Romanian authorities during these years.

    Jose Manuel Barroso: The most memorable… Of course I was very happy the day of the accession and you know that people were opposing the accession of Romania to the European Union, and the fact that we have concluded negotiations and that that happened in itself was a great moment. Afterwards, generally speaking things went well, there was that crisis, you remember, when there was a conflict between the Prime Minister [Victor Ponta] and the President [Traian Basescu] of the republic where we believe we were in a constitutional crisis.

    AGERPRES: You mean 2012?

    Jose Manuel Barroso: I think so. And then the European Commission had to intervene to be sure that all the rules of democracy and rule of law principles were respected but it was relatively easy for this issue to be settled. But that was delicate from an institutional point of view, yes, it was delicate but I spoke at that time with President Basescu, Prime Minister Ponta and I think both of them understood. I also had some kind of very discreet role of mediation and I think they both understood that my interest was to see Romania stable and respected, but that was some kind of a delicate moment, from a political point of view. Economically there were also difficult moments but then Romania was, basically, able to respond. We had a programme, as you know, the economic adjustment programme and Romania was reacting positively and I was always pushing for supporting Romania in that moment, also speaking with the International Monetary Fund and others.
    AGERPRES: What would you advise Romanian authorities regarding the process of entering the Eurozone? Romanian authorities set a goal, something like 2019.

    Jose Manuel Barroso: I’m not familiar now with the exact state of preparations, I think the goal should be kept, which year I cannot comment, I frankly think it’s more prudent for me not to comment. But what the euro brings is very important in terms of investment, we have seen that, for instance Slovakia — it went very well with the euro. I know that the latest events regarding the euro situation were sometimes creating panic in public opinion in other countries, but frankly, if you make a serious “bilan” [e.n. — French term for audit, balance sheet], a serious assessment of what happened in the euro, you will see that it was good. Europe would have been in a more serious situation if it wasn’t in the euro. You would have had competitive devaluation, things like fragmentation of the market, some of the biggest European companies would not have invested so much as they have invested in Europe, they would go elsewhere, so the euro is in fact an anchor of stability. So I think it is in the interest of Romania to join the euro, when Romania is ready. When this is depends mostly on your progress.

    AGERPRES: This year, Romanian authorities should have to select new people in top-level positions in the justice system — like the National Anticorruption Agency and so on. What would be your advice, what kind of process should they adopt?

    Jose Manuel Barroso: It’s good to be bold on these matters. A politician who is honest is not afraid of independent authorities. These authorities have to be independent and those who occupy those functions have to be above any form of suspicion — people with integrity, and this is very important. I hope that the authorities will have the courage to nominate people who are really above any suspicion and that have already shown the evidence of their integrity, because that’s very important for the image of Romania and thinking on the matter, you cannot be half-honest, either you are honest or you are not honest. So to have the courage to have independent authorities and to nominate them according to the rules of democracy and with respect to democratic values. More…

  • BTA

    Bulgaria Spends USD 599 Mln on Defence in 2015 – NATO Report

    Brussels, January 29 (BTA correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) – Bulgaria’s defence expenditures in 2015 totalled 599 million US dollars at current prices and exchange rates, which was the smallest amount reported by the country since 2008, according to data unveiled by NATO on Friday concerning the defence spending of every NATO country. In 2008, Bulgaria’s defence expenditures stood at 1.162 billion dollars. More…

  • Security in Europe and Migrant Crisis Dominate Sofia Talks between Borissov, Orban

    Sofia, January 29 (BTA) – Addressing the migrant crisis and ensuring security across Europe were high on the agenda of the Sofia talks of visiting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov. Orban arrived on a visit here Thursday evening.

    Borissov reiterated his idea for temporary closure of the EU external border. “I continue to believe that we can at least take one step forward and immediately close the EU external border until the moment when the problems with the migrant arrivals are solved,” he said.

    He observed that an increasing number of EU countries are beginning to turn down migrants by the thousands. “I hope that we can start to be more honest with the migrants because this influx cannot last forever, with corridors through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia or to the north. And when they get there [at their final destination] they have spent all their money and are sent back. This is even more inhumane than not letting them in and imposing rules,” said the Bulgarian government leader. More…Hungary_PM_ Sofia_visit

  • Tennis: Tecau and Vandeweghe finalists of Australian Open mixed doubles

    Romanian Horia Tecau and American Coco Vandeweghe defeated on Friday Philippine Treat Huey and Slovenian Andreja Klepac, thus qualifying to the mixed doubles final of the Australian Open tennis tournament.

    Tecau and Vandeweghe’s last opponents will be the winners among 1st seed Ivan Dodig (Croatia)/Sania Mirza (India) and 5th seed Bruno Soares (Brazil)/Elena Vesnina (Russia).

    Last year, Tecau played in the mixed double alongside Czech Lucie Hradecka; they lost in the first round. In 2014, he was a finalist with Mirza, and lost to Kristina Mladenovic (France)/Daniel Nestor (Canada). In 2012, he won the Australian Open’s mixed doubles next to American Bethanie Mattek-Sands. More…

  • Minister presents government priorities and strategy on human rights to SPT

    The priorities and the Government strategy on human rights protection were presented on Thursday by Justice Minister Ionas Nikolaou to the members of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“SPT”), who are visiting Cyprus.

    The Subcommittee members have met so far with the House Human Rights Committee, the Central Prison Department, the detention area at Menoyeia as well as police lock-ups in various cities.

    Speaking after the meeting, the Minister said that he reiterated the Government`s determination to continue to work closely with both the UN Subcommittee and with the Ombudswoman, following her recommendations on various issues. He noted that Cyprus seeks the expertise of the Subcommittee and is pleased when it can exchange views and ideas with people who have the knowledge and can provide assistance.

    Nikolaou said that the members of the Subcommittee appeared satisfied with the measures taken by government and with the assurances that were given.

    “I explained the measures the government is taking, our actions and the strategy in order to comply with the recommendations of the Ombudswoman”, he said.

    He explained that the Government has already complied with the recommendations made in a report in 2013 as regard the detention center in Menoyeia, adding that the former Director of the area is currently facing disciplinary proceedings.


  • BTA

    Bulgarian Girl Wins National Geographic Photo Contest

    Sofia, January 28 (BTA) – Eight-year old Radostina Todorova won first place in National Geographic’s 2015 international photo contest for kids, the Bulgarian edition of National Geographic magazine said.

    Winners in the competition were announced at the magazine’s international headquarters in Washington on Thursday. Radostina’s photograph of the Erma River gorge won in the Bold Explorers category. More…

  • Bulgarian President Plevneliev Talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella

    Rome, January 28 (BTA) – Meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev called Italy “an extremely important strategic partner and ally of Bulgaria,” the President’s press secretariat said.

    The two state leaders discussed the vision for the EU’s future enlargement and relations with the EU’s neighbours. Shared views on this matter form a basis for even more active political dialogue between Bulgaria and Italy, said Plevneliev. More…Bulgaria&Italy_presidentsjpeg

  • Actor Florin Piersic celebrates on stage his 80th anniversary

    Hundreds of people attended on Wednesday night the anniversary show ‘Don’t ask how old I am’ dedicated to actor Florin Piersic, who turned 80.

    The actor gave away to the audience the flowers he had received from President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos. After the show, he guided the crowd outside the National Theatre, where Cluj-Napoca Mayor Emil Boc surprised them with fireworks.

    Piersic began his celebratory performance with a recital from Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Peer Gynt’ — his role at the licence exam. The artist confessed the part is very dear to him, because his life was so much like the character’s.

    The event continued with a selection of poems, epigrams and songs, through which he recalled the memory of many Romanian artists who used to be his friends. The public also enjoyed his jokes and specific humour, alongside memories of the actor’s theatre and film life.

    The managing director of the Romanian National Opera Cluj-Napoca, Florin Estefan read a message on President Klaus Iohannis’s behalf, which announced that the actor has been bestowed the Romania Star Order in Rank of Officer; the actor is to receive it in person, in Bucharest, on February 1. Estefan also read a message from Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos, who had added another basket of flowers to the many offered by public personalities.

    “What am I supposed to do with so many flowers? No one is sending an envelope…,” the actor commented humorously, starting to share the flowers with the audience.

    One of the baskets contained a bottle of wine and some cucumbers which he shared, to the public’s delight, with the men in the hall, never forgetting to accompany his gesture with spicy comments. ‘Ma, crastavete! (You, cucumber!) is a joking appellative often used by Piersic, sort of a personal trademark well-known to the Romanian public.

    In another special moment of the gala, Cluj Orthodox Metropolitan Andrei, who turned 67 a few days ago, climbed up the scene and wished Florin Piersic ‘Happy Birthday’ and presented him with an album. The actor kissed the hierach’s forehead. More…

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