• Bulgarian President Plevneliev: Bulgaria Supports Ukraine’s European Future

    Sofia, June 30 (BTA) – President Rosen Plevneliev once again confirmed Bulgaria’s categorical support for Ukraine’s European future, speaking at a joint news conference here on Thursday with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, who arrived on a one-day official visit.

    Plevneliev noted that European integration is one of the main stimuli for positive reforms and change. The EU is a project for peace, for human and economic development of the nations, a project for cooperation between the peoples, he said.

    Regardless if it is with or without Britain, there is a need for a stronger EU, for strong nation states. Bulgaria is strong because of the EU and within the EU, Plevneliev also said, adding that this is why this country will continue to support EU integration. “I believe in it and will work so that the EU, with or without the United Kingdom, continues what it had been doing until now, and do it even more efficiently and tangibly, and proves the need for this unique project for peace. Without the EU and without the EU’s partnership with Ukraine, this peace will not be guaranteed in the way we would like to see it in every corner in Europe,” the Bulgarian President said. According to him, the EU will continue extending its hand to Ukraine and the integration process will intensify. The EU is a unique project, which must display its power and that requires much closer cooperation and integration with Ukraine, he noted.

    Ukraine’s President Poroshenko said that his country wants a strong and united Europe, which shows solidarity with Ukraine. He said that he is not among the politicians who view the so called Brexit as a destructive phenomenon. According to him, the EU will become more mobilized and stronger after the Brexit, and will find a decent reply to the populists’s arguments. He noted the need to overcome Eurosceptic attitudes, because only a united Europe can be strong. He explained that nothing threatens Ukraine’s European aspirations, adding that his country has already gone through a crucial moment on its path towards the EU and no Brexit can stop it.

    Three bilateral documents were signed in Plevneliev’s and Poroshenko’s presence – an intergovernmental agreement for cooperation in disaster response; memorandum between the sports ministries of Bulgaria and Ukraine for youth cooperation; an agreement between the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the State Space Agency of Ukraine for cooperation within the framework of the space experiment Ionosat Micro on board the Microsat-M spacecraft.

    Prime Minister Boyko Borissov also conferred with the visiting Ukrainian head of State. Bulgaria has always upheld the idea that when a country is presented with formulated criteria as a condition for achieving specific goals, and that country fulfills those criteria, then it must be able to take advantage of the rights it is entitled to. Bulgaria will support the introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens travelling to the EU, because Ukraine has already met the conditions, said Borissov during his meeting with Poroshenko, quoted by Cabinet’s press service.

    The Prime Minister expressed Bulgaria’s support for Ukraine’s political association and economic integration with the EU. Bulgaria can provide expert assistance to Ukraine in this process, he added.

    Borissov stressed the need to completely fulfill the Minsk agreements, so that the situation in Ukraine could be brought back to normal and bilateral trade and economic relations can be restored to their usual levels, along with those between the EU and Russia. The mutually imposed sanctions between the EU and Russia and the situation in Ukraine have a negative impact on business contacts between Bulgaria and Ukraine, which has led to a significant decrease in trade in recent years, the Prime Minister noted. According to him, restoring the intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation, which has not been in session since 2010, would help solve the existing problems and return the good traditions of partnership between business organizations in the two countries.

    Later on Thursday, the presidents of Bulgaria and Ukraine unveiled a monument to Ukrainian poet and writer Taras Shevchenko at Vuzrazhdane Square in Sofia, the Bulgarian head of State’s press secretariat reported. Poroshenko expressed gratitude for the implementation of the project in the Bulgarian capital. In his words, the monument embodies the image of young and energetic Ukraine, which today walks down the path of Europe.


  • Montenegrin Parliament President Pajovic Visits Sofia

    Sofia, June 30 (BTA) – National Assembly Deputy Chair Dimiter Glavchev conferred here on Thursday with the President of the Parliament of Montenegro, Darko Pajovic. The meeting was attended by the Chair of the Montenegro-Bulgaria Friendship Group, Tarzan Milosevic, and Bulgarian Ambassador to Montenegro Mladen Chervenyakov. The guests attended the ratification of Montenegro’s NATO accession protocol, the Bulgarian Parliament reported. More…Monte_Negro_parliament

  • UK’s support to Cyprus not expressed just in words, new High Commissioner says

    The United Kingdom`s support to the efforts to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem is not expressed just in words, new High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to the Republic of Cyprus, John Christopher William (Matthew) Kidd, has said.

    Presenting his credentials to President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, the High Commissioner, who also served previously in Cyprus as HC, said that the work of President Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader at the Cyprus talks, `have brought this goal significantly closer than when I left two years ago`.

    `The shape of a settlement that can be just, viable and lasting is becoming clearer. Your negotiations are steadily reducing the number of issues remaining to be settled, and are starting to build hope across the island that a solution is within reach` he pointed out.

    He added `it is easy to say that my Government supports your efforts. And it is true. But our support is expressed not just in words. You expect of us more than that. Always within the framework of a negotiating process under Cypriot leadership, we will seek to offer ideas where they can help; influence, where we have it; and practical experience, to help ensure that the many steps that will be needed to put a settlement into practice, robustly and durably, will be in place when they are needed`.

    `It is a big task; and a big responsibility. I know that I have my Government’s backing to make this support for the settlement process as active and helpful as we can; as the fullest possible way to express, and live up to, the bonds that unite our governments and peoples”, he concluded.

    Referring to bilateral ties he said that they have extended to more fields adding that `any two countries, which find that they vote together on 90% of the business of the European Union can be confident that they are to a high degree like-minded, and not just on the EU’s agenda`.

    `Building on that like-mindedness to the benefit of both countries, will be a central goal of my second mission here. I hope that we can take forward our engagement in the fields of economic growth and prosperity; our collaboration in many aspects of security and defence; our shared Commonwealth membership; and our shared efforts to extend the huge range of personal links tying Cypriots to Britain and British people to Cyprus` he said.

    Referring to Brexit, he said that he would work to ensure that the design of the UK`s future relationship with the EU does not weaken the bilateral bonds between Cyprus and the UK or reduce the scope to keep working together `wherever we are like-minded`.

    Receiving the credentials, the President of Cyprus referred to Brexit, pointing out that `we are at the beginning of a long process, whose aim should be the smoothest possible exit of the UK from the EU. The result of this process will define the evolution of the relations of the UK with the EU`.

    `The excellent bilateral relations and close ties that exist between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom were in place before the accession of the two countries to the EU and will continue to bind us` he said.

    President Anastasiades pledged that the Republic of Cyprus will work to further enhance and deepen its relations with the UK so that the interests of the two countries and their peoples are fully ensured on the basis of the new conditions created.

    As regards the ongoing Cyprus talks, he said that the two sides have reached a common understanding on an important number of issues related to the chapters of governance and power-sharing, property, economy, and the EU.

    However, he added that significant differences still remain in the aforementioned four chapters, while we have yet to hold any substantive discussions on two decisive chapters, namely territorial readjustments and security and guarantees, as well as on other issues, which are fundamental and constitute an integral aspect of the comprehensive settlement, such as Day 1 of the settlement and what it would entail and drafting of the Federal Constitution, Laws and Legislation.

    `Nonetheless, following the meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader on June 08, 2016 and the methodology that has been agreed for the way forward, I am confident that more rapid progress can be achieved in the coming months. This is due to the fact that we will intensify the negotiating process through holding leaders meetings twice a week and during our meetings each of the thematic clusters that we have created will be discussed` the President said.

    Reiterating the framework of the Cyprus solution, based on the UN resolutions and the EU principles and values, he said that Cyprus counts on the strong support of the international community `and of our close friends, such as the UK`.

    `This support encompasses conveying the message to Turkey, an occupying force in Cyprus, that it needs to grasp the opportunity offered by the current juncture in the negotiations, acknowledge its own historic responsibility and contribute concretely to the process, not via rhetoric assurances, but through the adoption of concrete steps, which will positively underpin the climate of hope prevailing in the island` he stressed.

    As regards bilateral ties, he said that the last few years the cooperation has gained a renewed impetus and there are new areas of cooperation, such as tackling asymmetrical threats, addressing regional challenges and increasing security cooperation in the wake of terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere.

    Referring to the Cypriot economy, he recalled that it is now emerging out of its most challenging period to date and that last spring, Cyprus has managed to successfully complete the implementation of the macroeconomic adjustment programme that was agreed with EU Institutions and IMF in March 2013.

    He pointed out that Cyprus still needs to tackle significant challenges and continue a policy of changes, reforms and rationalisation of public finances in a serious manner, sharpen its competitive edge and attract foreign direct investments.

    `In this respect, we are deeply thankful for the assistance the UK has provided us with the herculean task of reforming the civil service. Our ultimate goal is to achieve growth, modern institutions and sustainable prosperity for all Cypriots` he concluded.

    CNA/AAR/GCH 2016

  • Labour Ministry: Brexit has no immediate impact on Romanians in UK

    The exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union will not have an immediate impact for Romanians already working in Britain, the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly answered on Thursday an inquiry of AGERPRES on the consequences of Brexit.

    “On the long run, however, the free circulation of individuals, goods and services depends on the negotiation of terms between the United Kingdom and the European Union, a process to start, as we mentioned, after the UK submits its official request to leave the EU. Nevertheless, as there is no precedent for the negotiation of the withdrawal of a member state from the EU, we think the medium and long-term effects cannot be evaluated and anticipated right now,” the ministry’s answer reads.

    According to the ministry, British official statistics mentioned on 27 August 2015 that 170,000 Romanian citizens were residents of the UK in December 2014, 130,000 in December 2013, 101,000 in December 2012, and 94,000 in December 2011. The same source revealed that 65,000 Romanians and Bulgarians entered the UK in 2015, which was 16,000 more than in 2014, while 7,000 citizens of the two countries left (2,000 more than over the previous year). Out of the newly arrived citizens of Romania and Bulgaria in 2015, 52,000 went to the UK for work — 17,000 more than in 2014.

    Statistical data also showed 232,000 Romanians and Bulgarians employed in Britain in the first quarter 2016, as compared to 186,000 in Q1 2014, and on a quarterly advance by 17,000.

    The latest statistics, released on 19 May for Q1 2016, showed 175,000 Romanians working in the UK, or 30,000 more than in 2014. More…

  • “Startups4peace” competition encourages Cypriot entrepreneurs to collaborate as peace talks progress

    As peace talks progress in Cyprus, entrepreneurs from both communities on the island should start thinking of ways to enhance ties and cooperation, organizers of the “Startups4peace” competition underlined on Wednesday, during an informative event, at the UN-controlled buffer zone, in Nicosia.

    Anu Saarela, the Ambassador of Finland in Cyprus, noted that Startups4peace is an endeavor that aims to build new networks among startup communities, help entrepreneurship, as well as promote peace.

    “The day Cyprus reunites is drawing closer and we have to prepare and think what we can do in this new environment,” Saarela said, while speaking to an audience of entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, at the kick-off event, held at the Home for Cooperation.

    The competition is hosted by the Embassy of Finland, in partnership with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (TCCC).

    According to the organizers, it aims to encourage innovative startup entrepreneurship with an intercommunal vision to apply. Winners will have the chance to win tickets for “Slush”, a major startup and tech gathering in Helsinki, later this year.

    The competition runs until August 31, 2016 and two successful teams, with up to two people each, will be sent to the Finish capital to pitch their ideas in front of an audience of potential investors and media representatives, and have the chance to network with fellow entrepreneurs.

    Leonidas Paschalidis, Director of Development at CCCI, said they supported this initiative together with the TCCC “from the very first minute”, since the two Chambers are “great believers of the reunification” of Cyprus.

    Kemal Baykalli, Deputy Secretary General at the TCCC, said the two chambers have been cooperating closely to promote reconciliation in Cyprus, since this would be to the advantage of everyone living on the island.

    Ghita Wallin, the Chief Marketing Officer of Slush, explained during the event how Slush fosters cooperation between entrepreneurs, aspiring to see their ideas kick-off, and potential investors. The non-profit initiative is the leading event in Europe, really focused on startups, she added.

    Wallin also referred to the way collaboration has evolved among entrepreneurs from the Nordic countries. She said that in order to bring about results, one needs to have several companies collaborating, which in turn “means that you need to have trust in other people in your community and your ecosystem” of entrepreneurs. Investing in the success of this “ecosystem” will eventually multiply the initial input, she noted.

    Matias Myllyrinne, head of game and technology development at “Wargaming”, a Nicosia-based game developer, shared his experience with Slush and offered insight into how best to present an idea to potential investors.

    This is the second time the competition is running in Cyprus and organizers invited last year`s winners to share their experiences from attending Slush. The event was moderated by journalists Peggy Spinelli and Yurdakul Cafer.

    In order to be eligible to apply for the competition, those interested have to be Cypriot and resident in Cyprus, and their project needs to have an intercommunal element. Organizers will pre-select 7-8 teams that will be subsequently invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of specialists at the end of September or beginning of October. The two best teams will win tickets for Slush. From Thursday onwards, application forms will be available on the website of the Embassy of Finland in Cyprus.

    Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. UN-led peace talks are currently underway to find a negotiated settlement that would reunite the country under a federal roof.


  • Employment rate for working age population 59.8pct in Q1 2016

    In the first quarter of 2016, the employment rate for working age population (15-64 years) was 59.8 per cent, down from the previous quarter, the National Institute of Statistics informed AGERPRES on Thursday.

    In Q1, Romania had an active population of 8.834 million person, of which 8.2489 million employed and 585,000 unemployed.

    The employment rate was higher for men (67.2pct, against 52.2pct for women), and among persons from urban areas (61.2pct, as compared to 58.0pct in rural areas. The employment rate for youth (15-24 years) was 20.4pct.

    The employment rate for population aged 20-64 years was 64.5pct, 5.5 percentage points short of the national target of 70pct established in the context of the Strategy Europe 2020.

    The unemployment rate remained unchanged from Q4 2015, at 6.6pct. By gender, the unemployment rate was higher among men (7.6pct, as compared to 5.3pct among women). By residence, the difference between the unemployment rates in urban (6.7pct) and rural areas (6.5pct) was just 0.2 percentage points. Unemployment was higher (21.8pct) among youth aged 15-24. More…

  • Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Donchev, EU Commissioner Sefcovic Discuss Key Energy Issues

    Brussels/Sofia, June 29 (BTA) – Deputy Prime Minister in charge of EU funds and economic policy Tomislav Donchev on Wednesday met with EU Energy Union Commissioner and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic.

    At the meeting wit representative of various bodies of the European Commission, Donchev raised the issue of the Belene N-plant with view of a decision of an arbitration court, Bulgaria’s plans to build a gas hub and negotiations with the Commission about the liberalization of the gas market. More…EU_DeputyPM

  • Eurostat: Cyprus had 7800 tertiary education graduates in 2014, 43.3% in Law, Social Sciences and Business

    Cyprus had 7800 tertiary education graduates in 2014, 43.3% of whom majored in Law, Social Sciences and Business, according to data released today by Eurostat. Another 19.1% majored in education, 10.3% in engineering and construction, 7.7% in health and welfare, 7.3% in humanities and 6.3% in Science, maths and computers.

    Almost 5 million tertiary education students graduated in the European Union (EU) in 2014: 58% were women and 42% men. Male dominated education fields are Engineering, manufacturing and construction (where men account for 73% of the graduates in this field) and Science, mathematics and computing (58%). On the other hand, four out of five graduates in Education are women (80%). Another field where women are largely over-represented is Health and welfare, with 75% female graduates.

    The largest share of graduates in all Member States studied Social science, business and law. In Bulgaria, this field was followed by nearly half of all graduates (49%). It accounted for a large share also in Luxembourg (46%), Cyprus (44%) and Lithuania (43%).

    One in five graduates in Romania, Austria, Finland (all 21%) and Germany (20%) received their diplomas in Engineering, manufacturing and construction. The share of graduates in Health and welfare was particularly high in Belgium (25%), where one in four graduates was in this field, and exceeded 20% also in in Sweden (23%), Denmark (21%) and Finland (20%). Humanities and arts were popular in the United Kingdom and Italy (both 16%). In the United Kingdom, 17% graduated in Science, mathematics and computing. This field had a relatively large share also in Malta (15%) and Germany (14%). By far the largest share of Education graduates was in Luxembourg (26%).

    In all Member States, there were more women among tertiary education graduates than men (58% of graduates were women at EU level). The share of female graduates was particularly high in Estonia and Poland (both 66%). The most balanced gender distribution was observed in Germany (51%) and Ireland (52%). Engineering, manufacturing, and construction is clearly dominated by men at the EU level (73% of the graduates in this field are men) and in all the Member States.

    The share of male graduates in this field ranged from 61% in Poland to 85% in Ireland. Science, mathematics and computing is another male field in most Member States – apart from Romania (41% of the graduates in this field are men), Portugal (43%), Cyprus (46%), Italy (47%) and Bulgaria (50%).

    The highest share of male graduates in Science, mathematics and computing was in Netherlands (73%), well above the EU level (58%). Women are over-represented in Education in all the Member States – their share in this field in the EU was 80% and ranged from 62% in Luxembourg to 97% in Romania. Also in Health and welfare, female graduates dominated both on the EU level (75%) and in all the Member States, with the highest share in Estonia (90%) and the lowest in Cyprus (65%).


  • JusMin Pruna: Romania supports Georgia’s European, Euro-Atlantic agenda

    Romania supports the democratisation efforts, as well as the European and Euro-Atlantic agenda of Georgia, Romania’s Justice Minister Raluca Pruna said at the end of a visit to Georgia.

    “Romania was the first EU member state to have ratified Georgia’s Association Agreement signed on June 2014. Romania fully supports Georgia’s efforts to become a democratic society in the Southern Caucasus, as well as its European and Euro-Atlantic agenda. Romania will continue to grant support to Georgia in all European bodies, for the visa liberalisation for Georgian citizens,” Pruna is quoted as saying in a press statement by the Justice Ministry (MJ) released on Wednesday.

    According to the MJ, during her visit Pruna continued talks initiated in Bucharest on March 21 with her Georgian counterpart Thea Tsulukiani, setting concrete cooperation directions in support of justice reform started in Tbilisi and the exchange of good practices on a technical level between the two countries.

    On her visit to Georgia, the Romanian justice minister also met Minister for Penitentiaries and Probation Kakhi Kakhishvili, Vice-President of the Georgian Supreme Court of Justice Mzia Todua, head of the National Agency of Public Registers Papuna Ughrekhelidze, as well as Georgian Orthodox Church Patriarch Ilia II. More…

  • Cyprus’ FM discusses Brexit with his French counterpart

    Foreign Minister Ioannis Kakoulides and Foreign Minister of the France Jean-Marc Ayrault discussed Tuesday the developments arising from the outcome of the referendum in the UK to exit from the European Union, in a telephone conversation.

    According to an official announcement the telephone conversation was initiated by the French Minister.

    “The two Ministers exchanged views on the next steps and agreed to be in continuous contact, while there was a common perception for dealing with the situation calmly, with unity and continuity. The EU-27 will be safeguarded and enhanced “the statement says.

    CNA/TNE/GCH 2016

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