New rules will help law enforcement to track down leads online
Police and judicial authorities across the EU would gain easier and faster access to e-evidence such as e-mails or documents under new security proposals aimed at helping them investigate, prosecute and convict criminals and terrorists. The new rules, presented last Tuesday by the Commission, would allow law enforcement in Member States to better track down leads online and across borders, while providing sufficient safeguards for the rights and freedoms of citizens. “We cannot allow criminals and terrorists to exploit modern and electronic communication technologies to hide their criminal actions and evade justice. There must be no hiding place for criminals and terrorists in Europe, online or offline.
Familiar faces come together in the latest right-wing project; Prokopiev constructs a Shadow Cabinet
Three of the oligarchy's political parties have officially joined forces in a new right-wing project and have already indicated that their main goal is to destabilise the state and grab hold of the country's steering wheel. Yes, Bulgaria headed by the failed minister of justice Hristo Ivanov, former PM Ivan Kostov's DSB party currently led by Atanas Atanasov, and Vladislav Panev's The Greens political party, signed a coalition deal on 12 April in Sofia. The new union is called Democratic Bulgaria.
 
The Fake News Factory created by the Bulgarian oligarchy has activated its somewhat overused weapon, Tatyana Doncheva, to spread the latest piece of fake news serving their talking points, always featuring some kind of manipulation concerning Delyan Peevski.
 
Farewell to wasteful throw-away fashion
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Squandering and wasteful behaviours and the manner of just 'use and throw away' should be stopped, said MEPs, overwhelmingly backing last Wednesday in Strasbourg four new legislative proposals on waste management and the circular economy.
New loans under Juncker Plan to mobilise €1bn for agriculture
The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced last week the launch of a new financing initiative that aims to unlock close to €1bn of investment in the agriculture and bio-economy sector, the EU press service reported. The bio-economy sector encompasses the value chains of production and the processing of food, material and energy using renewable biological resources from land and sea.
Berlin, Paris talk Eurozone reform
German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled her willingness to find compromises with France when it comes to reforming the EU, as she hosted French President Emmanuel Macron for talks on 19 April. Macron headed to Berlin, hoping to breathe fresh life into his grand vision for EU reforms in the face of growing German resistance.
Investing in people skills is key priority
The principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and how they can be applied in order to improve workforce skills and qualifications as a means to fight long-term unemployment, and how to ensure equal opportunities and access to the labour market, were focus of a two-day meeting of EU employment and social policy ministers in Sofia on 17-18 April.
Cutting CO2 of waste, agriculture, transport
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Carbon dioxide emitted by transport, farming, housing and waste to be cut by 30% by 2030, and deforestation to be balanced out by planting new trees, foresee two very important EU laws backed by the MEPs at their plenary session in Strasbourg on 17 April. The new rules will safeguard that the EU meets its overall collective commitment in view of the Paris Climate Agreement to lower with 40% greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, with respect to 1990 levels.
Albania, Macedonia backed to start membership talks
The EU backed the opening of formal membership talks with Albania and Macedonia as the bloc looks to expand into the Balkans and grow for the first time in years.
Balkans need to change to get on EU-bound course
The Balkans should change to resemble Europe, not the other way round, so the region can then use European funds for its development. This is the position expressed by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov following his meeting with the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci. During his visit to Pristina, Borisov was presented with the Order of Independence for his contribution to Kosovo's freedom and independence. “Kosovo's progress is remarkable and the country is on the right path - the European one,” Borisov observed. However, he urged all countries of the region to overcome their differences because they would not be acceded to the EU until that happens.
Fake world
Prof. Mihail Konstantinov
After the controversial US presidential elections held on 8 November 2016, the topic of fake news quickly became a favourite of everyone, from politicians to analysts, journalists, sociologists, taxi drivers and hairdressers. Of course, I have nothing against all of these professions, and I even have great respect for them. Fake news is fundamentally dangerous because it creates a fake world.
Budget talks will decide how global will be Europe
Susi Dennison
Although talks on the EU's next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) might appear dull on the surface, we should force ourselves to take notice of them and emphasise the long-term importance of the external tranche of the budget. The European Union is engaged in quite a few self-defining processes that regularly make the front pages: learning to live with a growing internal faction of nativist, right-wing national governments, preparing for the election of many of their sympathisers to the next European Parliament in 2019, and negotiating the United Kingdom's departure from the club. But, far from the headlines, in windowless meeting rooms near the Schuman roundabout in Brussels, the EU began last month a set of negotiations that could be just as critical to its future.
Two Koreas to formally end war
South Korean officials have discussed ways to formally end the Korean War with their counterparts in the United States and North Korea, officials in Seoul confirmed last week. The move comes amid thawing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and just days ahead of a 27 April meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Moon said, on 19 April, North Korea has expressed its commitment to “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula and is not seeking conditions. He added that big-picture agreements about denuclearisation, establishing a peace regime, and normalisation of relations between the two Koreas and the United States, should not be difficult to reach through summits between the North and South, and between the North and the United States.
Misleading lull in devastated Syria
A week after the Western airstrikes on Syrian government sites, а team of international chemical weapons inspectors came under fire and failed to reach the scene of the alleged poison gas attack. The US and allied nations believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Russian backed forces killed at least 40 people with banned weapons in Damascus suburb of Douma.
EC forwards deals with Japan, Singapore
The European Commission announced it has presented to the Council last Wednesday the outcome of negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan and the trade and investment agreements with Singapore. The quick implementation of trade deals with two of the EU closest Asian partners was seen as one of the priorities by the Commission of President Jean-Claude Juncker. “The impact of these agreements will go far beyond our respective shores - it sends a clear and unambiguous message that we stand together against protectionism and in defence of multilateralism. This is more important than ever,” President Juncker said.
White House steps back on new Moscow sanctions
President Donald Trump put the brakes last Monday on a preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, shifting from an announcement by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley that the White House is readying a new set of measures. While Haley had said that sanctions on Russian companies behind the equipment related to Assad's alleged chemical weapons attack would be announced last Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trump told his security advisers he was upset on imposing new sanctions.
SAP eyes expansion in Saudi Arabia
German software maker SAP eyes to generate new business as a result of Saudi Arabia's “Vision 2030” plan, news wires reported last week. There is a big push towards cloud computing in Saudi Arabia, Luka Mucic, chief financial officer at SAP told CNBC.
Art scene Germany
Penka Momchilova, BTA
The best that German contemporary art has to offer, seen through the eyes and experiences of Bulgarian artists, presents Goethe Institut in Sofia with its new programme 1+1: Art Scene Germany. The first exhibition is Nothing Gets Lost by Vikenti Komitski and his guest Francisco Montoya Cazarez, which opened on 19 April. As part of the programme, a different Bulgarian artist, living and working in Germany, will be invited for each event. They will have the chance to present a joint or a curatorial project with another artist of their choosing, also living in Germany.
We are measuring up to the world's best
Lora Vetorato
The Sofia Opera and Ballet is a national house with international impact and global recognition. Therefore, the responsibility we have to the national repertoire is of immense importance, parallel with the new stage life of masterpieces of the classical heritage.
H.M. King Simeon II - an extraordinary fate
The Embassy of Italy in Sofia hosted last Wednesday a gathering with H.M. King Simeon II on the occasion of the release of his autobiography in Italian. The book entitled Simeone II di Bulgaria. Un destino singolare (Simeon II of Bulgaria. An Extraordinary Fate) is published by Gangemi Editore International, Roma.
Shepherdess holy vision
Adelina Lozanova
In the heart of Bulgaria, some 26km from the town of Sevlievo and 4km away from the village of Batoshevo, is situated a friary called The Assumption of Mary.
In Brief
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Borisov welcomes Navracsics
 
Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov (R) welcomes Education Commissioner Tibor Navracsics, who was last Thursday in Sofia for the European Youth Conference. Photo: EPA

EU, IMF mull Greek debt relief
 
The IMF and the EU are discussing options for future debt relief for Greece, but are not considering any bailout extension, Eurozone head Mario Centeno said. Photo: EPA

Anti-reform protests shake France
 
Demonstrators clashed with riot police on 19 April in Paris, as anti-reform protests and rail strikes continue to shake France. Photo: AP

EU prepares to launch its own supercomputer any time soon
 
Bulgaria and 15 other EU Member States are creating an enterprise in order to start making European supercomputers, Digital Economy Commissioner Mariya Gabriel said last week in Sofia at the opening of a conference named Shaping Europe's Digital Future and held under the Bulgarian EU Presidency. Supercomputers are in position to revolutionise medicine, security and transport, and the EU has to lead this trend, Gabriel added.

Protection status granted to half a million asylum seekers
 
The 28 EU Member States granted protection status to 538,000 asylum seekers in 2017, down by almost 25% from 2016, Eurostat announced. In addition, the Member States received nearly 24,000 resettled refugees. The largest group of beneficiaries remained citizens of Syria (33%), followed by citizens of Afghanistan (19%) and those of Iraq (12%). Of the 175,800 Syrian citizens granted protection status, more than 70% received it in Germany.

Italy's Luca Jahier elected as EESC president
 
On 18 April, Italy's Luca Jahier has been elected as president of the European Economic and Social Committee, the EU body representing organised civil society. The two new vice-presidents are Milena Angelova (L) from Bulgaria, responsible for budget, and Isabel Cano Aguilar (R) from Spain, for communication. Saying that Europe needs “rEUnaissance”, the new president pointed out that sustainable development, promotion of peace, strengthening the role of culture and giving a voice to Europe's young people, will top EESC agenda.

Regulatory power over automakers strengthens
 
The European Commission gained greater authority over the approval of car models across Europe under a new law meant to prevent a repeat of Volkswagen Group's diesel-emissions scandal. The Commission won the power to fine automakers up to €30,000 per faulty car and order recalls as part of more centralized market oversight approved by the European Parliament on 19 April in Strasbourg.

Europe bans some Brazilian meat imports on health reasons
 
The EU suspended last Thursday imports of some Brazilian meat products, mostly poultry, citing health reasons in a move that affected 20 plants that had been authorised to export to the Union, the Commission said in a statement. The EC said the ban was related to “deficiencies detected in the Brazilian official control system”. The ban will apply 15 days after its publication in the official journal of the EU.

Planes over Cannes
 
As part of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, three planes flew last Friday over the city of Cannes prior to the second stage of the competition. Photo: EPA

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