Antonio Tajani takes EP lead
Maria Koleva, Brussels
At an all-day-long procedure in the final fourth round in the evening of 17 January, the European Parliament elected Italian MEP Antonio Tajani from the centre-right European People’s Party group as its new President till 2019. I want to be a president building bridges, working with every group and every member of this parliament; we need stability, we need to work for the future of the EU, said the newly elected EP President immediately after the handover from Martin Schulz (S&D), the outgoing EP President, who was at the top of this chamber since 2012.
May bids farewell to single market
At long last, the British PM put an end to speculations about what kind of post-Brexit relationship with the EU the UK would aim for. Leaving the single market and the customs union and ending the legal jurisdiction in Britain of the European Court of Justice – with these key points in her speech last Tuesday
Accords unlock over €1bn for SMEs under Investment Plan
The European Investment Fund (EIF) has signed agreements in France and Austria that will unlock over €1bn worth of loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across nine countries, the EU press service reported.
EU-US insurance deal boosts mutual trade
More than 20 years of talks between the EU and the US ended successfully on 13 January with a bilateral agreement set to boost transatlantic trade in insurance and re-insurance, news wires reported. The agreement will apply the same requirements to both EU and US re-insurers when they place business in each other's jurisdictions.
Fifth President takes oath of office
The Fifth President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev and Vice-President Iliyana Yotova took their oaths of office at the parliament on 19 January. Radev entered the National Assembly accompanied by his wife Desislava and walked the red carpet along a line of guardsmen.
€1.4bn worth of projects under Juncker plan
Bulgarian firms’ projects worth a combined €1.4bn have applied for cheaper loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and under the Juncker plan.
Europe under election stress, Brexit and Trump surprises
Mark Leonard, Jeremy Shapiro
Last year, we began the year with a lot of hubris by predicting 13 trends that would define European foreign policy in 2016. We ended the year with getting 7.5 out of 13.
Traps hidden in Macedonian Albanians Platform
A seven-point document pretentiously entitled Platform was presented to the parties in Macedonia by three political formations of the country’s Albanian population at the height of the local Christmas celebrations. The move was in keeping with the idiosyncrasies of the former Yugoslav republic’s political culture, which see the Albanians using the most sacred Christian holidays to send their most significant messages to their Macedonian compatriots - even though during these periods of festivities no one is in the mindset to decipher political recommendations and conditions coming from the “other side” of the Vardar River where predominantly Albanian districts are situated.
Ukraine sends Russia to UN court
Ukraine filed last Monday a lawsuit at the United Nations' highest court demanding that Russia immediately halt its support for pro-Moscow separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine, news wires reported. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry accused Russia of “acts of terrorism and discrimination in the course of its unlawful aggression” in the filing to the International Court of Justice, according to a ministry statement. No date was immediately announced for hearings in the lawsuit.
Serbia and Kosovo avoid armed conflict
A new regional war nearly broke out in the Balkans. Kosovo special police units last Saturday prevented a train painted in Serbia's national colours and bearing the words "Kosovo is Serbia" from crossing the border and entering Mitrovica, in the northern part of the country. Many of the remaining Serbs in Kosovo live around Mitrovica.
Obama gives $500m to UN Green Fund
In one of his final acts as US president, Barack Obama gave last Tuesday $500m to the so-called Green Climate Fund aimed at helping poor countries develop clean energy technology, news wires reported. The fund, which is under UN auspices, is a major part of the Paris climate deal agreed in 2015. The payment is the second from the US and with it the US contribution reached $1bn. The fund is supposed to reach $100bn by 2020, with both public and private funding from around the world.
Auto, energy giants form hydrogen council
A group of leading energy, engineering and automotive firms has this evening debuted a new hydrogen council designed to promote and accelerate the adoption of hydrogen-based technologies capable of slashing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Luxottica and Essilor create eyewear giant
Italy's Luxottica and France's Essilor have agreed a €46bn merger to create a global powerhouse in the eyewear industry with annual revenue of more than €15bn, the two companies said in a statement on 16 January.
Samson et Dalila - one different production
Sofia Opera and Ballet is staging a production of Samson et Dalila, the world-renowned masterpiece by French composer Camille Saint-Saens, on 27, 28 and 29 January. This version of the opera has a cast that includes the star of the Wiener Staatsoper Nadia Krasteva, Conductor Iurie Florea, Daniel Magdal as Samson and a plethora of leading Sofia Opera soloists.
I paint with words
Sadness is one of the basic human emotions. Banal as it may sound, the poet’s soul is vulnerable, and there is no such thing as a merry poet.
Visual chronicles of Bulgarian art
An exhibition constituting the concluding phase of the Visual Chronicles project, whose aim is to create an archive of Bulgarian art during the second half of the 20th century, is on display at the Sofia City Art Gallery until 12 February 2017.
Spiritual heart of Bulgaria
Rila Monastery, often referred to as “Bulgarias spiritual heart”, is located amidst the thick coniferous forests of the mountain of the same name at an altitude of over 1,100 metres.