Proposals were criticised by activists as not going far enough
The Commission proposed last Wednesday that its Transparency Register evolve into a mandatory system covering all EU institutions - Parliament, Council and Commission, the EU press service reported. While the Commission has for a while made meetings with its decision-makers conditional on interested representatives being publicly listed in a Transparency Register, registration has been voluntary. There have been around 4,000 new entries in the Register since November 2014. “Citizens have the right to know who tries to influence EU law-making,” EC First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said while presenting the proposal. ”We propose a simple rule: no meeting with decision-makers without prior registration.
Keeping low interest rates for too long is risky, ECB chief warns
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi issued a fresh plea to Еurozone governments on 26 September to help out the ECB by enacting growth-boosting overhauls, underlining how central banks are moving closer to the limits of what their stimulus policies can achieve.
 
At the summit in Vienna the prime minister called for setting up safe zones in third countries such as Libya
Zornitsa Poleganova
The European Union should close its borders and set up safe zones for refugees in third countries such as Libya, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov suggested at a Vienna summit held to discuss migration along the Balkan route. The leaders of the 10 countries that migrants bound for western Europe are crossing along the Balkan route gathered in Vienna on 24 September with the goal of finding a way to stem or reduce the flow.
 
Solidarity can't be imposed, it has to come from the heart
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The Bibliotheque Solvay in Brussels was the venue of the wide-ranging TV debate on Europe’s future, held on 27 September between Jean-Claude Juncker, EC President, and Martin Schulz, EP President. The organisers FRANCE 24 and RFI maybe chose this exact place not by chance, since about two years ago the two politicians, representatives of the two major political parties in Europe - Schulz – of the socialist and democrats family and Juncker, from EPP, met for their first TV dispute as rivals.
Using EU money should be closely bound to results
Maria Koleva, Brussels
European Union budget represents just 1% of GNI but contributes for a 4% boost of national GDP of the member countries. This reminder was made by Kristalina Georgieva, EC Vice-President holding the budget portfolio, who hosted on 27 September in Brussels the second edition of the EU Budget Focused on Results conference.
Perpetrators profiles vary very widely
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Unfortunately, in many Member States the threat of terror attacks is very high, very complex and with very diverse nature, said EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove during his debate on Monday with Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) MEPs on the state of play in the fight against terrorism and lessons learned by the recent attacks in Europe.
MEPs take up Bahamas affair along with Panama Papers
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The EP committee that will make inquiry into the Pan­ama Papers information on offshore companies and their owners launched on 27 September its work with a hearing of some of the investigative journalists who revealed the scandal.
Cutting red tape to help business access funds
In line with the initiative “EU budget focused on results” and with the efforts for better regulation, the Commission last Tuesday took stock of the work conducted by the High Level Group on Simplification for the beneficiaries of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI Funds).
Hi-tech converge on Plovdiv
Eli Krumova
Innovations are the highlight of the 11 specialised exhibitions within the framework of the 2016 Autumn Edition of the International Technical Fair launched on 26 September in Plovdiv. Over 600 leading companies from 33 countries demonstrate products and services in the fields of machine building; building materials, machines and technology; electronics and electrical engineering; robotics; power engineering and ecology.
Commissioners for sale
Neyka Krasteva
Even if one earns piles of money, it is never enough and one often looks for ways to earn more, be it by circumventing or outright breaking the rules. Unfortunately, this applies to some European commissioners too. After all, they are only human. Their job is considered to involve serious responsibility, thus the high remuneration of €20,000 a month, not including covered rent, travel and other expenses. Apparently, it is not enough and they are forced to work a second job, despite the fact that the European commissioner’s code of conduct expressly forbids it.
EU should not be afraid of data
Andrus Ansip
Imagine waking up in a room whose temperature is exactly as you want it. Your sleep-tracking wearable device has already switched on the lights. The app knows you are awake, so the coffee machine starts to brew. A fantasy of the future? Not really. The 'smart home' is fast becoming a reality.
Clinton vs Trump: Round first
Democrat Hillary Clinton forced Republican Donald Trump onto defence over his temperament, refusal to release his taxes, and his past comments about race and women during the first Presidential debate held in Hempstead, New York. According to CNN, Clinton delivered a strong performance in which she demonstrated a command of policy and a sense of humour.
US threatens to halt talks with Russia
Obama administration officials have begun considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options, as rising tensions with Moscow diminish hopes for a diplomatic solution, according to US officials.
OPEC surprisingly agrees output curb
The oil cartel OPEC agreed last Wednesday modest oil output cuts in the first such deal since 2008, with the group's leader Saudi Arabia softening its stance on arch-rival Iran amid mounting pressure from low oil prices. “OPEC made an exceptional decision today. After two and a half years, OPEC reached consensus to manage the market,” said Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who had repeatedly clashed with Saudi Arabia during previous meetings.
Anheuser-Busch InBev takes over SABMiller
The shareholders of SABMiller last Wednesday overwhelmingly backed the brewer's $100 billion-plus takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev, clearing the last big hurdle for one of the largest corporate mergers in history, news wires reported.
Cinema and music in giddy whirlwind
The Jazz legend Chet Baker, the phenomenal Janis Joplin, the great Miles Davis, the celebrated David Bowie and the inimitable Prince will be in the focus of this year’s Kinomania film festival. Its 30th edition also offers the latest project of renowned director Carlos Saura - J: Beyond Flamenco, whose world premiere was held in Toronto on 13 September. The traditional Spanish dance jota hailing from Saura’s native region Aragon has developed into various artistic dimensions over the years.
Theatre is a live art
Irina Gigova
Perhaps the film’s honesty, sense of humour and hope - those are the attributes that might help it get further.
Stamp to freedom
Neyka Krasteva
No, there is no mistake. It was truly an escape from Germany into Germany at the time when the country was still split into East, German Democratic Republic (GDR) and West, Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the so-called Iron Curtain remained an insurmountable obstacle to many.
Temple of reflection and contemplation
Adelina Lozanova
One of the largest and most beautiful Bulgarian monasteries, an important part of the so-called Tarnovo Sveta Gora complex, is the “St. Nicholas Thaumaturge” Kapi­no­vo Monastery.
In Brief
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Paris climate deal inches closer to ratification
 
EU environment ministers on 30 September paved the way for the Paris climate change agreement final ratification. The EP is expected also to vote on the issue at a plenary this week. Photo: EPA

Ride an electric car!
 
The head of EC Representation Office in Bulgaria Ognyan Zlatev took part on 30 September in the global initiative Park(ing) Day aimed at popularising the electric cars. Photo: Boyko Kichukov

Belgians protest labour law changes
 
Tens of thousands of Belgians marched through Brussels last Thursday to protest the government`s plans to extend the working week and abandon a scheduled wage increase. Photo: BTA

Bulgarian parliament passes anti-burqa legislation
 
Bulgaria's parliament approved last Friday legislation outlawing face-covering Islamic veils in all government institutions and public places. The ban will not apply to private homes or to that particular religion’s places of prayer. The bill introduced to the parliament floor by the Patriotic Front provides for fines between BGN 200 (€100) and BGN 2,000 (€1,000) depending on the history of offences.

18-year-olds to get free rail pass to 30 European countries
 
Every teenager in Europe will get a free rail ticket to go backpacking around the continent on their 18th birthday. MEPs will vote this week on proposals drawn up by Manfred Weber, leader of the EPP, at the initiative of Bulgarian MEP Andrey Novakov. The free one-month Interrail pass would allow youngsters to travel in 30 European countries including scenic routes through the Swiss Alps and along Norwegian fjords.

Turkey to complete Syria border wall within 5 months
 
A concrete wall being built along the length of Turkey's 900-km border with Syria with the aim to stop illegal crossings will be finished by the end of February, a Turkish official close to the matter said last Wednesday. Ankara has long been under pressure from its NATO allies to seal off the border with Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria. Construction of a border wall to combat smuggling and illegal migration started as early as 2014.

Catalan parliament backs independence referendum
 
Catalan regional lawmakers last Thursday approved regional President Carles Puig­demont's plans to call a referendum next year on independence from Spain. In an address on the eve of the vote, Puigdemont said he would hold an independence referendum in September 2017 whether or not the central government in Madrid agrees to one. Catalan separatists have for years tried, in vain, to win approval from Madrid for such a vote.

Italian anti-mafia police find stolen Van Gogh paintings
 
Two priceless Van Goghs stolen from Am­sterdam's Van Gogh Museum in December 2002 were among the assets recovered from a drug-trafficking clan in the Neapolitan Cam­o­rra mafia last Friday. The works are worth some $100m, investigative sources said. The artworks were hidden with other property worth “tens of millions of euro". The paintings are The Beach At Scheveningen During A Storm (1882) and Congregation Leaving The Reformed Church of Neunen (1884-1885).

World's largest radio telescope put to life
 
China began operating last week the 500-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), the world's largest radio telescope, constructed in a remote county in the southwest Guizhou province. Photo: EPA

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