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SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria has had to temporarily halt a pending 81.3 million levs ($49.3 million) deal to overhaul its jet fighters with Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG because of an appeal by Ukrainian arms company Ukrinmash, its defense minister said on Wednesday.
The suspension comes just over a week after the Balkan country asked the Russian company to overhaul and maintain 15 of its ageing MiG fighter jets and was about to sign a four-year deal with it, Krasimir Karakachanov told reporters.
Karakachanov called the Ukrinmash appeal, filed with the Bulgarian competition regulator, “a sabotage attempt” against the ministry’s plans for a direct contract with the Russian company.
Bulgaria’s GDP is about $52.4 billion (2016), so it is quite a shock that the Bulgarian Government is sitting on an approximate $3 billion worth of Bitcoins seized in an anti-corruption operation back in May.
Putting this into a little more glaring context, Bulgaria is holding 18% of the national debt in bitcoins…
Fun fact: today’s bitcoin prices have been interesting enough that there was a significant difference in how much Bulgaria had in USD between me writing this story and my editor editing it.
— Nikhilesh De (@nikhileshde) December 7, 2017
Bulgarian law enforcement jointly worked with the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELC), a regional organization comprised of 12 member states, to bust a sophisticated organized-crime network, arresting twenty-three Bulgarian nationals and seizing a total of 213,519 bitcoins.
A strong majority of Europeans across 11 nations are opposed to the European Union’s (EU) immigration policies, including nearly nine in 10 Hungarians.
The survey was conducted by the Nézőpont Institute in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
It revealed that 74 per cent of respondents in those countries believed that the EU’s migration policies have or will be negative for the continent.
Central Europeans were the most opposed, with 89 per cent of Slovaks and Hungarians holding a negative view of the policies, closely followed by 88 per cent of Czechs.
Meanwhile, 63 per cent of Austrians and 58 per cent of Germans also said the mass immigration overseen by the EU is bad for the bloc.
Furthermore, when asked about Hungary’s rejection of forced EU migrant quotas, 56 per cent of people in the Visegrád nations (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) say they agreed with the Hungarian premier’s fight against them.
The Bulgarian Parliament has passed ammendments to the Food Act on Thursday prohibiting the promotion of unhealthy foods, including food containing GMOs, to children. 102 Bulgarian MPs voted for the changes to the law, only one voted against, and 29 abstained.
Advertisers in Bulgaria will now be stopped from targeting children in promotional material on TV and in print for foods deemed unhealthy, including those containing GMOs. The unique law also prohibits children from taking part in commercials promoting unhealthy foods.
The importance of regulating advertisements on the internet and other remote sales of food was included in the law.
3,000 migrants living in a camp in Bulgaria are on lockdown after reports that serious infectious diseases have been recorded among the group.
The camp, known as the Harmanli facility, is located near the Bulgarian border with Turkey and has been in operation for a number of years. Of the 3,000 current residents, most of whom are looking to move on to Western Europe, 128 of them have been diagnosed with serious illnesses from skin diseases to viral infections and even small pox, reports Die Welt.
It is not a secret that under the bailout agreements, Greece’s self-employed are charged with higher taxes and social security contributions each and every year. As KeepTalkingGreece.com details, many, especially from northern Greece, have moved their business basis to neighboring Bulgaria for obvious reasons: 10% tax instead of 29%, low social security contributions, incentives. There is talk that 60,000 businesses have moved in the last seven years of austerity.
No wonder that self-employed and freelancers complain about taxation, contributions and cut pensions, no wonder they are furious about the social security contributions hikes that come with the new year.
As Turkish President Erdogan has threatened Europe with releasing as many as 3 million new migrants, Bulgaria has stepped up its plans of adding a 20-mile-long wall along its border with Greece and Turkey.
Bulgarian authorities have expressed concerns that the closing of Macedonia’s border with Greece might drive migrants to enter the EU en masse through Bulgaria, if Erdogan carries out his threats.
The challenge, said Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, “is not only to keep the channel of communication with Ankara open, but also to ensure that Turkey will not allow the free passage of refugees to Bulgaria.”
Jeff interviews Bulgarian author living in Canada, Philip Lychkov, topics include: Bulgaria under communist rule, the change from socialism to capitalism, state owned businesses, hyperinflation in the west, the situation in Canada, things moving to the East, Canada sells all gold reserves while Eastern countries are buying gold aggressively, a coming economic depression, making preparations for the crisis, pay off your debt! in Bulgaria people thought the government was going to look after them, they were wrong, the end of Europe, the people who prospered during the Bulgarian crisis, precious metals, getting the warning out to others, getting outside the dollar system, what happens after the collapse? Philip Lychkov’s coming book: ‘Surviving Tough Times.’
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Bulgaria’s prime minister firmly ruled out his country’s participation in the proposed NATO fleet in the Black Sea aimed at countering Russian forces in the area: “I don’t need war,” the politician said after Russia promised a response; meanwhile Romania’s president, one of the initiators, has hurriedly backed off.
“I always say that I want the Black Sea to see sailboats, yachts, large boats with tourists and not become an arena of military action… I do not need a war in the Black Sea,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Thursday referring to the proposal for the NATO fleet in the Black Sea made by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis while visiting Bulgaria on June 15-16.
“Our country will not become part of the Black Sea fleet being prepared against Russia,” Borissov said as quoted by EurActiv.com website.
– War Drums Beating: Bulgaria Blocks Russian Access To Its Airspace For Syria Flights (ZeroHedge, Sep 8, 2015):
On Monday we flagged a notable escalation in the build up to the geopolitical “main event” in Syria where, thanks largely to the West’s ambition to break Gazprom’s leverage over Europe, the US and Russia are one “accidental” run-in away from taking the “proxy” out of the term “proxy war.”
With the Kremlin now ramping up its military presence around the Assad stronghold of Latakia, the US is scrambling to do anything and everything in its power to slow the Russian build up – including putting pressure on Greece to deny Russia the use of its airspace for supply flights to Syria.
– Russia Cuts Off Ukraine Gas Supply To 6 European Countries (ZeroHedge, Jan 14, 2015):
Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian state energy giant Gazprom to cut supplies to and through Ukraine amid accusations, according to The Daily Mail, that its neighbor has been siphoning off and stealing Russian gas. Due to these “transit risks for European consumers in the territory of Ukraine,” Gazprom cut gas exports to Europe by 60%, plunging the continent into an energy crisis “within hours.” Perhaps explaining the explosion higher in NatGas prices (and oil) today, gas companies in Ukraine confirmed that Russia had cut off supply; and six countries reported a complete shut-off of Russian gas. The EU raged that the sudden cut-off to some of its member countries was “completely unacceptable,” but Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller later added that Russia plans to shift all its natural gas flows crossing Ukraine to a route via Turkey; and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak stated unequivocally, “the decision has been made.”
– Bulgaria – Heavy snowfall leaves 50 villages without power (Ice Age Now, Oct 26, 2014):
Gabrovo and Sevlievo declare emergency because of extremely severe winter conditions. More than fifty villages have no electricity. All roads and passes in the region are blocked.
The main roads in the country are closed, trains are stopped, and thousands of subscribers are without electricity CEZ.
Heavy snow did not stop for ten hours, along with hurricane winds and freezing temperatures.
– Peak Ponzi: Only 13% Of Loans In Bulgaria’s Fourth Largest Bank Had Valid Collateral (ZeroHedge, Oct 22, 2014):
One can debate whether, by virtue of fractional reserve banking, every bank in the world is just a ponzi scheme, and where the stability of the system depends entirely on the level of counterparty faith and general confidence in the system, in other words, a grand con game in which the central bank is tasked with making sure the con works as planned when confidnce gets “a little low.”
One can not debate, however, that a bank had become anything but a pure Ponzi scheme – in this case, a piggybank whose funds were embezzled by its owner as described previously in “Fourth Largest Bulgarian Bank Seized After Bank Run: “Let’s Not Tear Down Our House” Central Banker Begs” – when a token review, only upon its faillure, reveals that 87% of its loans were invalid!
- BULGARIA CENTRAL BANK CORPBANK PRE-JUNE REPORTS ‘MISLEADING’
- BULGARIA CENTRAL BANK SAYS CORPBANK ASSETS ARE 6.7B LEV
- BULGARIA CENTRAL BANK SAYS CORPBANK AUDIT SHOWED ONLY 13 PERCENT OF LOANS HAD VALID COLLATERAL
– 9 EU countries ready to block economic sanctions against Russia (RT, July 15, 2014):
France, Germany, and Italy are among EU members who don’t want to follow the US lead and impose trade sanctions on Russia. US sanctions are seen as a push to promote its own multibillion free-trade pact with Europe.
“France, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, and EU President Italy see no reason in the current environment for the introduction of sectorial trade and economic sanctions against Russia and at the summit, will block the measure,” a diplomatic source told ITAR-TASS.
– Russia Rushes To Seal Ukraine-Bypassing Gas Pipeline: Lavrov Pays Bulgaria A Visit (ZeroHedge, July 7, 2014):
As we remarked two weeks ago, when observing the recent developments surrounding the suddenly all-important South Stream gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine entirely, and instead traversing the Black Sea before crossing Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and terminating in the Austrian central European gas hub of Baumgarten, we said that all of Europe is suddenly focused on if and how Russia will make headway with a project that may be the most important one for not only Europe’s energy future but the impact Russia will continue to have over Germany et al. And of course, Ukraine. Because should Russia find a way to completely bypass Kiev as a traditional transit hub for Russian gas, it would make the country, and its ongoing civil war, completely irrelevant not only for Russia, but worse, for Europe, the IMF, and Ukraine’s staunch western “supporters and allies” as well.
Showing just how Europe perceives the Russian “South Stream” threat was a comment from a recent NYT article, in which Günther Oettinger, Europe’s top energy official, was quoted as saying that the Ukraine crisis “has slowed down our progress on South Stream considerably… We can’t just give in to the Russians every time.” Alas, since the Russians control the all important gas, Europe has zero choice.
This explains why even as the western media finally remembered over the weekend there was a Ukraine civil war going on following an advance by the Kiev army to retake some rebel strongholds in the Donbas region, with some wondering what if anything Putin would do in retaliation, what Putin, or rather his envoy Sergei Lavrov were actually doing, was completely ignoring the Ukraine situation (where the West has long since conceded the loss of Crimea to the Kremlin) and instead focusing on securing the successful launch of the South Stream (remember: the second South Stream goes online, Ukraine becomes irrelevant). And since Russia already signed another historic agreement with Austria in June, which positioned the AAA-country (with some surprising emerging bank troubles subsequently) squarely against its fellow European peers, it was the turn of the other South Stream countries, namely Bulgaria.