Books on Bulgaria
Update No: 161 -
Bulgaria is a beautiful
place. It has a splendid climate, a
wonderful landscape and a friendly people.
It was the supreme holiday home for the
faithful under communism.
It is now repining under capitalism. It is
becoming consequently more cost-conscious.
Bulgarian municipalities are considering
the possibility of introducing new forms
of taxation for hotels, family-sized
hotels and bed and breakfast
establishments, as well as "luxury" taxes
on vehicles and properties, in order to
generate more revenue, Bulgarian Dnevnik
daily reported on October 20, 2010.
These amendments are contemplated in the
new provisions of the municipal bill,
published by the Ministry of Finance on
its website. The proposed provisions will
be discussed in Cabinet, followed by a
vote in Parliament.
The introduction of higher taxes in 2011
on luxury properties and luxury cars is
supposed to be an effective measure to
deal with the economic crisis and maintain
a low fiscal deficit, the report says.
The proposed levies on luxury properties,
whose evaluations are above the average
levels for any respective urban area, town
or village, would be increased by 30 per
cent. The tourism tax would also be
adjusted. Currently, this is calculated by
gauging the price for accommodation.
Municipalities, however, were unable to
generate enough revenue this way, so the
proposal is for the tax to be administered
in accordance with the bed capacity of
The new levies were first announced in
March this year after an extraordinary
cabinet meeting invoked to contemplate
potential anti-crisis measures.
Owners of luxury or sports vehicles, whose
engines output power exceeds 200
horsepower, will also be subjected to
stiffer taxation, although exact figures
were not disclosed.
But most are still against the Turks
The National Assembly rejected the
proposed draft resolution for a referendum
on Turkey's European Union membership on
October 20 2010.
The majority of members of parliament
voted for the referendum to be postponed.
Bulgarian right -wing nationalist
political party Ataka, who are staunchly
opposed to Turkey joining the EU, had
posed the question "Do you agree that the
Republic of Turkey should join the EU as a
But since the debate for Turkey's
membership was not discussed, Ataka's MPs
walked out in protest.
The idea for the debate was lodged on the
basis of 330 000 signatures collected by
another Bulgarian nationalist party, VMRO,
who are without representation in
Parliament but enjoy Ataka's support.
Under Bulgarian law a referendum is
obligatory if backed by half a million
citizens. If it has between 200,000 and
half a million signatures, Parliament has
to debate whether to hold a referendum and
hold a vote.
Parliament speaker Tsetska Tsacheva said
that the referendum should be delayed
until state administration officials
determine the legitimacy of the 330,000
signatures submitted by VMRO and endorsed
Because the referendum was postponed,
Ataka representatives left the Parliament
in protest. Meanwhile, the leader of the
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) Sergei
Stanishev said that Bulgaria should
deliver its verdict only after
negotiations between the EU and Turkey
have ended and Turkey has upheld all
conditions and prerequisites for joining
Earlier this month, Volen Siderov, the
leader of Ataka, criticised Prime Minister
Boiko Borissov's support for Turkey's
accession to the European Union.
"Not a single prime minister has the right
to talk about this issue on behalf of the
people," Siderov said in Parliament during
a vote of no-confidence in the Government.
Siderov described the earlier visit of
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan to Bulgaria, during which Borissov
declared his support for Ankara's
accession bid, as "illegal".
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vessela
Tcherneva said that Bulgaria supported
Turkey’s accession process provided all
membership criteria were met.
This position was an expression of
Bulgaria’s strategic interests, both
domestic and in a wider European context.
It had been the consistent policy of all
Bulgarian governments so far, she said.
Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov has also
insisted repeatedly that it depended on
Ankara to implement the reforms necessary
to make progress on issues of human rights
and democracy, and to comply with EU
Mladenov had said that Bulgaria was not
lobbying for Turkey, as it had not lobbied
for any country, because each had to be
assessed according to the progress it
achieved, according to Tcherneva.