A fond memoir of the life and times of a certain English-language publication.
Wed, Jun 19 2013
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A fond memoir of the life and times of a certain English-language publication.
Diplomatic relations between Austria and Bulgaria officially date back to 1879. Since then, friendliness between the two countries has only increased. The Sofia Echo congratulates Austria on its national day, October 26, which marks the date in 1955 when the Soviet Union ended its occupation, and the Austrian parliament declared the country permanently neutral
If we are to name a country whose business successfully pairs the desire to go international with the know-how to meet unaddressed demands, then that country should be Austria. A closer retrospective look at Austria's investment march into Bulgaria reveals that many market niches that have emerged here just recently were the offspring of Austrian efforts.
The financial turmoil will have no real impact on the growth of Bulgarian economy this year but next year will, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin told Bulgarian National Radio (BNR). While this year GDP growth will be on par with last year's, in the 7-7.1 per cent range, next year it will slow to 5-5.5 per cent, the foreign minister said.
A new desulphurisation facility will catch the flue gases emitted by the first two units of coal-powered thermal power plant Maritsa Iztok II, Bulgarian media reported. Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev and Environment and Waters Minister Djevdet Chakurov jointly inaugurated the facility, as well as the launch of unit 3 on October 13.
The enduring global financial crisis might foil Voestalpine's plans to build a five billion euro plant in the Black Sea region, the Austrian specialty steelmaker said in a statement. A final decision on back-out or not though, will be taken on review of an updated feasibility study. The warning came despite the company's excellent fundamentals in 2007 and the first quarter of 2008 and lavish stimuli of governments fighting to harbour the large-scale investment.
In a decision which terminated a longstanding spat, Bulgaria and Russia backed off arms licensing claims toward each other. The agreement in principle was reached during the October 9 session of the mixed Bulgarian-Russian commission in Sofia chaired by Russia's vice prime minister Sergey Sobyanin.
Spain's over-development of its coastline for tourism and second homes, eventually leading to government approval for a coastline facelift worth billions, has had its upside. The hyperactive construction period nurtured expertise in real estate, construction and construction-related industries and led to financial strength matching Europe's best. It helped the three sectors leapfrog
Despite the calls from opposition MPs hold tight onto budget surplus funds as a cushion against a backlash from global financial turmoil on Bulgarian economy, three parliamentary committees - budget, economic policy and transport - backed on October 8 the budget surplus spending proposal of the Bulgarian Government and appeared for questioning in Parliament.
Czech CEZ, touted as the most successful power utility in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), has continued expanding its reach in the region. On October 8, the group purchased 37.4 per cent of Turkey's Akenerji Elektrik Uretim AS for $302.6 million, Reuters news agency reported. The deal is part of a larger strategic alliance agreement CEZ sealed with the Turkish conglomerate Akkok Sanayi Yatirim & Gelistirme AS. Under the agreement, the Czech company was entitled to half the majority stake of 75 per cent Akkok held in Akenerji.
The South Stream gas pipeline project is no alternative to rival Nabucco because Bulgaria staunchly supports diversification of energy sources and routes. This has been the message both Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov and Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev conveyed to the US special envoy for European affairs and Eurasia energy. Clayland Boyden Grey arrived on October 7 for a one-day visit in what evidenced the growing interest of a number of states toward Bulgaria's energy policy, a statement on the Bulgarian Government website read.
In a surprise move, which reverberated across the international community, Russia issued a four billion euro state loan to Iceland. The statement on Russia's central bank website reads that the loan maturing in three-four years and an interest rate as low as 30-50 basis points above Libor has been given the green light by prime minister Vladimir Putin. The news comes as the Icelandic government has been rocked by the gloom of looming state banktuptcy, with its second-largest bank Landsbanki nationalised, and as Russia has opened its state reserves to bail its banking system out, Kremlin itself has received calls for aid from its top four energy giants and seems unable to stop its stock markets' nosedive.
Only one in 20 investors in Bulgaria regards data in annual financial reports as accurate and reliable and one in three find reports incomprehensible and incomplete. These are the findings of a survey carried out by Dnevnik daily and odit.info, the Bulgarian website that focuses on accounting matters. The survey draws on the answers of 1400 people and will be showcased at an October 10 roundtable titled "The Role of Financial Reports for Bulgarian Stock Market Development". The forum will pool investors and accountants, as well as representatives of regulators directly involved with financial accountability issues.
The international project company in charge of building and operating Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline will pick a financial consultant on October 16-17, Stefan Gounchev, board chairperson of the Bulgarian company partnering in the project, told Monitor newspaper on October 7. The Supervisory Board of Trans Balkan Pipeline BV will choose among four bidders. Societe Generale, Lazard and Citigroup were sifted from a pool of nine banks on July 30-31 in London. Later, the Greek side, owner of 24.5 per cent of the project, insisted on adding Calyon to the list of contestants.
UniCredit Bulbank and UniCredit Bank Austria, both members of UniCredit Group, will finance Bulgaria Mall, the next shopping centre in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, Bulgaria's largest bank by assets said in a statement. The two financial institutions and Bulgaria Mall investors LSProperty and Salamanca Capital sealed an agreement to this effect on October 3 after several months of negotiations.
Nationalisation has been offered as the latest rescue alternative for debt-laden steel mill Kremikovtzi. Investment banker Pravin Banker, an expert in emerging markets and troubled steelmakers' recovery, has come up with an action plan for Kremikovtzi, which sees the state as its sole shareholder, safeguards it from European Union sanctions and curbs extended bankruptcy proceedings. Banker has laid down his proposal in a letter to the Bulgarian Government, a copy of which has reached Dnevnik daily.
In a year beset by the tribulations of the global financial crisis, the German minister of economics and technology Michael Glos celebrates the German economy's triumph. Sounder public finance, rising employment and falling unemployment, growing individual incomes and broadening opportunities for local companies underpin its achievements and feature in the country's Annual Economic Report 2008.
Walking past a long line of wall-hung photos of former German ambassadors to Bulgaria to the doorstep of the incumbent, I could not help wondering what legacy his tenure would leave. I did not have to wonder long. Michael Geier arrived in July 2006, in the run-up to an historic moment for Bulgaria, the country's accession to the European Union and, coincidentally or not, in the heat of Germany's preparations
A fortnight after construction began on Bulgaria's second nuclear power plant at Belene, the Government is launching another large-scale initiative. In a surprise motion on September 19, it registered Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH). The suddenness of the move sparked media speculation that this was a deliberate move to conceal unregulated sales between
Strictly speaking, a straitjacket and a life vest serve different purposes in relation to the person wearing them. But for people embroiled in a conflict, the terms can become as coloured by divergent standpoints as to grow interchangeable. In conflict zones, countless factors come in to play to shape an environment of immense complexity. Each of them is wide open to interpretation by the different sides. Hotspot analysts
World Bank experts arrived too early to estimate the toll of conflict-related damages on the Georgian economy. The Georgian-South Ossetian conflict is yet to subside. Watershed decisions are made every day amid an ongoing military build-up, with dozens of countries making known their positions on the conflict, and a plethora of forthcoming high-level visits to Georgia. Among the latest developments was the
Getting Bulgarian citizenship is no easy task, often involving a wait of years. Yet, for one foreigner unaware that he automatically and officially had citizenship by virtue of birth, it meant a bureaucratic obstacle to going ahead with his wedding day. The issue of The Sofia Echo published on August 29 2008 has full details of the strange story, as recounted by reporter Svetlana Guineva.
Spending several days in Georgia and listening to dozens of people - international and local government officials, experts, journalists and regular people - concocted an even worse havoc for my brain than prior to arrival. I gullibly expected, like a Belgian journalist with whom we shared a minivan to Kaspi (70km north of Tbilisi), that coming on site would tidy up disparities in reports about the same events and accidents. Inaccuracy bothered us. I did believe that on-site findings, historical evidence and personal ruminations of locals would ultimately draw the true picture of what's been going on.
When there is war, sides to war plunge into amnesia. Laws, a humane approach and the obligation to accurately interpret facts are all forgotten. Murder and looting are, in effect, indemnified. As to mutual recriminations and razing each other's economic infrastructure, it is just as Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili told a joint news conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel - "Russia wants the Georgian
Reports on serious issues facing Bulgaria and the wider region are among highlights in the issue of The Sofia Echo published on August 22 2008. New statistics show that Bulgarians are among the lowest-paid employees not only in the European Union, but also in comparison to several other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Petar Kostadinov has the details.
Whether it was because in 1894 then-Bulgarian prime minister Konstantin Stoilov vowed to turn the newly independent state into the "Belgium of the Orient", or because Bulgaria was part of Belgium's global business offensive, Belgium was the largest trade partner and investor in Bulgaria's nascent economy until the outbreak of World War 1.
Now that debt-laden Kremikovtzi steel mill is awaiting bankruptcy declaration at a July 29 hearing of the Sofia City Court, bidders are busy sweetening their stakes with concrete action plans and commitments for large-scale investments. This includes ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel maker and tipped as favourite in the run-up for Kremikovtzi's controlling stock.
In terms of business, it is not only expertise or intuitive feelings that matter it's also visibility. Exposure to peers, opinion leaders or clients generates that intangible asset, which, if put to proper use, can later help monetise. The French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce (CCFB) gives the French business community in Bulgaria precisely this. It acts as a multi-functional conduit between French firms stationed in
To France, one of Europe's largest economies, Bulgaria is still largely a terra incognita. In an overview of bilateral trade turnover and foreign direct investment (FDI) dynamics, Bulgaria's Economy and Energy Ministry concedes that figures are still below potential. Representatives of the French business community in Bulgaria concur, attributing faint interest to Bulgaria's relatively low exposure with the French.
Banking is a science that subscribes to rigid rules and denies the nationality of the player. One is: a financial institution, be it French or Bulgarian, ventures to expand existing activities and add new ones if, and only if, research shows auspices to scoop profits. The Bulgarian arm of French banking major Societe Generale, SG