New legal battle over Brexit looms
British PM Theresa May is facing the prospect of another legal battle over whether the government has the power to take Britain out of the single market when it leaves the EU, news wires reported. British Influence, a pro-EU thinktank, announced last week it will launch a judicial review into the government's assumption that membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) automatically ends after Brexit.
Geo-blocking barriers to e-commerce put to end
European ministers agreed last Monday to ban barriers to e-commerce known as 'geo-blocking' which prevent online customers from buying products or services from a website based in another Member State, news wires reported.
Brussels media hub turns 15 amid debate
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The International Press Centre (IPC) Residence Palace in Brussels turned 15. Its official launch was in 2001 with the start of the Belgian Presidency of the Council.
Shaping digital future
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The Think Digital Summit that was held in Brussels Egmont Palace on 29 November put as a central point of its debate how the digital future of Europe can be shaped and what the impact of the digital single market is for industries and for citizens as already all sectors are becoming digital.
President spins cabinet mandate wheel
President Rosen Plevneliev put the cabinet mandate merry-go-round into motion on Friday, 2 December. At a ceremony at the presidency, he presented the largest political party in parliament, GERB, with a mandate to form a government. As anticipated, however, the party’s leader and outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov returned the mandate immediately. The socialist BSP is expected to follow suit.
Students offer unconventional solutions for refugee crisis
Solutions to the refugee crisis and efforts to prevent mass migration triggered by climate change were discussed by students of five of the most prestigious high schools in Sofia during a seminar organised by the European youth initiative My Europe.
Governance as silver bullet
European security co-operation has never really been off the EU's agenda, but controversy, political divisions and expense have for many years kept it well away from the top. Donald Trump's election, along with concerns of a potentially emboldened Vladimir Putin, will likely ensure that this changes. The question now is, what form should enhanced European security co-operation take? The nation state remains the fundamental building bloc of international security. Given this reality, a useful step forward would be if more NATO members met the 2% of GDP target set by the alliance as the notional minimum budget for defence expenditure.
Brexiters get wake-up call
Brexiters assumed that Britain would face a benign international environment once freed from the EU. They took for granted that the UK would be able to rely on the key global public goods underwritten by the US: the global trading system, the international financial system and international security. They argued that Britain would be able to leave the EU, but take advantage of open markets elsewhere. Britain's financial services industries would profit from being able to sell into US dominated global financial markets.
Kiev plays on Moscow nerves
Ukraine`s missile tests closely to the Russian-annexed Crimea provoked a fresh escalation in tensions between the neighbours and one-time allies, a few days after Minsk talks in Normandy format on ending the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine finished without a breakthrough.
Aleppo exodus intensifies
Exhausted parents clutching terrified children in their arms, young people pushing the old in wheelchairs and families pulling overstuffed suitcases: the scenes from east Aleppo are those of a new exodus.
OPEC agrees slight output cut by 4.5%
The oil-producing countries, grouped as OPEC, agreed last Wednesday at a meeting in Vienna the first limit on oil output since 2008, news wires reported. The oil cartel accepted an Algerian proposal to reduce production by around 4.5%, or about 1.2 million barrels per day. The deal pushed up crude prices by around 10% in early trade last Thursday.
Swiss reject proposal to close nuclear plants
With a majority of 54%, Swiss voters rejected last Sunday a proposal to speedily close the country's five nuclear power plants, news wires reported.
Boeing hit by WTO ruling over unlawful tax breaks
The US planemaker Boeing received a serious blow last Monday after a WTO panel ruled that a tax break from Washington State to help Boeing develop its new 777X jetliner was a prohibited subsidy.
Beauty weaved from imperfection
What is the reality behind the label contemporary Austrian art? The phrase invites us to formulate ‘Austrian’ and ‘translate’ it into a language that the international audience would understand. Finding an unequivocal definition of nationality, while introducing it in an international context is a challenging task.
The exhibition staying at the National Art Gallery until 11 December analyses some of the glitches, holes and DNA-failures in the cell structure of beauty. The show features works by artists such as Andreas Fogarasi, Olivier Holzl, Bernd Oppl, Markus Krottendorfer and Katharina Swoboda and is curated by Boris Kostadinov.
Salvation lies in music
Penka Momchilova, BTA
I am related to folk music through my family. I was brought up with it. My father used to play the accordion. I am fascinated by the ‘diminished seconds’ Bulgarian female folk singers can sing. Bulgarian folklore is unique in the world in that respect, and this is probably where the mystery of our music lies.
The December cultural programme will be marked by a series of events in honour of the 80th anniversary from the birth of the great Bulgarian bass Nicola Ghiuselev. An exhibition, new CD releases and books, a big concert and opera films are among the events planned as part of the celebrations for the occasion, which also coincides with the 50th anniversary from the start of Ghiuselev’s stellar career as an opera singer.
The town of schoolmasters
The town of Elena, which has guarded to this day the better part of its National Revival Period charms, is located almost 40 km away from the Bulgarian medieval capital of Veliko Tarnovo, in the heart of the eastern part of the Balkan Range. In the 19th century the local artists and craftsmen spread Elena’s fame far and wide.