SOFIA/BRUSSELS/BERLIN | | bulgarien

SOFIA/BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Own report) - Bulgaria exercises its EU Council presidency - which began January 1 - with Berlin's direct "counseling" and "assistance," according to reports of the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The foundation has been engaged in activities in Sofia along these lines, and has delegated its former Chairman and ex-European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering to serve as consultant in the Bulgarian capital. Since Bulgaria joined the EU on January 1, 2007, oligarchs have become the country's crucial power factor, controlling its fate, according to observers. Berlin easily tolerates this, because Prime Minister Boyko Borissov readily yields to German leadership, a former Bulgarian justice minister explained. The country, with its unrivalled starvation wages, serves as a production site for German businesses and as a reservoir to recruit skilled workers for Germany. more…

SOFIA/BERLIN | | bulgarien

SOFIA/BERLIN (Own report) - The CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) is counseling Bulgaria's coalition government of conservative and several extreme right wing parties preparing their country's EU Council Presidency. Sofia's coalition government, headed by a partner party of the KAS, includes a party, whose chairperson once wrote that "a gang of Jews had ruined orthodoxy." The chair of another party in the Bulgarian government coalition called Roma "human-like creatures that have become beasts." He is the current deputy prime minister. The Bulgarian defense minister would like to dispatch "highly specialized combat troops" to the Bulgarian-Turkish border and "defend" the EU's external borders against refugees "with armed force." January 1, 2018, the Bulgarian government will assume the EU Council Presidency. Hardly prepared for this task, the KAS is counseling the government. Hans-Gert Pöttering, former President of the European Parliament, praised Bulgaria's contribution to the "fight against illegal migration." more…

MOSCOW/BERLIN | | russische-foederationtuerkeibulgarien

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) - Moscow's cancellation of the South Stream pipeline project is causing Berlin and Brussels headaches. EU bodies and government leaders of EU member states have expressed their wish to continue negotiations on the pipeline, which, in a few years, would annually have pumped 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Western Europe. They still see some possibilities for clarification. By delaying the project, Brussels had hoped to exert pressure on the Russian government. Moscow, however, got tired of banging on closed doors and announced South Stream's cancellation on Monday. Germany is one of the losers, because it would have been able to expand its influence on the European gas supply through its BASF subsidiary Wintershall participating in the pipeline project. Turkey is the winner, because the planned Russian South Stream gas will now probably transit through its territory. Turkey, a loyal transit country, could become an influential gas distribution hub for the EU - at a time when tensions between Berlin/Brussels and Ankara are rising. more…

ESSEN/SKOPJE/BELGRADE | | jugoslawienrumaenienmazedonienbulgarien

ESSEN/SKOPJE/BELGRADE (Own report) - The Serbian Minister of the Economy, Mladan Dinkic is calling on the WAZ media group from Germany to leave Serbia because of its dubious intrigues. After a deal was revealed that was aimed at making the Essen-based company a leader on the Serbian market, Dinkic said that the WAZ cannot be allowed to take control of one of the country's most important daily newspapers, with "backroom business deals". The WAZ and its manager Bodo Hombach, (SPD), attempted, with the help of a front man, to buy, step by step, majority shares in the Vecernje Novosti, the country's largest selling daily newspaper. But the front man, a Serbian oligarch, does not want to turn over the shares in his temporary possession. A front man was needed for the deal because antitrust regulations did not allow the WAZ to buy the Serbian public opinion forming daily, Vecernje Novosti. The German media group, headquartered in Essen, is the strongest West European company on the Southeast European press market owning up to 70 percent in several countries - padded by excellent relations to the political and business establishment. more…