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04/07/22

Council of Ministers' Decisions

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At its weekly meeting on Wednesday, Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers made the following decisions, as reported by the Government Information Service:
Approved the draft of an agreement between the governments of Bulgaria and the United States concerning the requirement for a written arrangement about security forces not conforming to the Leahy Law. The draft, proposed by the US, concerns the Bulgarian government’s commitment that aid received from the US government under the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act or the Arms Export Control Act will not be provided to Bulgarian security forces for which such aid is prohibited by US law. The bilateral agreement is necessitated by new US legislation;
Approved the draft of a defence cooperation memorandum between the defence ministries of Bulgaria and Croatia, which will serve as a basis for future negotiations. The draft memorandum defines a number of areas of bilateral defence cooperation such as: policy, legislation, crisis management, international peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, military exercises and training, military education and exchange of trainees, arms control and disarmament, intelligence, cybersecurity, logistics and public procurement;
Confirmed the availability of basic interest in implementing a public procurement procedure to acquire surface-to-air missiles to be mounted on multirole modular patrol boats of the Bulgarian Navy. Such patrol boats are being purchased under an agreement signed in 2020. The planned acquisition of surface-to-air missiles for the boats comes in implementation of Bulgarian commitments to NATO’s collective security;
Approved a programme for cooperation between the justice ministries of Bulgaria and Vietnam for 2023-2024;
Decided to propose to the National Assembly to ratify an agreement between Bulgaria and Sweden, signed in Sofia on April 6, 2022, to terminate the bilateral Agreement on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments, signed in Sofia on April 19, 1994;
Approved EUR 55,900 in compensation payments on 17 complaints filed to the European Court of Human Rights. The plaintiffs had complained of poor living conditions in Bulgarian prisons and detention facilities, including overcrowded cells, unsatisfactory control of insects and rodents, and lack of fresh air and sunshine;
Adopted rules facilitating the admission of foreign students to Bulgarian establishments of higher education. Under the amended ordinance, foreigners applying for admission to Bulgarian universities will no longer be required to present a medical certificate. Also, the government relaxed the requirements concerning the recognition of secondary education obtained in a foreign country;
Revised the schedule of charges for using national roads (as opposed to municipal roads). The toll on heavy-duty trucks, which is based on the distance travelled, will be increased gradually. The revisions also set charges on heavy-duty trucks for using second-class roads. The prices of all types of vignettes for light-duty trucks will be decreased by 10% on January 1, 2023. As a result, an annual vignette will cost BGN 87;
Approved a bill to amend and supplement the Criminal Procedure Code which is aimed to expand the rights of under-18 children participating in a penal process and the rights of the victims. Cases involving crimes committed by under-18s will take precedence in the work of the courts and will be tried behind closed doors by judges who have received special training in the field of children’s rights. Special training will also be required of the prosecutors and the investigators in the pretrial proceedings;
Approved an ordinance setting requirements for processed cereal-based foods and foods intended for infants and young children. The new ordinance takes into account recent changes in Regulation (EU) No 609/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council;
Approved the annual report of the Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA) for 2021. The report says that PFIA completed 448 financial inspections and checks in 2021, related to the use of public money. The number was higher by 19% compared with 2020;
Adopted a National Programme for Safety and Health at Work for 2022-2024. The programme envisages measures to upgrade the legislation in the field of safety and health at work and to prevent occupational hazards, occupational accidents and work-related diseases;
Adopted a decision by which sets of data of priority importance for the government will be posted on the Open Data Portal (data.egov.bg) in order to ensure transparency of public spending. The ministers of finance and electronic governance will be in charge of posting all transactions from the electronic budget payments system for the period since June 5, 2006 and updating them on a monthly basis;
Approved new measures for afforestation in and outside the NATURA 2000 network and for expanding the flood warning system;
Approved a Programme for Food and Basic Material Assistance for 2021-2027. Over 600,000 people will be supported under the programme. More than 530,000 people of low income or in a difficult situation will receive food packages and hygienic materials on an annual basis;
Approved the draft of an Education Programme 2021-2027, under which BGN 1.9 billion will be invested in education upgrading and digitization, linking education to the labour market and encouraging school attendance among children of vulnerable groups. The programme will be supported by the European Social Fund Plus;
Allocated an additional BGN 14.7 million to the Bulgarian National Science Fund to finance scientific projects on a competitive basis. The aim is to increase the amount and the quality of fundamental research on matters of regional and national significance;
Removed Ivan Yanchev from office as Governor of Pleven Region and Ivan Kyuchukov as Governor of Sofia Region. Yanchev will be replaced by Krum Penchev, and Kyuchukov by his deputy Vera Todeva, who will hold the office on an interim basis.

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