Day in 3 news: More carnage on Bulgaria's roads, Caretaker gov’t in new attempt to expand Chiren gas storage, Municipal funding promised by Petkov on hold

On Monday morning attention briefly shifted from the caretaker government in Sofia and the upcoming parliamentary elections as news came in of a traffic accident involving a dozen minors. The bus crash took place late Sunday evening on the Trakia motorway. Fortunately, there were no casualties. But 14 of the 49 passengers, including 12 children, are being treated in hospital. Currently, the authorities blame driver error as the most probable cause. The crash follows another tragic bus accident that took place last November. Bulgaria consistently ranks among the EU countries with the most road casualties per capita.


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On Monday morning attention briefly shifted from the caretaker government in Sofia and the upcoming parliamentary elections as news came in of a traffic accident involving a dozen minors. The bus crash took place late Sunday evening on the Trakia motorway. Fortunately, there were no casualties. But 14 of the 49 passengers, including 12 children, are being treated in hospital. Currently, the authorities blame driver error as the most probable cause. The crash follows another tragic bus accident that took place last November. Bulgaria consistently ranks among the EU countries with the most road casualties per capita.

We Continue the Change to decide on coalition with Democratic Bulgaria by midweek

Early Sunday afternoon former finance minister and co-chairman of We Continue the Change Assen Vassilev announced that his party will decide whether to run jointly with Democratic Bulgaria in the upcoming elections by midweek. Regarding Gazprom, Vassilev emphasized that Kiril Petkov's government did not abandon the contract with the Russian company. "We continue to have a contract and every day we sent a request to receive quantities. There is not a single contract in Europe for which Gazprom has fulfilled its obligations," he told Bulgarian National Radio.

Vassilev also commented on the cooling of relations between "We Continue the Change" and President Rumen Radev . According to Vassilev the breakdown in communication began after the replacement of Nikolay Pavlov as director of Bulgargaz and the withdrawal of Sotir Tsatsarov as chairman of the anti-corruption commission.

New attempt to expand the Chiren storage facility with a public procurement package for €518 million lv.

After three public tenders related to the expansion and modernization of the gas storage in Chiren were terminated by Bulgartransgaz in mid-June, they have now been renewed. The delay was due to an update in the payment - Bulgartransgaz took out a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Bulgarian state serves as a guarantor for the loan. In addition, changes have been made to the projects themselves - especially for the new pipeline connecting the repository to the national gas transmission network. The alterations in the financial parameters (the loan) are also included in the budget update, with the guarantee amounting to EUR 207 million euro. They are part of a total of 382 million. The other costs are related to the gas connection to Serbia and the company's liabilities.

The Chiren underground gas storage facility has long been seen as a project of national importance in order to boost Bulgaria's energy security and independence from Russia.

Half a billion lev of municipal funding is still on hold despite promises

Мunicipalities throughout the country are still unable to get the cherished half a billion lev they were promised by the previous cabinet.

Former prime minister Kiril Petkov and regional minister Grozdan Karadzhov fought several battles over who should get the funding. The final list of funding recipients, prepared by Assen Vassilev's team and approved by the Council of Ministers, was sent to the Ministry of Regional Development to await the new caretaker minister.

Minister Ivan Shishkov, however, announced last week that he will prepare his own list of priority water supply and road construction projects that should get funding.