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Bulgarian MPs Endorse Presidential Veto on Ski Development Law
Date: 21/06/2012
Bulgarian MPs Endorse Presidential Veto on Ski Development Law

MPs from the Parliamentary Agriculture Committee backed Thursday the veto imposed by Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev on a set of controversial amendments to the Forestry Act.

The Committee will propose a support of the veto to Parliament, meaning that the procedure for drafting the legal changes goes back to square one.

Members of the Agriculture Committee agreed that the veto provided an opportunity to vote the amendments amid a public debate including representatives of environmental organizations, the business sector and civic-minded citizens.

A group of MPs noted that trying to solve the problems of the tourism sector through an amended Forestry Act was not the way to go.

They argued that a comprehensive strategy for the development of tourism and sport was necessary to remedy the situation.

Svilen Ovcharov, legal advisor at the "For the Nature" coalition, insisted that if Bulgaria's Parliament had decided to adopt investment incentives, they had to be applicable to all, rather than a selected group of investors.

He explained that if Bulgaria was following this scenario, it had to notify the European Commission that it was preparing a state aid scheme for the sector before the debates resumed.

Meanwhile, the Committee's sitting included an argument as to whether the unit had the capacity to discuss the vetoed amendments prior to a plenary discussion.

Desislava Taneva, Chair of the Agriculture Committee, declared that Anastas Anastasov, Deputy Parliament Chair, had ordered the unit to come up with a pronouncement before the veto was put up for discussion by all MPs.

Thousands of Bulgarian eco activists and other citizens opposing the Forestry Act amendments have been staging protest rallies in the area of the key intersection of Orlov Most (Eagles Bridge) in Sofia ever since the Parliament passed the amendments 8 days ago, on June 13.

On Saturday, Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev vetoed the batch of provisions facilitating the construction of ski facilities without a change of land use.

Meanwhile, a number of pro-ski-development counter-protests were also staged, allegedly under the aegis of center-right ruling party GERB and the "Nature for People and Regions" coalition funded by notorious businessman Tseko Minev.

Minev is widely believed to be the person behind the controversial legislation, as well as the man who stopped ski lifts in Vitosha for the entire winter season on grounds he was observing existing provisions of the Forestry Act.

Topic: Economy

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