ISSN 2330-717X

Bulgaria: Dual Crises Bring MPs Back to Parliament

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By Martin Dimitrov

Bulgarian MPs are set to meet for an extraordinary session to discuss the collapse of the country’s Company Register and the insolvency of the fourth largest insurer, just as the government steps up its bid to join the euro.

Lawmakers in Bulgaria will break off their summer recess on Tuesday for an extraordinary session to discuss the collapse of the country’s Company Register and the insolvency of the fourth largest insurer, Olympic.

The dual crises are embarrassing for the government as it seeks to further its application to join the eurozone by entering the ERM-II ‘waiting room’. Sofia is under pressure to improve banking supervision and regulation of the non-financial sector, including insurance.

The session was forced by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party.

With the Company Register offline, businesses in Bulgaria find themselves unable to comply with the legal requirement to make public decisions and documents regarding traders and foreign trading branches.

The files are stored in electronic form and in some cases contain personal data of individual representatives or managers. The director of the register, Zornitsa Daskalova, has resigned and the government has called for the creation of a 400,000-euro ‘digital vault’ in case of similar database collapses.

Cyprus-registered vehicle insurer Olympic, with a nine per cent share of the market, filed for insolvency last week, leaving over 200,000 people in a legal grey zone in the event of a traffic accident.

The company’s Sofia branch terminated its insurance policies on August 17 and parliament will debate whether to revoke its licence.cThe Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission stopped Olympic from signing new policies or extending the terms of already-existing policies in May, prompted by a decision by the Cypriot finance ministry to revoke the company’s licence.

Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, has ordered an investigation into the Financial Supervision Commission’s handling of the affair, while the government has called on Commission deputy chair Ralitsa Agayn, who is in charge of supervising the insurance sector, to resign.


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Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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