Balkan Developments

Macedonian historians in no hurry to settle Gotse Delchev issue

Photo: ReutersThe co-chair, on the Macedonian side, of the joint committee for resolving controversial historical issues between Bulgaria and North Macedonia Dragi Georgiev rejected the proposal of his Bulgarian counterpart Angel Dimitrov for the holding of an extraordinary session of the committee this month.

On 1 August in Skopje, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov asked the historians from the committee to speed up their work and to come up with a decision, by October, on the joint celebration of Gotse Delchev and the other heroes from struggles for the liberation of Macedonia. Rejecting the proposal for an extraordinary session, Dragi Georgiev commented that demands by politicians could have an unfavourable effect on the work of the committee.

Greece slashes taxes introduced by international creditors

Photo: EPA/BGNESGreek parliament is to approve more tax cuts this week. The measures planned include an income tax reduction – from the current 22 down to 9 percent - for Greeks earning up to 10,000 euro annually. In a drive to keep pre-election promises, the new parliament in Athens, which is under the control of New Democracy party, slashed property tax by 22 percent. Moreover, anyone with unpaid taxes or contributions to pension funds will be able to defer payment over 120 monthly installments.

New tax imposed on tourist industry in Turkey

Photo: EPA/BGNESA new tourism tax in Turkey will affect hotels and agencies after the end of the season, as of October. Data for the first 6 months of the year show a 13 percent increase in the number of tourists coming from abroad. The 10 percent surge in revenues in the sector gave the Turkish economy, which is undergoing a recession, a much-needed boost. The authorities which are experiencing a critical budget deficit, are introducing a 0.75 percent tax on tourism revenues, payable every month by proprietors offering accommodation, food and drink, travel agencies and private operators at airports and terminals. The tax will be collected by the new tourism promotion and development agency and the sum is expected to be around 150 million euro annually. The industry is unhappy because the tax will eat into profits considerably.

African swine fever spreading in Romania too

Photo: ReutersAfrican swine fever is now spreading in Romania as well. Two outbreaks of the epidemic have been confirmed in two industrial pig farms in the outskirts of Bucharest. The state has already spent 100 million euro on compensations for farmers. The virus has entered a pig farm in Ilfov County where 45,000 pigs are to be culled. The virus has spread to 10,000 home farms where more than half a million animals have been put down.

Opposition in Serbia threatens to boycott parliamentary elections

Photo: ReutersUnofficial talks have started in Belgrade, with US mediation, between the government and the opposition on the holding of regular parliamentary elections next spring. Matthew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State commented he hoped the opposition would give up the idea of boycotting the elections and would come to an agreement with the government on the election conditions. The opposition Union for Serbia stated that the government was abusing media, including public media, and that citizens were being forced to vote for them. Under these circumstances, the elections would be neither free nor fair, the opposition says. Commenting on the threats by the opposition to boycott the vote, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic said: That is not a film you are going to watch.

 Compiled by: Ivo Ivanov

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