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The Members of Parliament decided to allocate state budget funds to finish the financing of Lyulin motorway

The Members of Parliament decided to allocate state budget funds to finish the financing of Lyulin motorway

June 23, 2010

At its sitting held on June 23, 2010 the National Assembly adopted a decision to allocate from the state budget an additional BGN 86 100 000 to finish the financing of the construction and supervision of "Lyulin" motorway due to the extension of the construction time frame until 2011. The measures for the project’s completion are laid down in a report of the Road Infrastructure Agency supported by a decision of the National Assembly. It is pointed out in the document that this year an additional financing in the amount of BGN 62.586 million will be needed for the project. In order to complete the project and absorb the ISPA funds by the end of this year, as is the term initially set, it is necessary to sign an addendum with the contractor. It should contain the needed financial resource as well as the measures for expediting the project, says the report.

The deadline for completing the motorway is fixed at May 15, 2011. The contractor waives all his claims related to term extension and accepts to receive from the contracting authority the payment of Euro 32 million as a final and complete indemnity. The report contains analysis of the major risks and consequences for the project such as non-absorption of the ISPA funds, financial corrections by the European Commission and possibility for the contractor to require from the Bulgarian side more money than the pre-agreed. The eventual non-completion of the motorway as part of European corridors 4 and 8 is also assessed as a risk.

Civil servants shall be no longer entitled to additional paid leave of up to 15 working days. This decision was adopted by the M.P.s at the second reading of amendments to the Labor Code. The right to additional paid leave days is provided for by a text in the Civil Servant Act that the Parliament decided to repeal. Along with the amendments to the Labor Code the M.P.s also adopted amendments to the Civil Servant Act. For the year 2010 the civil servants shall not be entitled to representative working attire. The Parliament also adopted an amendment providing for the possibility for the civil servants to postpone their annual leave when not in a position to take it due to temporary inability for work, pregnancy, childbirth or child bringing.

Paid annual leave that has remained outstanding towards January 1, 2010 shall be used only until January 1, 2011 according to a decision adopted by the M.P.s. The length of the period of reduced working hours introduced upon drop of work volume is extended by another three months, according to the adopted amendments. The provisions of the currently effective code read that the employer is entitled to introducing reduced working hours for a period of three months within one calendar year. Another austerity amendment is the extension by 45 calendar days of the term for which the employer can, where needed, temporarily transfer workers to another job in the same or another enterprise without getting their prior consent. At present this period is 45 days. The legislative amendment is interim and shall be valid until the end of 2011. The amendments that have been finally adopted are of interim nature and regulate some of the Government’s austerity measures.

The Parliament adopted at second reading amendments to the National Revenue Agency Act. Those provide for the mandatory instructions on unified application of the tax and insurance legislation in the framework of the Agency’s functions and powers to be issued by the Executive Director following an opinion paper by the Minister of Finance.

The M.P.s decided to reduce the amount of minimum penalty imposed on employers who violate the regulations pertaining to safety at work. The amendment was adopted at second reading of changes to the Labor Code. An employer who does not comply with the obligations for providing healthy and safe working conditions shall be subject to property sanction or a penalty in the amount of BGN 1500 to 15 000. The currently effective law sets a minimum penalty threshold of BGN 10 000. The executive at fault shall be subject to sanction of BGN 1000 to 10 000 /until present the lower threshold used to be BGN 2500/. Those who fail to implement a mandatory instruction by a controlling authority to observe the labor legislation may be held liable to a penalty of BGN 1500 to 10 000 where the lower threshold is reduced by BGN 1000.

A change in the subject and/or the objectives of the protected areas shall be regarded as a change in the protected areas themselves according to an amendment to the Bio Diversity Act. Amendments and supplements to this Act have been adopted by the National Assembly at first reading. Initiator is the Council of Ministers. So far only the cases of area increase or decrease or deletion have been considered changes in the protected areas. According to the amendment, changes occurring after the area is declared protected shall be admissible after their reflection in the standard form. The Minister of Environment shall issue an instruction on the specific order and way for conducting the procedure. Changes are introduced in the requirements to the experts drafting protected areas impact assessment reports. The initiators’ argumentation is that this is prompted by the drop out of the experts’ registration regime. One of the new requirements is for a minimum of 5 years of service in the relevant field of expertise which should not necessarily be within the last 10 years.

The draft bill also introduces a EC Regulation on the international trade in seal products on the territory of the European Union which is mandatory and applicable in all EU member states. Before that the M.P.s ratified a Cooperation Agreement between Bulgaria and the EU Centre for medium range weather forecasts under which the National Institute of Hydrology and Meteorology with the Bulgarian Academy of Science shall receive analyses and forecasts at the highest professional level. Thus Bulgarian meteorologists are expected to produce more precise mid-range /up to 15 days/ weather forecasting.

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