Илиян Василев

Member of the Board of the Center for Balkan and Black sea studies, Managing Partner, Innovative Energy Solutions EOOD, Blogger, Honorary Chair, Bulgarian Economic Forum Coordinator, Sofia Business School

  Ahmed Dogan, the notorious kingmaker in Bulgaria’s political underground, has surfaced as a legitimate owner of TPP Varna, which marks a milestone in the history of the country’s transition. Immediate questions arise – why now? Why this deal? And what does it entail for Bulgaria’s political landscape?   I have been following the progress of the TPP Varna deal for a long time because it is a live edition of Bulgarian grand corruption and the capture of the state. Sooner or later, the “proxies” in the picture step aside and give way to the real owners.   There are several kindred deals in the making at present – one of the most visible ones being the CEZ Bulgaria deal, involving front and backstage players, including well-known Bulgarian businessmen, famous


  Since mid-August, the ritual of communicating the bad news of the imminent natural gas price hike has been in motion. It is now a matter of time before politicians and parties join the chorus and contribute to the drum beat. Energy being everyone’s domain, the chorus draws across government-opposition and party fault lines. Quite often the battle for domination and redistribution of power within the energy sector rages within the GERB and BSP parties – survival of the fittest rules in which the weakest link short-circuits and leaves the scene.   The scenario in a nutshell is the hot potato – the responsibility for the gas price increase, which is expected to be in the range of 15%, will ultimately be attributed not to the main culprits – Gazprom


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caspian sea meeting

After a 27-year dispute, the Caspian littoral states are finally set to resolve the Caspian Sea status. This should allow, among other things, the construction of trans-Caspian oil and gas infrastructure. Whether the expectations will translate into immediate actions and projects is yet to be seen, but after August 12th, when the heads of state of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran convene in the Kazakh port of Aktau to sign the Caspian Sea Convention, the media will overflow with hype and big headlines.   The convention determines the legal status of the Caspian Sea in greater detail for oil and gas exploration, production and transportation than what was adopted in the November 2003 Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea. The current act


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Turkish lira banknotes are seen in this file photo illustration shot in Istanbul, Turkey, January 7, 2014. Turkey's central bank is expected to make an interest rate decision this week.    REUTERS/Murad Sezer/FilesGLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD PACKAGE - SEARCH "BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD AUGUST 17" FOR ALL IMAGES

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The Toll system – the new Grand Slam design. Part One   If the main argument for setting up the toll system is the lack of adequate current control at the border crossings – where taxes are not collected and are kept low – and the government admits that it can’t handle the problem – this part of the border traffic control and tax collection could be conceded to public-private partnerships, without the need to invest big in a toll system throughout the country. Given the abundance of similar practices, it should be easy to hire an experienced operator.   The Bulgarian media overflows with superfluous articles criticizing foreign concessionaires for the huge salaries of the companies’ managers and for gross overspending on operational costs. However, in most instances the

tol sistema

  The debate was over before it ever began. The relevant legislation snuck through Parliament, which ultimately greenlighted the Toll System for Heavy Trucks, due initially in August 2019 onwards.   One should note the revenue expectations level – a breathtaking 800 million leva – a 2.5 times increase over current funding for road maintenance. These days the prime minister really “nailed” the new figure of the expected revenues from the toll system at 1.5 billion leva. The more the PR needs, the higher the figure will go.   All barriers before the Toll System have been removed, with the exception of the barrier of common sense. The system has never passed close public scrutiny, adequate information campaigns or in-depth cost-benefit and alternatives’ studies.   I feel reasonably confident on

lian Vassilev video26.07

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lian Vassilev video26.07

Sorry, this entry is only available in Bulgarian.