Protests Resume in Bulgaria over Threat to Coast

Thousands of people joined marches in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, and other cities this week, denouncing a project to redevelop part of the Black Sea coast and calling on the government to resign.

“Dirty interests related to offshore companies are trying to destroy one of last remaining untouched places on the coast,” Borislav Sandov, a leader of the green movement, said.

Press reports claim that the investor, Madara Europe, is part of Rainbow Group Services, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The investigative reporting site Bivol and others have linked the project to Georgiy Stanishev, brother of Sergei Stanishev, leader of the senior coalition partner in the current government, the Bulgarian Socialist Party.

Georgiy and Sergei Stanishev have both denied the allegations.

However, a transcript of the cabinet meeting that approved the project shows that Madara Europe was granted coveted “Class A” investor status with little discussion.

“It’s not a high-tech investment, but it’s welcome,” are the sole words that Prime Minister Plamen Oresharsky is reported to have said about the project, adding: “Let’s approve it.”

On Tuesday, the Minister of Environment, Iskra Mihailova, told Bulgarian TV that she did not expect the project to gain final approval since it encroaches on protected territories.

“I believe this will be one more battle that we will win,” said Sandov. "I hope it will be more than just a partial victory and that we will be able to stop encroachments on the last wild places on the Black Sea coast once and for all.”

Protesters, meanwhile, have expressed hope that the threat to Karadere will galvanise again the daily anti-government...

Continue reading on: