Bulgaria on course to diversify gas supply sources

Bulgaria has recently moved ever closer to diversifying its sources of natural gas supply. This time, it seems it may be happening with less geopolitical grandeur and fanfare. After years of flirting with Russia over its monster pipeline projects on the Balkans, a 182km long gas interconnector link with Greece may do the trick. The source? Most probably Azeri gas. On 17 May in the … Read more…

Bulgaria’s Turkish minority party: What went wrong?

News from Bulgaria’s domestic political scene seldom make it to the European mainstream. On one such rare occasion, in December 2015 Reuters reported the sacking of Lyutvi Mestan, the leader of Bulgaria’s Turkish minority party – the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF, or DPS as transliterated in Bulgarian). The general reader could have dismissed the event as trivial but such a view would have … Read more…

Gazprom’s pipelines – dead end or stratagem?

For those who follow the saga of Gazprom’s pipeline projects the recent months certainly offered a decent spectacle. Ever since the cancellation of South Stream and the announcement of Turkish Stream in December 2014, the information puzzle around Gazprom’s actual intentions and capabilities has been growing in complexity. The lack of clarity and transparency allows for speculations by observers over occasional media reports or press … Read more…

Macedonia’s political impasse continues as summer steps in

Bad news came from the Macedonian capital Skopje yesterday July 8th. The opposition party leader Zoran Zaev declared that the snap election deal from June 2nd was now “dead” due to incumbent prime minister Gruevski’s reluctance to step down to a care-taker government which was to supervise the early vote. The announcement coincided with the publication of an opinion poll carried out by the International Republican Institute (IRI) which shows … Read more…

Why the political crisis in Macedonia proves to be a tough nut to crack?

Many of us who follow the development of the political crisis in Macedonia had our eyes set on the round of talks between incumbent PM Gruevski and opposition leader Zaev which took place in Brussels this Wednesday (10 June). After 12 hours of discussions under the mediation of Commissioner Hahn, no tentative agreement was reached and the talks largely failed. This turn of events, though disappointing, should have … Read more…

Vox Opinion on: “People and Power: Macedonia – Behind the Facade”

This short documentary dates from 18 March 2015 and provides some insights on the political situation in Macedonia at the time when the wiretapping scandals were just starting. The video summarizes the nature of the Gruevski regime before the recent escalation of political instability. There is a red line that can easily be traced into today’s events in Macedonia. Just a few months ago, the … Read more…

Sofia News Agency: Macedonian Party Leaders to Continue Anti-Crisis Talks on Monday

Vox Opinion: Although Gruevski is calling for discussions and dialogue, his resignation is still not on the agenda. He will most probably try to clinch to power at all costs as he may become a target of criminal or political persecution once out of government. The stakes are high for Gruevski. A nation-wide protest is called up for Sunday 17 May; the situation is still … Read more…

Russia and Turkey, a story of hard love?

The relationship between Turkey and Russia has an extensive, rich, and tumultuous history. Successors of two powerful empires which defined for centuries the geopolitics of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East, the two countries speak of each other as of “partners” today. However, with the exception of the most recent 15 years of improving ties, the overall bilateral relationship has been marked by … Read more…

A new pipeline is born on the Balkans – Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania will build a “Vertical Interconnector”

“The gas map of South-Eastern Europe is changing”. These are the words of the Bulgarian deputy prime-minister Tomislav Donchev at a working meeting on 22 April in Sofia. A three-side working group consisting of representatives from Romania, Greece, and host nation Bulgaria convened in the capital in order to initiate the construction of a “Vertical Gas Interconnector”. The project is designed to connect the three countries’ … Read more…