Official investigation contradicts Simeonov’s claims about ‘illegal’ beach bars at Sunny Beach

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works has announced the results of an investigation that found that, in spite of allegations by Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov, five beach bars at Sunny Beach are legal.

The ministry investigated beach bars The One, La Cubanita, Cacao Beach, Del Mar and Bedroom and found that all met the plans approved for them.

However, the inspection found that 32 places in the popular Bulgarian Black Sea coastal resort either did not match approved plans or lacked permission from the Nessebur Municipality chief architect.

Of these, 20 were in Sunny Beach South, five in Sunny Beach central and seven in Sunny Beach north.

Follow-up actions will include orders from the Nessebur mayor either to remove the sites or bring them into line with the approved plans.

At Sunny Beach south, a metal fence and a parking area near the Hotel Imperial, removed in 2017, have been put back.

In another part of the beach, a volleyball pitch, sports playground, a stage with a concrete floor, with tables and seating, were found to have no permission to be there.

Other sites found to be illegal included at least two parking areas.

Simeonov, a co-leader of the United Patriots – the grouping of far-right and ultra-nationalist parties that is the minority partner in Prime Minister Boiko Borissov – is, for a second year, making much of alleged breaches of regulations at Sunny Beach.

This has brought him into repeated conflict with Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova, a member of Borissov’s centre-right GERB party. Simeonov has approached the Prosecutor-General with allegations against Angelkova’s ministry. Simeonov and Angelkova also have clashed over noise levels at the Sunny Beach resort.

Summer 2018 is the second holiday season in which Simeonov has been campaigning against certain places of entertainment in the resort. In summer 2017, Simeonov led raids on bars and discos, accompanied by police, tax and health officials.

In recent days, Simeonov – while both he and Angelkova deny there is a conflict – hinted to journalists that he was prepared to resign over the issue, a threat that most observers regard as implausible.

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