Bulgarian Hotel, Restaurant Association: New Govt Will Lift Smoking BanBusiness | December 18, 2012, Tuesday // 13:49| views
Blagoy Ragin, Chair of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (BHRA), has said that the full indoor smoking ban will be lifted in six months, once a new government assumes office. Photo by BGNES
Blagoy Ragin, Chair of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (BHRA), has said that the full indoor smoking ban will be lifted in six months, once a new government assumes office.
On Tuesday, MPs from the Parliamentary Economic Committee rejected amendments that would have lifted the country's full smoking ban in enclosed public spaces with10 votes for, 6 against, and 5 abstentions.
In a Tuesday interview, Ragin said that Bulgaria's next government would lift the ban upon assuming office because it would be more attentive to the opinion of the business sector.
Disgruntled representatives of the hotel and restaurant business vowed to start dismissing employees on Wednesday in response to the confirmation of the smoking ban.
"In six months' time, the first point on the agenda of the next Parliament will overturn the full statutory ban on indoor smoking, regardless of who has made it into Parliament," Ragin declared.
He went on to argue that there was no EU Member State which failed to provide separate rooms for smokers and non-smokers.
"There is a full ban, indeed, but nobody dares touch bars and restaurants," Ragin added.
"France subsidizes the process with EUR 300 M each year for each owner of a restaurant or cafe who lost their business," the BHRA Chair explained.
"Nobody dares make such sharp turns as in Bulgaria amid such an unprecedented crisis," Ragin noted, adding that 57% of the tax receipts entering the state coffers were generated by the service sector.
Dimitar Manolov, head of the BHRA unit in Veliko Tarnovo, complained that the debate on the legal amendments had become politicized and the MPs who had voted against the lifting of the full smoking ban had become distanced from the concerns of the voters.
Atanas Dimitrov, member of the Managing Board of BHRA and Chair of its Sofia-based unit, said that the decision on whether to boycott the law would be a collective one.
He added that people had already called for road blocks and civil disobedience in response to the reaffirmed full smoking ban in enclosed public spaces.
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