Segregation of beaches for rich and poor in Bulgaria is unconstitutional - Minister

2010-08-25

Bulgarian Regional Development Minister Rossen Plevneliev has spoken against a rich-poor divide when it comes to accessing the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Access to Bulgarian beaches cannot, and must not, be restricted because such actions are banned by the Bulgarian Constitution, Plevneliev, said. "Separate beaches for rich and poor will not be. VIP beaches are unconstitutional," he said during a television interview with the private Bulgarian channel bTV on August 25 2010. Plevneliev commented on recent reports that property owners from the Black Sea resort town of Lozenets have segregated themselves and fenced-off parts of the beach, denying ordinary people access to the seafront. Accordingly, he said the urban plans must be re-evaluated and the cases investigated because the local town hall must secure access to the beach for all tourists. "Categorically, no one can deny people access to the water," Plevneliev said. Along the Bulgarian seafront, according to the Minister, there are a total of 209 beaches classified as such; about 100 of them have been already subjected to "surprise investigations" this summer and observed violators will be reported to prosecutors. Plevneliev said that during the investigation, most of the irregularities involved beaches lacking life guards or beaches on concession. When asked during the interview why the authorities have not yet demolished the illegal construction in the coastal area known as Zlatna Perla, the Minister explained the owners have lodged an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court. "At the moment when the court takes the decision – the bulldozers are already there," he said.