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(DF) Specialized Police Unit to Protect Cultural Heritage – Minister Minekov

May 25 (BTA) – A specialized police unit will be set up to protect cultural heritage, be that movable or intangible, caretaker Minister of Culture Velislav Minekov told a briefing here on Tuesday. The new unit will be subordinate to both the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Culture. Minekov has discussed the matter with the Rector of the Police Academy, where the training of the unit will begin. It has to perform along the same lines as the similar units in France and Italy. Italy was the first country to organize and establish a specialized Unit within the military police ”Carabinieri” for the protection of cultural heritage in 1969. Both countries have promised they will help with anything they can, including exchange of specialists and programmes, Minekov said. Minekov said that Europol data show that the exports of such valuables protected by law amount to a staggering figure. The minister predicts a forthcoming heavy controversy regarding the law, particularly with the so-called large collectors whom he believes to threatened now. The confiscation of [fugitive gambling tycoon] Vasil Bozhkov collection may be followed by that of the other 10 or 11 legally registered collections, he said. The caretaker team will continue with a series of good intentions, mainly the establishment of four groups related to revisions of long criticized laws, Minekov said. Minekov said the ministry’s budget is in a bad state. First 1,610,000 leva and then another 1,393,000 leva were rechanneled from the budget reserve in response to the pandemic. This is the poorest ministry of all. Culture was dispensable for years and it was forgotten, abandoned. And that in a way meant a gradually shrinking budget: from 1.3 per cent in 2001 to 0.6 per cent today, the Minister pointed out. Minekov also mentioned he might request the resignation of Bulgarian National Television (BNT) Director General Emil Koshloukov. The statement was prompted by BNT’s live broadcast of a GERB briefing at its headquarters on Saturday interrupting the regular morning programme schedule. In view of this, all political parties should be entitled to have their briefings broadcast in such a way, the Minister said. BNT and the Bulgarian National Radio are part of the system of national security, he said, adding that it has been explained very well when such a thing can be done: in case of extreme emergency like earthquake, bombing, or phenomena threatening national security./NV/BR .. /МЙ/