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The European South has failed financially, the East politically

25 December 2013 / 13:12:08  GRReporter
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I do not think the chances of the European Socialists in the elections depend on Sergey Stanishev. He is still an unknown and uninteresting figure in Europe. He cannot be compared to his predecessor, Dane Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, at all. The socialists are not playing a leading role in the current European Parliament. They are the second largest political group in it. They have the chance of becoming the first political force after the European elections in May 2014 and this will not be due to Stanishev but to the severe social consequences of the crisis. Europe has not been able to get to know Stanishev during his current mandate, not to speak of remembering him for his leadership. The interest of the international media in him is diminutive. He has nothing to say to the Europeans, except for the left-winged clichés, nor does anything in Europe depend on him.

The true face of the Party of European Socialists (PES) is now Germany’s Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament. He is the party candidate to head the next European Commission. Two years ago, Schultz supported Stanishev’s application for leader of the PES because he was a young leader from a new member state. I am afraid that Stanishev has benefited from the chance of being the leader of a European political force neither for himself nor for Bulgaria. He has remained an impersonal chairman with functions servicing the nomination of Schultz.

An increasing number of MEPs, however, fear that, instead of helping this nomination Stanishev can hamper it. Their greatest fear is due to the dependence of the Bulgarian Parliament and government on the extreme ultra-nationalists from the Attack party, because of its apparent anti-European rhetoric. They were shocked by the nomination of Delian Peevski as head of the National Security Agency and by the proposal that former State Security personnel should return to the ranks of the government. Equally compromising was the case when 59 members of the BSP voted for the proposal of the Attack party to extend the moratorium on land sales to nationals of other member states. This decision was unconstitutional and in breach of the accession agreement between Bulgaria and the EU. Even the MRF, the coalition partner of the socialist party, had opposed it and challenged it in the Constitutional Court. This showed Europe the face of the party led by Stanishev. It only claims to be European but a significant part of it sticks to its past. I have heard that the European socialists look with quiet terror on the business of the Stanishev family, namely on the public relations company of his wife Monica Yosifova. Everyone can see on its website that its customers involve the Council of Ministers, five ministries and a state agency. The state is a customer of the wife of the leader of the ruling party. If this is not clientelism and conflict of interest then I do not know what it is. The royal wife is forming her revenue from the contributions of taxpayers. As if, we are a banana republic run by a family company, involving the left-winged European leader who fights for social justice. This is a political cartoon. Not to mention Monica Yosifova’s office in Brussels, the clients of which are being kept secret. Its scope of activities indicated in the Belgian Commercial Register includes "services relating to representation and influence, strategic advice." Last Thursday I asked Hannes Swoboda, Chairman of the Group of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, if he was concerned about these circumstances. He replied, "I do not comment on the families of party leaders." Then he declared that the socialists "are fighting all the time against any kind of corruption." This is cynical. The European Socialists are also doing what the European People's Party did regarding the disgraceful acts of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party in Bulgaria - they are protecting their own "bastard" in the member state because of the upcoming elections in which he should win votes for them. It is a known fact that, after the crisis with Peevski and the Attack party, Swoboda wrote a critical letter to Stanishev, but the PES covered it up. This hypocrisy kills Europeans' confidence in Europe.
One of the most serious problems in Bulgaria and Greece is the large influx of refugees and illegal immigrants and it has significantly intensified in recent months. Athens and Sofia insist that it should be resolved at European level. How do you evaluate the intentions of the administration in Brussels?

The administration in Brussels is doing what it has been authorised to do by the mandate of the member states and the European Parliament. It is promising more EU funds to deal with the refugee wave in the new programming period (2014-2020). They however will not solve all problems. So far, at the level of member states, the European solidarity with the countries along the southern border of the Union remains predominantly declarative. Almost no one wants to accept the refugees from the countries where they have entered Europe. It is also known that, usually, the ultimate goal of these people is not the poor South but the rich North Europe, whose capacity to help is not endless.

Tags: PoliticsEuropean ParliamentPolitical extremesRefugeesMigrationElectionsBulgariaSergey StanishevAttackReform blocVeselin Zhelev
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