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Kostadinka Kuneva: Stitches will not stop me

05 May 2014 / 14:05:39  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

Almost six years after the brutal acid attack, the consequences of which are still being treated, Bulgarian syndicalist Kostadinka Kuneva decided to enter politics. She is an MEP candidate of the Greek left party SYRIZA, the leader of which Alexis Tsipras has been proposed by the European Left for leader of the European Commission.

In an interview for GRReporter, the syndicalist who has been living in France for about two years, where she is subjected to another round of surgery and treatments, explained the reasoning behind her decision to leave the trade unionism and won a seat in the European Parliament.

Mrs Kuneva, why have you decided to enter politics and why with this particular party?

Problems in Europe are becoming more serious, poverty is increasing at a rapid rate, people are starving, and a lot of families are unable to cover their costs, even if they have a job. More and more people are in debt and do not know when they will be able to get rid out of the debt, without which they cannot feed their families. The educational and health system exist only de jure and cannot play the role for which they have been created in this society.

Measures taken by local and European parliaments do not help people cope with life.

This is happening because mainly interests of banks and global companies are protected there. For example, besides the about four hundred MEPs in Brussels, there are also more than 1,200 lobbyists who work only for the interests of the company they represent. Who works for us? No one! For so many years, we have not felt that there are at least 2-3 people who are trying to protect the interests of workers and the unemployed in Europe. This means that we have to go and see what is happening there and present and defend our interests, as a majority of the European Community. We must find a way to achieve this. Therefore, I decided that I could do this with SYRIZA, with which we share common interests and moreover I had worked with this organization before the acid attack.

You know the problems of workers very well because of your union activity. How do you intend to act in order to solve them from the position of an MEP?

Now I cannot say exactly how, and I should not do so because it will not be my personal work. I hope that SYRIZA’s interest to protect the poor, the unemployed, families, the disabled, and those who have a very low status is also the interest of other parties in Greece and Europe, with which we will get along and achieve good results. This is the future - solidarity.

Bearing in mind that your treatment is continuing, how much time and energy will you have for politics?

Operations are now rare and more cosmetic – time will be needed in order for the operated site to stabilize. Operations will take a few days and the recovery period will be very short. Well, of course stitches cannot be a hindrance. Some might think that they are not aesthetic and normal, but life goes on and we cannot stand still because of a few stitches.

Will I have enough energy? My love for people, I think is the main source of energy I have.

Via you have the opportunity to address voters in Greece, Bulgaria and other European countries. What would you tell them in order to persuade them to vote for you?

I have been living with the problems of the European population for many years, even before I went to Greece and before coming to France, so I know how you dear people feel. We need as many of us who work for a piece of bread which is unaffordable for many people now; we, the people who know and live with the problems of the majority of people inhabiting Europe, should go and defend our interests in the European Parliament and produce laws in order to stop hunger and unemployment; laws which will protect the lives of people living in Europe. 

Tags: Politics Kostadinka Kuneva candidacy European elections SYRIZA syndicalism
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