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Stanishev has always looked at Bulgaria through the curtains of his car

17 June 2013 / 21:06:33  GRReporter
3970 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

The protests in Bulgaria against the appointment of Delian Peevski as the head of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) are continuining for the fourth consecutive day. The parliament’s preference has provoked reactions, including from Bulgaria’s foreign partners. In a statement, the European Commission declares, "the demonstrations in Bulgaria over the weekend showed once again the deep concern of Bulgarian society about the rule of law."

GRReporter has turned for a comment on the issue to Nikolai Slatinski, a professor and expert on security, defence and public order.

Mr. Slatinski why is it so important who heads the State Agency for National Security?

During the previous government of the triple coalition, it was namely Sergey Stanishev who had created the SANS in the most incorrect way. So, a half of a counter-intelligence service was formed out of two relatively well working counter-intelligence services (the National Security Service and the Military Counter-intelligence Service) and it was not functioning although the SANS is a key institution in the national security system. Moreover, with the amendments to the law on the SANS, the government has turned it, contrary to the best European practices and to the interests of the state, society and citizens, into a second Ministry of Interior (MI), i.e. into a mega MI, into something that is dramatically reminiscent of the Committee for State Security, into an explosive mixture of police, counter-intelligence and repressive functions. In this sense, the position of the head of the SANS is of key importance. When an obscurantist takes this position, the SANS may become a state within the state or a perfect tool for sinister political orders or for backdoor oligarchy whose nature in Bulgaria is quite criminal, at least as a genesis.  Moreover, the puppet governments frequently use this tool, in a criminal manner again, in support of the elitist interests of the oligarchy. 

What are the responsibilities of that position and why is it so critical?

I am trying to say that in the way in which it had been created, and especially due to the changes in the law on the SANS, its head became nearly the second powerful figure after the Prime Minister or even along with him; a figure with too much power, too many resources, too weak administrative and, most importantly, parliamentary and civilian control. The Bulgarian democratic culture knows no such concentration of power and it all depends on the personality of the head of the SANS. In addition, that legal and institutional framework which makes the functioning of the structure, especially of such a basic structure of the national security system, dependant on the personality of the head of the specific structure, is bad. We must regulate principles, powers, and mechanisms for verification and control, for audit of the activities regardless of the particular person and in accordance with democratic standards.

I do not know whether the politicians of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) realize that they are letting the evil spirit out of the bottle, that they are opening Pandora's Box. Tomorrow, this could turn against them with a terrible force. We all saw how Borisov and Tsvetanov had “installed” the new prosecutor general, anticipating that he would be obedient to them and now, he has become their enemy number 1. This happens whenever the specifics, peculiarities, fears and complexes of individuals are in the foreground instead of democratic principles, laws, values ​​and standards. It is all right if the prosecutor general wants to be a real prosecutor general and it is bad if he wants to be the mad dog of the new government. The same applies to the new powers of the head of the SANS – it is all right if he wants to be a true defender of national security but what happens if he wants to be the mad dog of power. Something very bad can happen.
We read in the press about the reactions of several foreign embassies in connection with Delian Peevski’s appointment. Why is it important for a dialogue with Bulgaria’s partners in the EU and NATO to take place? Is it common for our partners to consult us or are we talking about intervention in the internal affairs of Bulgaria?

Tags: PoliticsState Agency for National SecurityAppointmentProtestsGovernmentNikolai Slatinski
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