MR MARTIN SCHULZ
PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
MR HANNES SWOBODA
President of the Socialists and Democrats Group
C.C. Sergey Stanishev
PRESIDENT OF THE PARTY OF EUROPEAN SOCIALISTS
DEAR MT SCHULZ,
DEAR MR SWOBODA,
DEAR MR STANISHEV,
I am writing this letter kindly asking you to advise us about the opinion of the Party of European Socialists regarding the activities of renowned International NGOs whose endeavours encompass spreading the values of Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. I do insist on your position on the accusations these NGOs are organising and fostering the anti-government protests in Bulgaria.
Since 14 June 2013, Bulgarian citizens have been remonstrating every day against the Government of Mr Plamen Oresharski and the political parties supporting him in the Parliament – the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. The protests were sparked by the appointment of Mr Delyan Peevski, an MP from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, as Chairman of the State Agency for National Security. This crucial appointment was neither supported by any preliminary information nor publicly discussed. Mr Peevski, often called a “media mogul”, owns a significant number of Bulgarian mass communications institutions that are part of one of the biggest mass media groups financed by Corporate Commercial Bank and its owner – Mr Tsvetan Vassilev – a businessman with serious interests in different sectors of the Bulgarian economy. The above mentioned financial and business group has been granted a key position in the Executive Power, i.e., The State Agency for National Security.
This act of ostentatious transfer of the Executive Power to representatives of a certain business circle resulted in strong social reaction of objection. Protest marches swept over the streets of the capital of Bulgaria and have been active for nearly three months now. So far, the Government, as well as the ruling parties, have NOT responded to the questions and the demands of the people and at the same time the politicians reject all requests for a direct debate and discussions with the protesters.
Instead, a massive smear campaign against the more popular protesting persons has been initiated. This campaign is aiming at not merely defaming specific individuals, but at leading to the disrepute of the protest and its suppression.
In the course of this campaign, there have been a number of articles published, implicating organisations such as Open Society, Trust for Civil Society in Central & Eastern Europe, German Marshall Fund and others in being in charge of funding the protests against the Government of Mr Oresharski by “supplying cash to their leaders”.
- On 19 August 2013, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament – Mrs Maya Manolova, Bulgarian Socialist Party – declared that “the protests represent a new form of temporary employment” and that “no one in Bulgaria ever doubts that the majority of the protesters in Sofia are paid to participate.” Mrs Manolova added: “I would rather say that this is a new form of temporary employment and quite a lot of people managed to cover their summer expenses – some of them were able to vacation on the seaside thanks to this cash funding during the protests. If this form of temporary employment remains active in the autumn, it would reduce the burden of the Social Minister to seek assistance for these people, since others are paying them for protesting.”
- On 25 August 2013, the leader of Ataka – the extreme nationalist party- Mr Volen Siderov stated the protesters against the Government Oresharski “are paid propaganda groups and the demonstrations have been instigated by circles around billionaire George Soros and by the political Party GERB”. This statement was made just a few days after Ataka provided its key support to the ruling body to override the President’s veto on the budget revision.
- On 21 August 2013, Duma daily, the official newspaper of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, led by Mr Sergei Stanishev, who is also the President of PES, published an article stating: “We experienced first-hand the anti-Bulgarian and devidng activity of Open Society.” Even more: “We feel comfortable to label “Soros Pilgrims” all “donors”, who have interest in forcing “their values” in Bulgaria. And these values are all too often related to the radical capitalism which is noxious for both the body and the soul.” The article specified the amount of cash received by particular persons, participating and supporting the protest, from Trust for Civil Society in Central & Eastern Europe and Open Society. The author closes the article with: “the amounts quoted are in USD, the green lizard (a Bulgarian colloquial for the US currency) is more appropriate when intended for the civil society,” and by insinuating the protesters who demand resignation are being paid. “That is why the newly formed Reformist’s Bloc has no problems with its financing – the civil society flourishes when there are no left-wing people”, concludes the author.
This campaign has been carried on in mass media unconditionally supporting the Government, which are either owned by Mr Delyan Peevski (appointed and subsequently, recalled as a Chairman of the State Agency for National Security) or directly representing the Bulgarian Socialist Party. The cardinal aim of the campaign is the persuasion that the protests in Sofia are not authentic but funded by large-scale Non-Governmental Organisations. Such suggestions are either directly or non-directly implied in the statements of politicians quoted above. The quoted article of the official daily of the Bulgarian Socialist Party hurls direct and tangible charges against two of the most significant international Non-Governmental Organisations.
To my great regret, the leaders of the Bulgarian Socialist Party validate this slanderous campaign by remaining silent.
The Questions/Topics at Issue
In this relation, I will highly appreciate receiving the official statement of the leaders of the Party of European Socialists on the questions below:
1. Do you have any data available that Open Society, Trust for Civil Society in Central & Eastern Europe, German Marshall Fund or others are engaged in any activities and are in any way directed against the rule of law, democratic values and fundamental human rights in Bulgaria?
2. Do you share the statement of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, cited in their official press, that the above mentioned Non-Governmental Organisations have been funding the anti-government protests in Bulgaria, aiming at ousting the Cabinet of Mr Plamen Oresharski?
3. What is the position of PES regarding Non-Governmental Organisations encouraging the development of democratic civil practices with the goal of establishing a broader public nature and transparency of Governmental Decision Making by the political elite?
We are all aware that Mr Sergeiy Stanishev is the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and of the Party of European Socialists, thus any position disseminated by him or the party he leads in Bulgaria reflects directly on the Party of European Socialists and its European leaders.
The attempt to disrepute the civil society’s protests in Bulgaria by means of persuasion and insinuations about their funding by renowned International Non-Governmental Organisations is more than risky. Besides, it really ruins the image of our country.
I consider it of great importance that the leader of the Party of European Socialists asserts these statements that Open Society, Trust for Civil Society in Central & Eastern Europe, German Marshall Fund and others participate in the funding of the anti-government protests in Bulgaria.
I do insist on receiving an official statement of the Party of European Socialists and its President – Mr Stanishev – affirming they distinguish themselves from claims the Organisations mentioned above are in charge of funding activities against the development of democracy and the civil society activity in Bulgaria.
Lies and manipulation will not curb the civil society protest in Bulgaria. All we need is clear public answers that citizens demand and are entitled to receive.
Благодаря на всички, които ми помогнаха с редакцията на двете писма и с превода на английски. Истински приятели! 🙂