President: It Is Getting Ever Harder for Bulgaria to Fit in European Landscape, Urges Students to Be Free
114 POLITICS - PRESIDENT - STUDENTS
President: It Is Getting Ever Harder for
Bulgaria to Fit in European Landscape,
Urges Students to Be Free
Plovdiv, South Central Bulgaria, October 23 (BTA) - Addressing an audience of students during a speech at the Plovdiv University, President Rumen Radev said that in many respects Bulgaria ranks next to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and it is getting increasingly harder for it to fit in the European landscape. "Bulgaria needs smart young people. Be free!" he told his audience.
The President's lecture was entitled "Values, Leadership and Education in a Democratic Society".
Radev said that Bulgaria has achieved quite a lot in the past 30 years and currently has a democratic constitution, institutions of the European kind, a market-based economy and integration into international organizations. "On a daily basis you hear about stability, economic growth and absorbed EU funds. Meanwhile, however, you see that discontent among the public is growing, while protests are becoming a daily occurrence. And whatever the highlighted successes may be, on the other side there are humiliatingly low pensions, income levels and thousands of poor and illiterate people," Radev said.
Bulgaria not only got stuck at Europe's bottom, but is also lags significantly behind many of the former Eastern Bloc countries, with which it had shared similar conditions in the past, the President said, adding that when it comes to "key indexes, such as incomes, mortality, poverty, crime, corruption, inequality, freedom of speech, Bulgaria ranks among countries from sub-Saharan Africa and it is getting increasingly harder for it to fit in the European landscape". According to him, Bulgaria has missed out on many of the opportunities offered by the EU membership. "Therefore, if we are seeking some kind of a working formula for our future, we must ask ourselves and answer the question how and why we got here," Radev said.
Asked whether he will create a political party, Radev told the students that they can also create one, because they must decide their own future. "I already said that I would support any political movement that works for the recovery of democratic principles and Bulgaria's modernization.
Approached to comment whether the time for a presidential republic has come, Radev said that this will be up to the current political class' ability to solve Bulgaria's problems within the current constitution. If not, the Bulgarian people can seek a constitutional amendment, which may take different forms and will depend on the citizens.
The President and the students exchanged views about what should be done in order to achieve change, the meaning of EU funds, the way the State is set up, control over the government, justice and the widespread impunity when it comes to petty crime.