GERB Unveils Platform for European Elections
105 POLITICS - EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS - GERB PLATFORM
Sofia, April 14 (BTA) - The GERB Party presented its platform for the May 26 European Parliament elections at a meeting at Sofia's National Palace of Culture on Sunday.
The party's MEP candidates highlighted the sectoral policies in the platform.
Top-of-the list candidate Mariya Gabriel: GERB will be working for the implementation of the 9,200 million euro Digital Europe Programme. Gabriel prioritizes an intensified fight against disinformation, the inclusion of media literacy in curricula, digital infrastructure and investments in it, better connectivity of the Western Balkans, and Bulgaria establishing itself as a digitalization leader.
Andrey Novakov: More financial resources will be available for Bulgaria's agriculture and for small settlements.
Asim Ademov: The EU has increased its education budget.
Andrey Kovatchev: GERB is working for coherent external policy of the EU, for a completion of the process of Western Balkans' EU accession and for protection of Bulgarian communities abroad. As many as 70 per cent of the European citizens, including the Bulgarians, want a European commitment in the healthcare sphere.
Eva Maydell: A single European market needs to be created with clear rules, without double standards for foods and bank fees. Nine hundred million leva under the Juncker Plan have already been agreed for 10,000 companies. Accelerated entry into the Eurozone is targeted.
Marin Zahariev: GERB will be working for keeping the budget of the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
Emil Radev: Defence spending will reach 2 per cent of GDP by 2024. GERB supports the common European position on Russia, including an end to the hybrid war.
GERB leader and Prime Minister Boyko Borissov made an unexpected appearance at the end of the platform presentation meeting. "These elections become important not because of power but because a lot of Trojan horses will make it to the European Parliament," he said. Apparently referring to a current controversy over apartments acquired by top GERB officials at allegedly below-market prices, Borissov admitted that his party and the powerholders "have sustained a heavy blow". "We have only ourselves to blame," the GERB leader said and told the MEP candidates: "Persuade the people that we will be better." He argued that the GERB team for the European elections is the best and assumed that this is the reason why the party's opponents seek to draw it into an exchange of discrediting disclosures. The PM warned his fellow party members to mind the ethnic conflict traps set by opponents at the local level.
Borissov sees the dropping of Party of European Socialists President Sergei Stanishev from the Bulgarian Socialist Party's candidate list as an indication that "Bulgarian Socialists no longer have anything to do with the European Socialists". "I am convinced that Russia has nothing to do with this list, they have been cheated so many times that they hardly believe them," the GERB leader argued, citing the failed Belene N-Plant and South Stream gas pipeline projects.
In his statement, Borissov recalled the "momentous" Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council in the first of 2018. He said that the 2020 Western Balkans Summit will take place in Sofia.
MPs, government ministers and GERB members attended Sunday's meeting, along with Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) Chairman Roumen Hristov. On March 28, GERB and the UDF signed a political agreement on joint entry in the European elections. GERB Campaign Manager Tsvetan Tsvetanov said that his party will also sign an agreement on a shared ticket with the Nikola Petkov Party Agrarians. LI/LG