site.btaUPDATED Deputy PM Gabriel "I'll Not Sign Memorandum"

Deputy PM Gabriel "I'll Not Sign Memorandum"
Deputy PM Gabriel "I'll Not Sign Memorandum"
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel (BTA Photo)

"I will not sign the so-called memorandum," Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel told a news conference at the Foreign Ministry here on Wednesday. She was referring to a governance memorandum that Continue the Change - Democratic Bulgaria (CC-DB) offered on Tuesday to their power-sharing partners, GERB-UDF.

"Long enough I listened about which is the right position for Mariya Gabriel and how things should be happening," the foreign minister stressed.

"Everything has boundaries. Mine are that I do not accept the country to be governed in total disregard of fundamental principles of democracy," Gabriel said. 

She said that for days she patiently and deliberately did not comment on the proposals for rotation both from the side of Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov and the side of CC-DB. "I heard proposals to swap places with Denkov, I heard exoticism to add another new ministry so there would be room for everyone," she noted, emerging from a meeting of EU and US ambassadors. She said she familiarized participants with how she understands the governance of the country and what she plans to do and not to do. 

Gabriel said that it was disturbing that the memorandum leaves the impression that Bulgaria will be divided between two coalitions and that independent regulators, the judiciary, the services and supervisory bodies will be divided between the coalitions in violation of state legislation at the expense of personal agendas and partisan interests. According to her, the memorandum's texts clearly and categorically indicate that, "in essence, the document is proposing that two political forces agree in absolute contradiction to the Constitution, democracy and European practice". She pointed out that every law related to the election of the relevant regulators and supervisory bodies contains clear rules and precise requirements for the relevant position and there are clearly stated the conditions that the person concerned must meet.  

According to her, the memorandum is an ultimatum and an attempt to change laws according to partisan interests and it has a single goal - political control of the independent judiciary, supervisory bodies and regulators.

"The memorandum is an attempt at political horse-trading disguised behind apparent slogans of respect for principles," Gabriel said. 

The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister commented on some of the proposals.

  • Judicial reform: It is a priority but in the proposed document for "the biggest layman it is clear that all the ambitious goals can hardly be achieved within nine months". It is a programme for a whole term of government. If it was so easy, why have we not set it and achieved it by now, or will it be demanded of me in the clear knowledge that it cannot be met, Gabriel asked.
  • Security services: Why the deadline of June 1, 2024, which coincides with European parliamentary elections campaign? Justification, motives and clear rules on how these changes would take place without endangering national security are absent in this document, which is proof that the memorandum is an attempt to take control of the services. 
  • E-governance: It is not clear what this ambitious activity requires in the next nine months. The incumbent minister of e-government has been running around with security for several months as a result of threats and pressure from MPs. The threats concern public procurements. This case is still unclear and the proposal to reform this ministry suggests an attempt to cover up a corruption scandal or take control of a ministry.
  • Foreign policy: The document clearly states that foreign policy will be led by two voices. For me, foreign policy is based on national interests and priorities and Bulgaria should speak with one voice.

Gabriel said that the memorandum was prepared with a horizon until December 2024 , but for a period of four years. "Would a separate memorandum be signed every nine months or only for the nine months when the prime minister would be from GERB," Gabriel asked.

The deputy prime minister said that a huge part of the governance programme - eurozone, economy, education, health, regional policy, energy - was missing from the memorandum. "Will they be less important for the governance of the country in this period," she noted. "If the goal was really a document around which the ruling majority could unite and on which we could govern, why did we not sign one in June 2023, as GERB proposed," Gabriel said. In her words, it is clear to everyone that a document developed only by one side and sent to the other side via a chat application is not aimed at reaching an agreement.

This is a sabotage of the talks process and is a manifestation of anything but a desire to continue the joint governance, Gabriel added.

Earlier on Wednesday, GERB leader Boyko Borissov also turned down the offer, calling it "immature and unacceptable".

CC co-leader Kiril Petkov told reporters in Parliament the memorandum was "not an ultimatum but an open position leading to agreement", which sets out key governance priorities for the next nine months concerning the regulators, judicial reform and the security services.

/LG/

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By 05:31 on 25.04.2024 Today`s news

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