Bulgarian Sciences Academy Appeals to PM over Budget Cuts

Society » EDUCATION | December 11, 2009, Friday // 17:57
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Sciences Academy Appeals to PM over Budget Cuts BAS President Nikola Sabotinov (l.). Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (c.), and Finance Minister Simeon Djankov (r.). Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) has addressed a letter to Prime Minister Borisov, pointing out in no uncertain terms the consequences of cutting their budget.

They warned on Friday that the financial cuts would mean they would have to run without heating and electricity for extended periods, thereby closing down research laboratories.

They drew attention to the irony of timing of the announcement of the cut of BGN 10 M, which had occurred on the same day as a positive international assessment of BAS was published.

The letter drew attention to what the academics termed a consistent government policy being pursued, one that would lead to the liquidation of science in Bulgaria, citing the slashed funding of the other major national scientific institution – Sofia University.

"Mr Prime Minister, recently, in another context, it became clear that you do not accept ultimatums. This is not an ultimatum to you, but an ultimatum to a catastrophic policy. If in a week we do not receive clear evidence of an abrupt change in this policy, we will be forced to take necessary actions to stop the destruction of Bulgarian scientists," the letter continued, in a direct appeal to Borisov.

The academics have threatened to inform the new EU Commissioner for Science, Gigyan Moira Quinn, that "Bulgaria is leading an anti-Lisbon and therefore anti-European policy regarding science and innovation. We will organize a campaign to inform the entire world community about the conditions in which the Bulgarian scientist is placed."

The letter also criticized "Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov, as a former employee of the World Bank, [who] should know that the only fiscal criterion for the realization of the Lisbon Strategy is a percentage of gross domestic product invested in science and innovation."

"It is a huge concern also the fact that Education Minister Sergey Ignatov did not take a public stand concerning the cuts in the BAS budget. In these circumstances we do not see how it will build confidence of the scientific community in his policy," the statement continued.

The document concluded with a renewed plea to the Bulgarian Prime Minister.

"Mr. Prime Minister, we rely on your personal position to correct these admitted political mistakes. In this case, the stakes are particularly high – the preservation of Bulgarian science, the modernization and development of Bulgarian society," the letter ended.

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Tags: Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS, Boyko Borisov, Simeon Dyankov, Sergey Ignatov, Sofia University
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