Jurgen Roth: Bulgaria Is on Right Track
German journalist Jurgen Roth, who is on trial for slander in Bulgaria for the publishing of his book about organized crime, "The New Bulgarian Demons," has something good to say about the Balkan nation's fight against corruption and organized crime.
“Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has definitely brought positive change to Bulgaria," Roth told Deutsche Welle, but added that the government still lacks the political will to change in many spheres.
Roth stressed that one of the most serious problems in Bulgaria is the lack of freedom of speech and the press, an opinion shared by most of the Bulgarian colleagues with whom he has spoken. According to him, this means the civil society cannot develop because freedom of speech is an integral part of its development.
Bulgarian elites are also still corrupt, which continues to undermine the pillars of society, he claimed. Roth believes, they must be fully suspended from power or else society's struggles will remain.
However, the urgency to change is missing in the government, he pointed out in the interview.
“On the one hand, the premier hopes to ensure order and stability in the country. On the other hand, the old political structures, even if to a small degree, have not yet changed.”
Asked if he agrees with Klaus Schrameyer's affirmation that blindness to the law is one of the biggest shortcomings of the Borisov cabinet, Roth contended it is unfair to single Bulgaria out in this case.
“Turning a blind eye to controversial issues is a problem in almost every Eastern European country, which is probably due to the communist past of the region,” he told Deutsche Welle.
He compared Bulgaria to Montenegro, Kosovo and Croatia and called Bulgaria a model for a democratic nation. “Bulgaria is on the right track,” he said.
Roth asserted that one of Borisov's priorities for the next year must be to create a strong civil society and pointed out that to achieve this the corrupt structures must completely come down.
Roth said it may be difficult, and mentioned it is important to keep in mind that the problem does not only concern Bulgaria.
“It is also a European problem,” he said.
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