Ska Keller: Many Bulgarians have Apologized to me Personally Because of Deputy PM Simeonov
The Bulgarians themselves are shocked by the language and content of the declaration, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov, said MEP Ska Keller to Deutsche Welle. She has still not received an official apology from Sofia.
The declaration of the NFSB, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Simeonov, dates almost two weeks back. Shortly after its appearance, the cabinet published its position, which distinguished itself from it. But was there also an excuse from the Bulgarian government?
SKA KELER: No, the Bulgarian government has not given me apologies. Many Bulgarians, however, apologized to me personally. They themselves are shocked by the language and content of the Vice Premier's speech. I am grateful to the Bulgarians who support me and who turned to me personally.
DW: According to some Bulgarian media, Jean-Claude Juncker personally insisted on the Bulgarian cabinet to take a stand on the issue. So the case has already been completed. Is it over for you? Did not you expect more criticism from the EC or a more solid position from Sofia?
SKA KELER: The aggressive tone of Valeri Simeonov, who is unworthy of a deputy prime minister, shows very clearly how tense is the situation. The fact that only hours after the declaration the Bulgarian government has published its position shows that the prime minister is watching the reactions to such attacks. He knows that, especially during his European presidency, the Bulgarian government is under strong surveillance. I personally focused above all on supporting citizens in their protests in defense of the rule of law.
DW: Not only Valeri Simeonov used offensive words at your address, calling you, for example, a "green jihadist". MEP Angel Djambazki speaks aggressively too. In his view, you have supported an "Islamic invasion of Europe". How will you comment on his words? Or how will you calm the Djambazki supporters who believe him?
SKA KELER: These statements have greatly surprised me. He is also insulting Bulgarian environmentalists and Bulgarians who oppose the commercial exploitation of Pirin National Park after seeing some connection between them and terrorism. Instead of giving absurd accusation he has to focus on meaningful discussion.
DW: Have you ever talked personally with Angel Djambazki in the European Parliament?
SKA KELER: No, I have not.
DW: Are you going to take any legal steps with regard to the NFSB declaration?
SKA KELER: I will continue to fight against such narrow-mindedness and aggression.
DW: Did the declaration cast a shadow over the Bulgarian Euro-presidency, as Politiko wrote?
SKA KELER: In any case, the Bulgarian government was very concerned about the statements of the Deputy Prime Minister. Otherwise, it would not have distanced itself from them. The Bulgarian prime minister knows very well that his Deputy PM went too far, and that many people are watching closely the steps that Sofia is taking during the European presidency.
DW: What do you want Bulgaria to do during its EU presidency?
SKA KELER: I would like the Cabinet to withdraw its plans to complete the ski infrastructure in Pirin National Park, and I would like to hear citizens' concerns about the construction of a section of the highway in the Kresna Gorge and to take them into consideration. Bulgaria is bound to respect its own laws and EU legal standards, and to make more efforts in the fight against corruption.
DW: Some Bulgarians criticize your participation in the Bulgarian protests in defense of Pirin. They say, "This is our country, not yours. Better pay attention to the problems of Germany." What do you think about these people?
SKA KELER: I would have told them that all Bulgarians are also Europeans and have the same rights as all the rest of the EU. And believe me, I'm also criticizing the German government. "
DW: Why are you committed to Bulgaria?
SKA KELER: It is important for me that there are no double standards in the EU. Everyone should have the right to voice their opinions freely, to criticize the government and to reveal what is not going right. This applies to Bulgaria as well as to Germany and all other EU member states.
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