US Ambassador to Bulgaria: Democracy is Impossible without a Vibrant Civil Sector
“15 years have passed since the founding of the foundation and what has been achieved has touched life in Bulgaria. Why do we care about civil society? Why is it important to us? Because a democracy cannot exist without a vibrant civil sector.” This was stated by the US ambassador to Bulgaria, Herro Mustafa.
Herro Mustafa emphasized that civil society intervenes where there is a real need, it has played a huge role in Bulgarian society, noting the contribution of the Bulgarian revivalists, the contribution to saving the Bulgarian Jews, as well as many other examples, including the support for the Ukrainian refugees. "We have witnessed quite a few attempts to intimidate civil society," the American ambassador noted, adding that she supports the Anti-Corruption Fund's activities, despite smear campaigns.
"We have gathered here to discuss the essential role of civil society for a democracy. Bulgarian civil society has been filling the gaps in recent years. Civil society is all of us," said the president of the “America for Bulgaria” Foundation, Nancy Schiller.
The "America for Bulgaria" Foundation and the embassies of Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the USA opened an event in honor of civil organizations in Bulgaria.
The director of the Bulgarian Center for Non-profit Law, Nadia Shabani, specified that the battles of Bulgarian civil society are the fight against corruption, the independent judicial system, granting more rights to people with disabilities, better social policy, etc. "A prosperous society can only happen with the participation of civil society. All surveys show that people in Bulgaria care about civil society," added Shabani.
Spanish Ambassador Alejandro Polanco Mata explained that the stronger a civil sector, the greater the democracy in a country. "Sustainability of tourism can contribute to the integration of places, to the preservation of the population where we observe a strong decrease. Sustainable tourism allows traditions and values to be preserved", he believes and added that in Bulgaria one of the main problems is demography, but at the same time, there are many opportunities for development in our country.
Swiss Ambassador Raymond Fuhrer announced that Switzerland and Bulgaria recently signed a framework agreement to provide financial assistance, and one of the five goals is precisely the social system and its strengthening, with the emphasis being on vulnerable groups, their successful inclusion and integration.
German Ambassador Irene Maria Plank, who has been in Bulgaria for two weeks, said that freedom of the media and the rule of law are potential for cooperation.
She noted that Bulgaria is about to participate in the fifth consecutive election in two years and trust in the institutions is low. Ambassador Plank is categorical that the legal reform is extremely important for Bulgaria, to improve the quality of life and development.
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