Bulgaria: “We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria” submitted Proposals for Reforms in the Security Services

Politics | October 2, 2023, Monday // 17:29
Bulgaria: Bulgaria: “We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria” submitted Proposals for Reforms in the Security Services Atanasov (left) and Petkov (right)

"We are introducing laws to reform the security services". This was stated by the co-chairman of WCC-DB Kiril Petkov in the National Assembly.

"The acceptance of our country into Schengen and increasing trust in the security services are the main reasons for WCC-DB to introduce changes in the laws for the reform of the services", announced the co-chairmen of the parliamentary group of the formation Kiril Petkov and Atanas Atanasov at a briefing in parliament.

The changes in the two laws - on the management and functioning of the national security protection system and on the National Security Service, provide for changing the mechanism for appointing heads of security services, such as, in addition to Military and civilian intelligence, this also applies to the State Agency for National Security (SANS), State Agency "Technical Operations" (SATO) and National Security Service (NSS). Now they are proposed by the government, and the president issues a decree. The idea is for them to be proposed by the government, as before, but to be chosen by the parliament after public hearings in committees, and not as before – to be appointed by decree from the president.

An exception is made for the "Military Information" service, allowing two possibilities - when the director is a civilian and when he is military, the appointment will be made in a different way - by a vote in the parliament in one case and by presidential decree - in the other.

Kiril Petkov stated that he is ready to negotiate for support with GERB-SDS, which expressed reservations:

"I hope they will reconsider this view of theirs, because I hope that Schengen is as big a priority for them as it is for us. I also hope that they are not waiting for the rotation to come so that we can move the topic of Schengen because European elections are coming, in Austria, so we can't wait any longer. We are ready to continue the talks with them and we hope to convince them."

Atanas Atanasov explained that for now they will not propose a merger of military and civilian intelligence, but they are not giving up on the idea:

"We are not giving up this priority and we hope to convince GERB, DPS, and other political forces in the near future in order to get support, because this is also a very important step to create a unified intelligence agency - from one place to get the assignments".

Petkov added:

"Thursday and Friday last week I had meetings with many of the political parties in the Austrian Parliament as well as the Austrian Foreign Minister. The topic was Schengen and security in the Schengen area. What they made clear is that the most the big questions in relation to their veto are related to the security of migration flows, border security and information security".

"The colleagues from GERB show incomplete readiness to support the laws," added Petkov and expressed hope that GERB would support the projects.

Atanas Atanasov commented on their refusal to merge two of the services:

"At this stage, this is a private case. We are not giving up on this priority, we are working to convince the other political forces, because this is an important step to form a unified body".

He pointed out that political neutrality must be observed in terms of appointments to the services:

"It is unacceptable for heads of special services to express political positions. We are all in favor of political leaders not being involved in the direct management of the security services. It is the Council of Ministers who should directly manage the security system and require a periodic feedback report. In this regard, there is a deficit that must be compensated through the Security Council to the Council of Ministers".

He emphasized that according to the Constitution, the Council of Ministers ensures public order and national security. Atanasov pointed out that the president appoints the generals.

According to Petkov, the month of December is important because then "our European partners gather and a decision is to be made on our entry into Schengen".

"If we don't increase the trust in our security services, we decrease our chances," he believes.

Petkov commented that he hopes that GERB will recognize Schengen as a top priority.

"The best way to solve the problems is to sit at the same table. As the farmers did it, so they (miners and energy workers) should do it. Here we have to sit between the government and the protesters", Petkov said and pointed out that meetings with individual political parties will not lead to solving the problem.

"Let the two sides sit down at the same table as soon as possible," he recommended.

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Tags: Petkov, Atanasov, services, security

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