Bulgarian PM Stands Firm behind Controversial Policies
Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, declares he would not replace any member of the current cabinet as the right-wing leader, Ivan Kostov, recently demanded.
In an interview for the Bulgarian National Television, BNT, Borisov said he already dismissed those who needed to be dismissed, adding Kostov and Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, were a "tandem of the status quo," and each and every member of the cabinet knows they can be let go if they "slow down" in their work.
The PM defended Culture Minister, Vezhdi Rashidov, who recently got entangled in a scandal in Italy, saying he did not see anything wrong with a 40-people delegation traveling to the Venice Film Festival.
"I never have spoken with Berlusconi about Michelle Bonev. I know her; we met at the reception after my charity football game participation in Italy," Borisov said.
Regarding filmmakers' and intellectuals' outcry the cabinet of his Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party is eliminating State funding for Bulgarian cinema, the PM explained the funding is as it has always been, but it was normal, in times of crisis, to give subsidies only if there "are enough resources."
Borisov further defended Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, over the latter's recent involvement in a property scandal, saying the Minister was doing "splendid" work and halted the kidnappings and the highway robberies.
"The man has the full support of Brussels and Washington and I have to dismiss him? Why? Because at the age of 46 he purchased one apartment and received some more as inheritance and is expecting a third child," the PM asked.
Borisov explained that ousted Health Minister, Anna-Maria Borisova, was an excellent professional, but was not dealing efficiently enough with the health reform, while former Foreign Minister and flopped EU Commissioner nominee, Rumiana Jeleva, fell prey of political intrigue and attacks.
The PM further defended his cabinet's policies in carrying out the healthcare and retirement reforms, saying BGN 3.6 B for healthcare was a hefty sum, while the retirement reform was satisfactory for the trade unions and the business – "if they try to do such reform in France, Paris would be set on fire," he pointed out.
"Many countries are now behind us. When we only discussed raising the Value Added Tax to 21%, media published apocalyptic forecasts. Meanwhile Romania went to 24% VAT. Bulgaria now has a slight economic growth and things will only get better," Borisov said.
When asked to comment on GERB Members of the Parliament who were recently exposed through a media trick for their greed and abandoning work to receive an expensive gift, which is a conflict of interest, the PM stressed GERB was the only party to sanction its MPs while nothing has happened to those from other political formations, who also succumbed to the trick.
Borisov further declared in order to successfully fight crime, Bulgaria must hurry and carry out the plan to establish special tribunals, dealing with high-profile organized crime cases.
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