Farage Replies to Ralitsa: "I Want to See Bulgaria Prosperous and Free"

Open Letter | February 6, 2013, Wednesday // 19:15| Views: | Comments: 11
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Bulgaria: Farage Replies to Ralitsa: "I Want to See Bulgaria Prosperous and Free" UKIP leader, MEP Nigel Farage. Photo by EPA/BGNES

UK Independence Party leader, MEP Nigel Farage has submitted to Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) and Novinite.bg a reply to the open letter sent to him by a young Bulgarian woman, Ralitsa Behar, which was first published by Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) and Novinite.bg.

Ralitsa Behar, who lived and studied in the UK and chose to go back to Bulgaria and build a career here instead of the UK, had reacted to Farage's renewed criticism of Bulgaria in a bid to fuel fears over new immigrants, coming as of 2014.

Speaking on BBC's Question Time, Nigel Farage slammed Bulgaria as a country in a terrible state, where the judiciary is not independent and the mafia basically runs the economy.

Following is the full text of the reply that Mr. Farage sent to Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) and Novinite.bg:

"Dear Ralitsa,

Thank you for your thoughtful letter and invitation to your country. I had planned to come this week but because I need to be in Brussels for an important European Council meeting I sadly cannot come. However, in my place I have asked my colleague MEP Paul Nuttall, the deputy leader of the UK Independence Party, to go in my stead. He shall be in Bulgaria on a fact-finding mission from Wednesday to Friday this week.

I am pleased my comments have helped create a debate in Bulgaria, a proud country with many well-educated people and much to celebrate.

You are right to love your country Bulgaria, as I love mine, the United Kingdom.

I love my country, but it does not mean I hate yours. I know many fantastic Bulgarians and I have no desire to dislike or disparage the wonderful people of Bulgaria.

Indeed, I have been delighted to welcome Bulgarian MEP Slavi Binev into our political group in the European Parliament where I am a Member.

It is great for you that you have been able to come to the UK and avail yourself of a free university education and free healthcare funded by the British taxpayer. Am I right to presume that your family are wealthy by Bulgarian standards so they can afford to pay your living expenses abroad for a long number of years?

I am sure you will agree that many Bulgarians have chosen or been forced by hard circumstances to leave the country they love and never return to live there, so you are quite exceptional in that you can choose to return to your homeland and be once again with your family and friends.

After the entry of a number of European countries to the EU in 2004, over one million have come to live (and many to work) in Britain. As you can imagine and no doubt witnessed the large influx of people over a short period of time has caused severe strain on our tax funded healthcare system, on our social welfare system, and caused a huge demand for more housing.

Many British people are justly uneasy about the character and culture of their cities, towns and villages being radically changed without them being asked or without giving their consent.

Please be assured that the UK Independence Party is completely opposed to all forms of racism and sectarianism.  But this matter of mass immigration has nothing to do with race or religion, it simple economics.  The UK cannot afford to accommodate every person who wishes to come. Polish is now the second most commonly spoken language in the UK.

I am sure Bulgarians love their country. How would your people feel if at the accession of, let's say, Turkey to the EU in the near future, one million Turkish migrants came to live in Bulgaria? Would the people of Bulgaria really be happy about that? Would you really be happy, that without your consent, one million migrants took advantage of your welfare and healthcare system at the expense of the Bulgarian taxpayer? I think not.

If I simplify things and mistakenly say the monthly pension in Bulgaria is 100 euros or 138 euros, it matters very little in the large scheme of things.  When compared to many western parts of Europe, Bulgaria is a much poorer country. This is not an insult, as you suggest, but a fact. (We shall look at the reasons why Bulgaria is poor later.)

When there are open borders and large divergences in wealth and opportunities between two countries there is usually largescale emigration. That is a simple fact and has certainly been the British experience post 2004. The naive or misleading politicians who said it would not happen before 2004 have been proved completely wrong.

In your letter you pass very quickly over very important issues. You wrote: "I understand our problems with our government, our law system, our education and healthcare systems."

I salute the Bulgarian people for throwing off the shackles of the oppressive Communist system and taking a new constitution in 1991. I say this as a good friend of Bulgarian people who wish their country to be prosperous and free.

I have been informed by Mr Binev that many "former Communists" still occupy top positions in your political system.

It is not I , but the European Commission which has frequently criticised Bulgarian politicians for their corruption.

Franz-Herman Bruener, director-general of the EU's anti-fraud agency, Olaf, warned in a report that "influential forces within the Bulgarian government and or state agencies do not have an interest in seeing the punishment of anyone in the criminal gangs." (New York Times 15/10/ 2008)

The European Commission progress report on Bulgaria (18/7/2012) underlined the lack of convincing results on Sofia's efforts to stop high-level corruption and organised crime.

The European Commission said both Bulgaria and Romania had not produced convincing results in the areas of judicial reform, the fight against corruption and organised crime. It outlined that contract killings were still a major problem in your country.

The EU's policing agency Europol estimated the annual turnover of the twelve largest organised crime activities in Bulgaria is the equivalent of €1.8 billion.

Another European Commission progress report in July 2010 said that public procurements in Bulgaria and Romania are dominated by "political favoritism," continuously changing rules are enabling corruption and conflicts of interest that are rarely followed up by law enforcement authorities, while police and judges themselves are often prone to bribes.

Because I want Bulgaria to be prosperous and free, I want to speak to you straight, as a good friend.

The reason that many Bulgarian people are poor is because they are made so by a corrupt political class who profit at the peoples' expense.

MEP Slavi Binev has told me that what Bulgaria needs to prosper is free speech, a free press, the freedom to set up and conduct a business without manipulation, an independent judiciary, and for politicians to stop buying peoples votes with false promises. I agree with him entirely.

What mass emigration will mean for Bulgaria is a huge brain drain, when your bright and best educated young people will leave for Western Europe and your state will be the poorer for it.

Look at what has happened in other states such as Latvia where many towns have been drained of their lively and talented youth.

Mass emigration is bad for you, and it is bad for us in the UK.

It is quite normal and rational that many Bulgarian people wish for a better life, but mass emigration out of Bulgaria to the UK is not the answer. Putting an end to political corruption in your beloved country is.

Yours in solidarity and freedom,

Nigel Farage MEP,

Leader of the UK Independence Party,

Co-President of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy Group in the European Parliament.

Brussels. (Wednesday 6th February 2013)"

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» To the forumComments (11)
Individual_26 - 22 Mar 2013 // 12:31:16

Hi madoods, it is very interesting what you state....I don't understand why the countries that have the most representatives within the EU complain the most of it's policies! Germany has the most EPs at 99 followed by Italy, France and UK that each have 72 EPs.....What exactly do they complain about as these same countries are the majority when deciding policies etc within the EU?

Individual_26 - 22 Mar 2013 // 12:27:43

True! I regret it too....unfortunately what news we get here in UK is different than in BG...will try to keep up better! :)

Thenonymous - 21 Mar 2013 // 14:44:22

It's a shame you didn't write it 6 weeks ago when it was relevant, the world has moved on since then.

sa-sha - 8 Feb 2013 // 12:30:36

..."A plague on both your houses" ;-) !!!---I mean "No change Sa-Sha"
No change, Peter!!! I hear You, I hear madoods, I hear "UK's public fears" and these fears are valid and understandable (there is Russian
saying: "Обжёгшись на молоке, дуют и на воду" [~"Once bitten, twice shy"], and Brits were bitten seriously by previous waves of mosquitos- immigrants).....and I hear those Britons in "BBC Question time" studio, I hear their reaction on Mr.Farage:"Referendum". But we
live not in a VACUUM, Peter. People from Bulgaria and from many other countries hear also and they have something very reasonable to
say.................So, the above Britons warmly welcomed the Farage "Referendum". Let it be and let the future will judge. The present situation is too notorious and insulting. For all.

madoods - 8 Feb 2013 // 09:36:02

It is the responsibility of an elected government to support its citizens. However, the EU has removed the power of its members to restrict immigration even from outside the EU. Bulgaria is likely to witness an increase of incidents like the Burgas bombing as a result and this is what ordinary citizens in the UK have had to deal with too. There has been a huge increase in unemployment and crime in the UK since we have not been able to police our own borders and again this is something that other countries including Germany have noticed. This is what is worrying ordinary citizens in addition to a huge strain on education, housing and health systems- and no money left to improve these, which is why a further influx is causing such panic. Big business is doing fine on the backs of cheap labour from abroad, but the Britons being fired to enable this are not benefitting, and the big businesses (many of them not being British) are putting very little back into the British economy, but taking plenty out

peterperfect - 8 Feb 2013 // 09:00:19

No change Sa-Sha. I support Bulgaria, after all I live here and enjoy my life. Farage however is voicing the UK's public fears and they are valid, they may be unrealistic in that the influx may be small, but, if the same as with Poland it will change the UK. That is the peoples fear.

Sveto - 8 Feb 2013 // 01:45:02

Balancing around with polished phrases may be a British pride of history, but unfortunately won’t cut it well at present. What this dude says is the same as what your prime minister tries to push though the EU. What a luck Britain of today is just one of the many players on the scene, so it should not be taken too seriously, but rather should be let alone to break its own noisy head. Coming back to subject, Cameron same as this racist prick think that they can suck all the subsidies from the EU and than on top of it model the common rules the way they please, right…urrr NO! If you guys don’t like how EU runs and keeps the balance for all members, than just vote out on the referendum and off you go! You guys need Eu much more than EU needs you, but for all the truth there is only one way to learn it right and that’s the hard way.
If the corruption, the crime and the politics are so bad in BG, than why have you moved with your wife to live in my country? Where do you find the logic in risking not only yours, but also the life of your spouse? Or are you doing charity by “not costing any money to the Bg taxpayers”? Wait until you have an accident, an illness or you get old enough and we shall see if you still lack interest in the Bulgarian health system, which by the way will be as per EU law your undisputable right. And I don’t see a single Bulgarian running in panic scared you might inflict burden on our social security system.
As for the corruption, I can tell you this - Bulgaria of today is by no means more corrupt than say any other country in the EU. I know all the arguments, but you see I also know my people. Bulgarians are constant complainers and we victimize ourselves to the point where the outside world starts believing it. I know it isn’t something to be proud of, but than again it has its positives. Bulgarians are so pessimistic that they live an overall prudent life and are very careful with their money. So when one hears complaints of rampant, uncontrolled corruption – it is coming from people, who, for many years, have been forbidden to leave the country, kept hostages of a political system. This indeed is a really bad thing, because if you don’t check out the world and fail to understand it through good and bad, you start creating a completely unrealistic image of it.

a proud Bulgarian - 7 Feb 2013 // 15:55:31

Dear Mr. Farage,

1. Do you have any idea that one of the main pillars of the EU is the free movement of people, stocks and capitals? I am afraid you missed this subject at school. Or even worst, you are just interested in the second and third part of this rule? I say it because you do not complain when UK companies exploit the cheap Bulgarian work hands and then sell the products at EU prices! I say it also, because you do not complain neither from the flood of jews, indians and arabs to your country (I have nothing against none of them!), there is somehow lack of logics...
2. Why you complain about all the East Europeans if UK government is the one to suggest school programs to "suck fresh and intelligent minds"? Let me remind you that more than 50% of the Managers in London City are foreigners (part of them Bulgarians and Polish, YES!)
3. I agree with you about the corruption. If you tell me how to fight against it being a medium statistics citizen, I will be grateful. Because for now, we only receive EU reports but never strong restractions that "our" politions have to fulfull. In change, again WE the normal people have to pay for that.
4. Please, read more and take some exaple from successful countries west of UK which have millions of emigrates but they know how to get profit of this. I also remind you that any worker in a normal country pays taxes which contribute to the health ans soc. security systems and nobody has the right to doubt their access to these services.
5. Here is the moment to tell you that I am totally against the criminals who come from other countries and make you troubles. But these people you do not have to treat by nation. Generalizing is a week point of your position.
6. Mr. Farage, I am really disappointed by your discriminative attitude, and as a PROUD Bulgarian, speaking 5 languages and having Master?s you convinced me to change my flight ticket to UK for my next vacation. In change, I will stay to spend my money in my country. Please, take my advice for free: DO NOT COME TO BULGARIA AS IT?S TOO SUNNY AND TOO FUNNY (neither so your teenage drinkers who spoil our Black Sea resorts in summer!


sa-sha - 7 Feb 2013 // 15:01:39

....A good answer, really, though-imho- a bit impolite. Suggest, Peter, after Your:
I invite You (just You, since the above is Yours) and You reply: "I'm busy this week, sorry, but I have asked my colleague to go in my stead".....Well, You may then come in a couple weeks, what's the problem, right?
And then:"mafia basically runs the economy", "open doors to 22mln ppl from Bulgaria and Romania"...strong said (and not repeated in his answer to Ralitsa ;-). Btw, could Mr.Farage tell the same not about the mythically expected "22millions", but about the real 4 millions of muslim immigrants ALREADY living in UK? No, Peter, he couldn't as it would be "politically uncorrect" (those muslims, they won't be tolerant, they may start terrorize Brits;-)... Add to it 40 millions Poles who may also "move to England".....
As for Your "it is a fact"-Farage was right: "Referendum". It will be honest at least. And hopefully it will stop further histerya and insults in UK media and society.

peterperfect - 7 Feb 2013 // 10:12:53

A good answer, maybe a bit simple (for a reason of course) but clear and concise with many true and salient points. I am not a lover of Farage as I pointed out a couple of weeks ago when I emailed him on his public comments on Bulgaria, but he is right. It is the EU that has lead most of the criticism of Bulgaria's law and order system, it is a fact that the UK has taken more than its fair share of European immigrants, it is a fact that the UK taxpayer has had to take the brunt of the increased tax bill to support these immigrants and have lost jobs to them as well (remember that the UK health and welfare system if mostly free, paid by the UK tax payer, unlike many other EU countries). Although it is reasonable to expect anyone to do whatever it takes to better their lot, I am one of these who has come to Bulgaria for a better life for me and my wife, unlike many of the immigrants to the UK though, I do not cost the Bulgarian tax payer anything in fact I bring in 000's of Lev into Bulgaria that I support Bulgarians with by spending it in the country. Farage, I am sure meant no insult to Bulgarians and, for sure, he is not racist, but sometimes hard facts get labelled with controversial headers.

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