Bulgarian Former FinMin Djankov Presents Book on the Euro Crisis
Simeon Djankov, Finance Minister in the first government of center-right party GERB, gathered Bulgaria's political elite at a sophisticated book premiere at the Sofia City Gallery on Tuesday. For nearly two hours, he signed copies of his work, entitled Inside the Euro Crisis: An Eyewitness Account.
The volume was published in English in the middle of summer 2014 and now the Bulgarian translation is also available.
Bulgarian PM Borisov, President Rosen Plevneliev, Chair of the Parliament Tsetska Tsacheva, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, and many more of his former colleagues were seated at the front rows of the event.
In an interview for Novinite.com Djankov shared that he was very impressed by the number of distinguished guests.
Did you expect so many people to come and honor your event, Mr. Djankov?
I was very pleasantly surprised by the large number of people, representing various portions of society. I have worked with some of them formerly in government, in Parliament. Some of my friends who are archaeologists also came, representing Bulgaria's cultural elite.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov mentioned, however, that Cultural Minister Vezhdi Rashidov wanted to strangle you at some point, while you were in office. What was the reason for that ?
It was regarding the Bulgarian Louvre, because I wanted for us to make a joined project that would be able to finance both the art collection and the building itself so to say. Eventually, this has started happening, so I am glad. And we are good friends with him now.
We heard some very high appraisals from the Prime Minister and from the President on your work together at the government. Do you share their feelings?
It was exactly as they both said - an everyday struggle. Every day, every day, every single day, and maybe that's why we are going to need some time to appreciate what has been achieved. We managed to accomplish many things in collaboration with the President, while he was still a minister, and with the PM while we were working together.
What provoked you to write the book then? Was it just based on separate writings you kept from that time or was it based on memories?
Those were my written works from that time. The ones published are focused on the eurozone in particular, but I have some more. So, more books are coming. In the very beginning,when I entered Bulgarian politics, as I was coming from abroad, I always wanted to read something written by people, who have went along this path before me. I wanted to know what difficulties they had had, how they managed to overcome them ... But I saw that there had been no former finance minister, at least not recently, who has written anything. So from the very beginning I made a promise to myself '' I am going to write such a book.'' At the time I did not know that it will be focused on Europe, but it became much more encompassing. My colleagues also need to publish their works.
One of your colleagues in the first GERB cabinet has said that you ''are being careful in this book.'' What did you not write, so that he could be left with that impression?
Yes, naturally, there are many things left unsaid yet, but they will not remain that way. It's just that the format of the book was professional - for economists and finance specialists. Having that in mind, there are a number of things that I have not shared in it. Many arguments in the government, in Parliament, for example regarding the ban on smoking in public spaces, the so called ''lustration'' and many other topics that I as a vice PM have dealt with. This is something that will be written. And it's good to be written, and to be known by other people in the government.
The topic of the Eurozone is very current. Do you think it would be a good idea for Bulgaria to apply early?
I think that if we had already entered the Eurozone, it would have been much easier for us, especially with regards to the banks and the bank regulator.
Why didn't we apply then?
In fact, we did, but we were told both times that we aren't ready yet.
What about now ?
Now we are definitely not ready. We need to wait for several years. At the moment we are set back with at least 4-5 years as compared to the situation in 2012.
How would you evaluate the chances of Bulgaria to change its label of ''the poorest country in the EU'' ?
The big success of the current government is the very quickly achieved political stability. Over the past one year all international media pointed at us, saying : ''Look, Bulgaria is going down the path that Greece took.'' So, this at the moment is a big success. From now on the big question is how the economy can start moving, it's not so much about financial stability. We have reached a certain level of stability, while we were in office, and now we need to go back there.
How can we do that?
In my opinion, we need to follow a good plan. A part of it would be the Hemus motorway, the energy effectiveness program, and many others. We are all together in this plan, it's not just the government.
What topic will you address in your next book?
I actually already have a book on the 25 years of transition in Bulgaria. It is in English, and I hope I will translate it. The next book has a working title, it's ''The Anatomy of a government''. I will describe the way that the finances in the country have developed, how they were regulated in Bulgaria. I will talk about the things that we managed to overcome and the unexpected developments. This will be the topic of my next book.
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