President Radev: The Crisis Should not be Managed only by Stoking Panic and Fear
Every government needs a corrective, particularly when it has decided on its own to declare a state of emergency, when the functioning of parliament and the judiciary is practically blocked, Rumen Radev said
“When the army of unemployed multiplies day in and day out, I consider it inappropriate to bother the people with the relations between the presidential institution and the executive branch of power. It is not time for displaying emotions, outbursts and annoyed attitudes.” This is what President Rumen Radev said in an interview for bTV. “The prime minister should be aware that neither the president nor the Bulgarian people are an audience that is expected to engage in applause all the time,” Rumen Radev said, taking a question regarding his relations with the prime minister, the presidential press office reported.
The Head of State emphasized that every government in power needs a corrective, particularly when it has made the decision, moreover on its own, to declare a state of emergency, when the functioning of parliament and the judiciary is practically blocked, and “the critical attitude of the mass psyche and public consciousness has been considerably weakened by widespread fear.” “The prime minister is an experienced and deft politician. However, I cannot accept that he is creating an image of a savior on the basis of the fear that he alone stokes by talking about corpses, morgues, mass graves,” Rumen Radev said. He noted that the crisis should not be managed only by stoking panic and fear. The Cabinet’s priority has always been the infrastructure projects, while we should invest more in human resources and the people. If we had allocated more funds to healthcare and education, we would have been better prepared to tackle the current situation, the Head of State further said.
“There is a danger that the chaos that will be created after the strict measures are lifted will be more harmful than the chaos created when the state of emergency was declared,” the President said and added that when social and economic measures are considered, they should be timely, accessible and charge-free. Currently no financial aid is offered to the neediest people and households, despite the recommendations made by international institutions and world experts to this effect. The President noted that a lot of countries have long implemented mass measures that cover the self-employed, home workers, culture activists, small and medium-sized enterprises, and Bulgaria is lagging behind in this respect. The most endangered households and people should be provided financial aid for instance by being offered food vouchers and minimal compensations. In Rumen Radev’s words, unless urgent measures are taken, as other countries have done, there is a risk that it should take the Bulgarian economy a longer time to recover and thus Bulgaria would lose its competitiveness. “If we plunge into recession and other countries considerably move ahead, mass immigration will take place and for me this is the worst scenario,” Rumen Radev said.
The President recalled that at the beginning of the crisis, he called for an urgent reconsideration of the financial and investment priorities. “There is a budget reserve, which I wonder why the government is taking no consideration of. This is an important issue, given that it will determine the loan we will take out and whether it will reach 10 billion leva and future generations will pay back or we will reconsider the budget reserves in place and keep the loan at a lower level,” Rumen Radev said. In the President’s words, the activity of the employers and employees will prove the effectiveness of the 60/40 measure.
“We should think about the people’s psychic health and immunity,” Rumen Radev said. He called for ensuring balance when implementing restrictions and noted that some of the restrictions are tough, which may result in underestimating them and failing to observe them. Therefore clear rules are necessary for bottoming out of the current situation in a manageable and safe manner. In the Head of State’s words, when recommendations of the World Health Organizations for imposing isolation are cited, also those for mass testing and tracing the contacts of the infected by COVID-19 should be cited. “We missed the moment for testing,” Rumen Radev said.
In Rumen Radev’s opinion, our country would have been much more prepared for the current crisis, had the Disaster Protection Act been implemented and had the National Plan for Influenza Pandemic Preparedness been used. “If it had been observed, we would have entered this crisis far better prepared, with a real management, because above the Crisis Staff is the Deputy Prime Minister, all deputy ministers, not only experts and medical doctors from a broad spectrum, but also economists etc., so that we can have a general view, a clear hierarchy, a complex of measures,” Rumen Radev said. However, the President noted that our nation has shown that the Bulgarians can show sympathy, solidarity and resolve in the name of human life, the President further said.
The Assembly deputies let themselves be ordered via commands more than once, and they voluntarily gave up their salaries under the command issued by Prime Minister Borisov, the President said and added that this is what namely resembles “freaking out in all directions.” In the President’s words, the Assembly deputies have turned the moral, individual and sacred act of donation into a political farce.
The President noted that a new efficient model of crisis management should be considered, and also a model for social and economic recovery, which will be the topic of the Consultative Council for National Security meeting. “We should use the inertia from the unification of the nation so that we can quickly overcome all adverse social and economic effects and move ahead,” the President added.
The problem has long existed that big business became a priority of the Bulgarian Development Bank, created to extend credits to the small and medium-sized businesses, Rumen Radev said, taking a question. In his words, the dismissal of the CEO and board of BDB is “justice on air” and “pulling the wool over the people’s eyes,” which makes no difference at all given that the scandalous loan has already been approved. “What is most important is what the Prosecutor’s Office will say and whether it will say anything at all,” the Head of State added. Radev voiced misgivings that the whole problem will stop at the level of bank board and management as was the case with the Gambling Committee, for which it turned out that “nobody appoints it nor controls it.”
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