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Bulgarian report
by Euro Reporter
2012-05-14 07:49:49
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EU will be angry about vanished mobsters

The vanishing of sentenced Bulgarian businessmen known as Galevi Brothers will have a negative effect on the EU's July monitoring report on Bulgaria, according to Bulgarian Minister of Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov. "Of course, there is no way that this event can be positively taken. The European Commission has repeatedly insisted that it wants to see criminals punished," explained Tsvetanov.

Controversial Dupnitsa businessmen Plamen Galev and Angel Hristov were convicted to 3 and 4 years in jail for organized crime activities. But May 3 it turned out that they are nowhere to be found, after they failed to present themselves to serve their sentences.

Saturday Tsvetanov did not fail to use his usual rhetoric device by blaming Bulgaria's judiciary for the disappearance of the so-called brothers. "It is the court that could have prevented this to happen by imposing detention on the defendants, rather than a bail," said the Bulgarian Minister of Interior.


It's the economy, stupid!

Bulgarians' hype over Prime Minister Boyko Borisov will be last-lasting, but the country's economic woes will one day debunk the myth of his charisma, a psychologist and former right-wing Member of Parliament has forecast. "One thing is crystal clear and we should admit it – nobody can challenge Borisov in his talent to give people rich emotions, just like a tabloid TV broadcast does," Dr. Nikolay Mihaylov, psychologist and former MP from the die-hard right-wing Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, said. "Words are powerless against him; even his own verbal monstrosities can do him no harm.

He is being haunted down however by the phrase, which Bill Clinton's manager James Carville famously coined – "It's the economy, stupid". It is not the people or the words, but the country's economic plight, which is hot on the heels of the prime minister, endearingly called "our Boyko"," Mihaylov said. The psychologist described Bulgaria's current prime minister as "a rustic and sly actor, an unrivalled mix between late communist dictator Todor Zhivkov, known for his poor education and down-to-earth language, and sex symbol and movie star Marlon Brando."

"What misleads Bulgarians into falling for this man is the need to satisfy their hunger for love and entertainment." Asked about Bulgarians' anaemic protests against rising unemployment, low pensions and salaries, Mihaylov had the following to say: "Anger will flare up when hunger comes. But then Boyko will tear off his shirt in repentance and will be quick to explain his Socialist predecessor Stanishev is to blame. Even then people won't hate him, just because he is "our Boyko". According to Mihaylov the only alternative to the currently ruling GERB party is a coalition between GERB and another party from the right-wing or the centre. In 2001 Borisov served as bodyguard to Bulgaria's former king, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who returned from nearly half a century of exile to run for parliament and become prime minister. Borisov so impressed the king that he gave him a government job only to see him a few years later replacing him as everybody's favourite. Bulgarians pinned all their hopes for improving their living standards on the cabinet of Boyko Borisov, which swept to power in the summer of 2009. Less than a year before the end of the government's term however Bulgaria's economy hovers on the brink of its second recession in the wake of the slump in the euro zone, sharp drop in foreign investments and lack of structural reforms.


Sale of freight railroads

Bulgaria's Transport Minister, Ivaylo Moskovski, declared that he would not allow anything to hurdle the privatization of the freight transport section of the country's State Railways Company, BDZ Holding. Speaking Sunday in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, Moskovski said the privatization would be a "lifesaving" measure for BDZ. His words came in the aftermath of reports of a looming new wave of layoffs and a new mass strike of railroad workers.

The Minister informed that a work meeting had been held with the labour unions over the past week to discuss possible layoffs. He explained that the new dismissals will involve only about 250-300 people. According to him, any strike attempt would be groundless and would only become an obstacle for the privatization process.

"It the privatization fails, the damage would be huge. Creditors are not nervous yet because they expect this privatization to materialize," Moskovski said, adding that there were no concrete companies to express interest in acquiring freight services, but in his conversations with diplomats in Sofia, Russia, Austria, Turkey and Germany have confirmed such interest. Regarding train fares, Moskovski said that a new increase in not currently on the table.

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