ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT ROSEN PLEVNELIEV TO THE 42ND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Esteemed Mr. Speaker of the National Assembly,
Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen Assembly Deputies,
Thank you for providing me the opportunity to speak before you and from this high rostrum to address the whole nation.
A second, extremely difficult year has elapsed. The serious confrontation and personal attacks eroded the public trust in politicians, in all of us, unfortunately in the institutions as well. The constant political fights frequently resembled a road without an exit. This enhanced the feeling of an aggravating political and institutional crisis in the country. In less than a year and a half a second regularly elected government has tendered its resignation. In the second half of 2014 Bulgaria will be ruled by three consecutive governments. The situation in the second half of 2013 was the same. Bulgaria has been ruled by three consecutive governments within half a year for a second year in a row. This is a sign of an increasingly more entrenched instability which impedes the economy and society. Currently we should pool efforts so that the country can pass through the difficulties and a political, financial, economic and above all institutional stability can be achieved. We have already agreed on this commitment, I would like to thank you and hope that we will fulfill it – we are to pool efforts to reach a higher level of stability in the state.
Political crises are an integral part of the development of the democratic state. They have always arisen and will always arise. The Bulgarian constitution precisely stipulates not only the steps that each of us has to take, but also the responsibilities each one of us has to assume so that we can manage to overcome the difficulties. After all we passed through, hardly is there anybody who questions the fact that the legal norms are an indispensable part of this process, although not the only part. What is even more important today is that we should display a nationally responsible behavior, moreover at such a difficult for the nation moment.
Political confrontation, the different viewpoints and the clash of ideas are an integral part of the multi-party system, they are the mechanism that ensures the functioning of parliamentary democracy. However, beyond all this is what is most important for every responsible politician, namely the real problems of the people and their solution. Which are these problems? Incomes, unemployment, pensions, demography, healthcare. They did not occur yesterday, nor will they be solved tomorrow. However, it is namely now, ahead of the election campaign when all of you will try to win the public trust and hopefully you will gain it to a great extent, that the political parties should show that they can prioritize the problems, address the urgent problems outside the election fights and agree on and produce results related to these problems, related to some of the urgent for the people topics.
We triggered this process at the Consultative Council for National Security held on 17 June 2014 when we agreed and reached a full consensus on the decision we made. A number of consultations in the President’s Office and in Parliament followed. We fixed a date for conducting the general election which all of us agreed on and we also discussed important and urgent measures, which I hope the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers will take so as to ensure the normal functioning of the state in the following months until a legitimately elected government takes office. Hopefully together with the political parties we will follow the constitutional procedure so that the already fixed date for the general election will be observed, namely 5 October and on 6 August, by virtue of a presidential decree, the 42nd National Assembly will be adjourned and a caretaker government will be appointed.
From today until 6 August the institutions should continue conscientiously and responsibly fulfilling their commitments. The forthcoming dissolution of the National Assembly, the formation of a caretaker government, and the conduction of an early general election should not be used as an excuse for inactivity. We still have work to do and I have more than once called on the institutions and each one of the important public figures to show a responsible attitude. These are not issues important only for the yet another caretaker cabinet in Bulgaria. These are problems important for the state and the nation. The update of the state budget and that of the National Health Insurance Fund, as proposed by the government, are among the most important tasks which the National Assembly should solve in the next days. The Council of Ministers approved an update of the state budget and that of the National Health Insurance Fund in the past week. I think the update is urgent so that we can avoid burdening the institutions, the hospitals, the municipalities and every single citizen with additional negative results of the political instability in the country. The experts in the political parties should analyze the revision of the budget proposed by the government. We should make an objective, not a political assessment of the revenues, the expenditures, the risks. We should revise the budget to the benefit of the patients, the hospitals, the municipalities, in order to unfreeze the suspended payments under two European programs, which can happen only if financial corrections are made which are onerous for the Bulgarian municipalities and are not planned in the budget. We should pay two million now so that we can speed up the utilization of the remaining six billion by the end of 2015. We should revise the budget to serve the interests of the worthy Bulgarian construction workers, who have not received payments worth one billion leva for months and who are forced to stop instead of speeding up work. We should revise the budget to the benefit of the people in a deplorable state in Dobrich, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, who are expecting a compensation and a helping hand lent by the state. We should revise the budget to ensure additional security in case the financial sector suffers insecurity in the future while the National Assembly is not functioning.
Therefore I hope that the parliament makes a decision whereby the caretaker government will be able, if necessary, to conduct negotiations and sign agreements with other countries, international organizations and financial institutions and take out foreign loans and ensure financial stability and social protection. Such a decision would be a sign of political maturity, will ensure security of the Bulgarian financial system and will become an important step towards achieving the so much desired political and social stability. I call on the Assembly deputies in the 42nd National Assembly to contribute an additional dose of stability to our banking system. An essential part of this stability is the state of the Bulgarian National Bank. BNB is a regulator that should show stability and win the public trust to a great extent. However, what is the situation today – we have a deputy-governor who is in charge of the bank supervision. However, apart from being a defendant, he is also on leave precisely at the time the bank is faced with a problem. On the other hand, the governor of BNB declared his readiness to tender his resignation. I hope the National Assembly will overcome this instability and state its position on the problem related to the staff in BNB as soon as possible. If this does not happen, I call on all political parties at least not to exploit the situation in BNB for political ends during the election campaign so as to avoid generating additional institutional insecurity. On the contrary, we should support the regulator that is most important for the economy at this difficult moment.
Esteemed Assembly deputies,
I would like to say a few words about the special case Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) is involved in. The extremely sensitive case of KTB has been in the focus of public attention. 25 years have elapsed since the democratic transition. 25 years and still the whole truth about the affiliation of the Bulgarian political and public elite to the communist-era secret services is not uncovered. This was a mistake. Today we should avoid making the same mistake. Our children will not forgive us if we fail to open the “KTB dossiers.” If we allow the truth about KTB to be concealed, traded, if we turn the “KTB dossiers” into a new golden mine for blackmailing politicians, as the communist-era state security dossiers have been so far, this will be a strategic mistake the state will make. If the whole truth about the illegal connections between politicians, judges, prosecutors, and public figures and KTB is uncovered, then the replaced transition will end and the real transition will start. In the citizens’ eyes, Bulgarian statehood will make a brave leap into the future. However, if the truth about KTB is concealed, Bulgaria’s replaced transition will continue a lot more years. The KTB case is the vital test the Bulgarian state is facing. Therefore BNB, the Financial Supervision Commission, the National Revenues Agency, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Commission for Prevention of the Conflict of Interest, the Commission for the Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Assets must coordinate their actions and complete their work. This means that Bulgarian and foreign auditors should make a comprehensive audit of the assets, an assessment of the loans and the collateral on them, each one of them. They should assess whether there is a gap in the bank and if so, how big it is. Also, if there is a gap, where has the money gone. Through the mechanisms of international legal assistance checks can be conducted of every single offshore company, of every single asset, who and where the end receiver is and he should be held responsible. I would like to thank all institutions for showing a responsible attitude to this important for the nation case.
Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen Assembly deputies,
I am sure that each one of us is aware of the responsibility they have assumed in the current situation and I believe you will make the correct decisions because they concern not only the work of the caretaker government, but also the functioning of the state and have an important impact on the institutions, the economy and the citizens. On their behalf I call on you to reach a consensus and find and make your contribution to the process of overcoming the current crisis so as to ensure a higher level of stability in the state.
Thank you for your attention and I wish you success!