Bulgarian Diplomatic Corps Changes No Lustration - Foreign Minister

Diplomacy | May 11, 2011, Wednesday // 17:26|  views

Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov claims the proposed amendments to the Bulgarian Diplomatic Service Act do not pursue lustration. Photo by BGNES.

The newly proposed changes to the Bulgarian Diplomatic Service Act do not pursue lustration, i.e. a purge of diplomats with communist secret service past, according to Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov.

The legal amendments that are supposed to rectify the huge scandal that shook the Bulgarian government in the fall of 2010 with regards to the diplomats' lustration (i.e. limiting the participation of former communists, and especially informants of the communist secret police in the civil service). have been submitted by the Foreign Ministry with the government for coordination.

Mladenov believes that the draft legislation does not interrupt the "logical development of a career of a person within the system" of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In his words, the proposed changes say that a person cannot hold certain positions if they have been part of the former State Security Service, aka DS, the secret police and intelligence service of the Bulgarian communist regime, but that does not ban them from all jobs in the diplomatic corps.

At the end of 2010, the so-called Files Commission, the special panel examining the Communist era documentation, revealed that almost half of Bulgaria's diplomats abroad had been collaborators of the former State Security Service.

Upon learning this, both Mladenov and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov insisted that the discredited diplomats should be brought back to Bulgaria.

However, according to the Constitution, Bulgaria's Ambassadors can only be recalled by the President. President Georgi Parvanov refused to sign the decrees for the diplomats' dismissal.

At the beginning of this month, 13 out of 35 Ambassadors were returned to Bulgaria for an indefinite consultation period, with the remaining ones to be recalled in June. Their positions were to be occupied by temporary replacements.

According to Mladenov, the legal amendments will not solve the problem with Parvanov's unwillingness to recall Ambassadors with Secret Service affiliations.

"The standstill can be dealt with through the will of the institutions to observe the decisions of the Parliament and the will of the Bulgarian Parliament itself.", he pointed out, reminding that all parties with parliamentary representation, except the Bulgarian Socialist Party from which Parvanov originates, had supported the declaration demanding the recall of the Ambassadors with with proven links to the communist-era Secret Service.

The draft legal amendments, however, envisage that persons occupying a public office in the diplomatic service, who have had proven links to the former State Security at the time of the law's entry into force, should be dismissed by the Minister without prior notice and re-employed at other positions.

According to the Foreign Minister, this will make it possible to find jobs for all people affected by the regulations, including ambassadors, consuls general , chief secretaries, general directors, deputy general directors, directors, deputy directors, heads of departments and sectors.

"If there were no such provisions, then all these people would be left without a job", Mladenov emphasized, reiterating that "all people who were part of the system will be allowed to hold jobs within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, except the positions of ambassadors and consuls general and temporary heads of Bulgaria's diplomatic missions abroad."

Under another legal amendment, the minister will be allowed to hire a diplomat, with whom the labor relations have been severed, without organizing a job competition. The only condition is that they should not have been banned from exercising the job or have been dismissed on disciplinary grounds.

Opposition politicians immediately suspected an attempt to reinstate prot?g? officials hired during ex Minister Nadezhda Mihaylova's term in office, who subsequently left the jobs.

Mladenov, however, has responded that the people behind these comments had most probably not read the draft bill.

He made it clear that the noncompetitive hirings were directed towards Bulgarians who worked in international institutions like the UN and the EU, facilitating their entry into Bulgaria's diplomatic service.

We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Tags: Nikolay Mladenov, Foreign Minister, lustration, secret service, Files Commission, President Parvanov


» Related Articles: