Bulgarian PM: We Treat Researches as EC Treats UsFinance | November 3, 2011, Thursday // 16:20| views
Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, spoke Tuesday, during the opening ceremony of two renovated at labs at the Sofia emergency Pirogov hospital. Photo by BGNES
The cabinet plans to slate another BGN 5 M for the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) for co-financing of European projects.
The information was announced Thursday by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, two days after BAS researchers and scientists staged a peaceful, candlelight protest rally against the latest budget cuts.
November 1 in Bulgaria is celebrated as the Day of Enlighteners, and researchers have chosen it as the date to stage their protest against what they see as the Bulgarian government's persistent policy to stifle science in the country.
The center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) cabinet, led by Borisov, and vice-PM and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, has already staged massive close to 40% budget cuts against BAS in the state budgets for 2010 and 2011.
Now, with a further BGN 5 M cut, the Academy's budget has been reduced to little over BGN 50 M, what researchers claim is well below the sanitary minimum required for even payment of salaries and bills.
BAS' protests in 2010 led to some changes in favor of scientists and researchers, who were outraged by then cuts and by the amendments to the BAS Act which would have allowed the Education Minister to have a definite say in which BAS institutes should be closed and what new ones should be set. The amendments were later withdrawn when now-outgoing President, Georgi Parvanov, interfered and threatened a veto.
Borisov announced Tuesday that Djankov and Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, are going to meet with the BAS leadership. He stressed that budget 2012 provides BGN 10 M for the Science Fund, and now BGN 5 M will be added to co-finance all EU-funded projects.
"We will work with BAS the same way the European Commission works with us. For each project they prove viable, we will be prepared to offer co-financing," the PM declared.
When asked what is going to happen with salaries of BAS employees for November and December for which funds have been depleted, Borisov replied they would have salaries when they begin working on profitable projects.
"Two years ago they demanded from me a law so that they can become fully independent from the cabinet – now they have it; they account only to the Parliament. All we want from them is to work in such manner that will enable them to use to the maximum State and EU funding. Only then they will earn good money," the PM concluded, offering praise to "professors, who are already doing a splendid job in that direction."
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