Embattled Bulgarian PM Gives High Marks to 100 Days in Office

Domestic | September 14, 2013, Saturday // 12:54|  views

Plamen Oresharski, Bulgarian Prime Minister in the Socialist-endorsed Cabinet, photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski believes one of the top achievements of his government's 100 days in office is people no longer fearing their rulers and political repressions.

In a Saturday interview for Darik radio, Oresharski further told the host he now found "the Peevski issue amusing."

Bulgarians have been staging for three months relentless anti-government rallies with demands Oresharski's Socialist-endorsed Cabinet resigns immediately over alleged links with mafia and oligarchs and controversial appointments.

The rallies, at times reaching 20 000 and even 30-40 000 in Sofia, have subsided in numbers in the last weeks.

They were triggered by the appointment of notorious media mogul and lawmaker Delyan Peevski as Head of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) back on June 14.

The protesters were not appeased by the subsequent cancellation of the decision and went on to demand the resignation of the cabinet over ties with oligarchs and a number of controversial appointments.

After dismissing the "Peevski issue," the PM listed as priorities of his government in the fall improving business climate and a more active social policy, adding the situation with the State budget by the end of the year will be decisive for the so-called Christmas bonuses for State servants and retirees.

He declined commenting on upping the minimum monthly wage. Oresharski also stated the issue of reviving the Russian-sponsored project to build a second Nuclear Power Plant, NPP, in the Danube town of Belene will not be on the government's agenda in the fall.

According to him, the tax on earned interest from bank deposits will stay as a source of budget revenue.

Regarding fears of a refuge wave over the Syrian conflict, the PM explained until now Bulgaria had not been affected by a refugee influx and the government now realized it lacks experience and is unprepared. He stated the country's capacity has been long exceeded.

About 3 000 Syrian refugees are in Bulgaria now, from a total of 4 000, with capacity to accommodate up to 3 000, while the worst forecast would be for this number to reach 10 000, according to him.

"We cannot remain inactive and unsympathetic to people suffering, to mothers and small children at our southern border. I hope the Arab community in Bulgaria will also help. Tensions in refugee shelters arise over the bad living conditions. We must work on improving these conditions, reduce the stay there, and integrate these asylum seekers, including sending their children to Bulgarian schools. The exact location to build two new shelters is not yet decided pending financing and the reaction of local people. I hope and pray Bulgarians will never be in a situation to seek help from other countries. I also hope the civil war in Syria will end soon and these refugees will return home," Oresharski explained.

He reiterated the Friday statement of Interior Minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev, who was firm his Ministry has not received any information or data about a real threat from a planned terrorist attack against the country.

Oresharski added the authorities were conducting thorough checks and had the capacity to distinguish between a refugee and a terrorist.

According to him the position of his government on the conflict in Syria is fully aligned with the one of European partners.

The PM gave a similar interview Friday evening for the public TV's, BNT, weekly political talk show "Panorama." When he arrived he was met by a large group of antigovernment protesters who had surrounded the TV headquarters, booing and shouting "resignation" and was forced to use a side entrance in the company of a heavy police escort.

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Tags: terrorism, terrorist attack, Tsvetlin Yovchev, Interior Minister, refugee wave, Syrian, rallies, protest, DANS, Delyan Peevski, social policy, business climate, 100 days in office, Socialist-led government, Plamen Oresharski, Prime Minister, Belene, NPP, minimum monthly wage, interest, tax, Christmas bonuses, refugee wave, refugees, shelters, Syria


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