Vaccines are now the hot topic of the day. The process of vaccination is unfolding in a strange way – counting of vaccines seems to be of major concern, instead of motivating people to get vaccinated.
Bulgaria‘s economy in the next programming period will depend on the implementation of the EU recovery plan.
Republicans for Bulgaria support the green deal and digitalisation, believing that these are the most ambitious EU goals for the next term, through which a long-term reform will be achieved.
We could achieve much more in the framework of the two formats where Bulgaria enjoys full membership - EU and NATO. However, ensuring effective dialogue and consensus requires smart leadership. A leadership, capable of weigning when to give the collective approach priority over the individualistic one, for in recent years this has been the question. NATO-EU cooperation is of great importance to Republicans for Bulgaria, hence we must achieve cooperation without rivalry. The political arena is anyway packed with competing figures which calls for an adequate response. We must be aware that while NATO and the EU could focus together an enormous “power for good", there is an urgent need for both formats to evolve towards political solidarity. Our presence there and the effect we aim for must be pursued and upheld every single day.
The Presidency of the Council of the European Union provided us with an opportunity to consolidate Bulgaria’s foreign policy image on bilateral as well as multilateral level. However, after the expiry of our Presidency the European topic has vanished from both Parliament and the public space, left without further development.
In recent years, Bulgaria's foreign policy has been run by a single person. Parliamentary diplomacy is inefficient due to the low level of confidence of Bulgarian parliament. In an attempt to balance the scales between Brussels, Moscow and Ankara, Bulgaria’s Prime Minister is trying to promote the country as a conduit of all policies coveted by the three capitals. This reduces efficiency even further as trust is totally lost.
In the era of social media, public opinion in Bulgaria has a growing influence on political decision-making. Foreign policy is no exception, on the contrary, it is increasingly becoming a tool for mobilizing voters, aimed at drawing division lines in their ranks. I strongly disapprove these tendencies as they contradict my understanding of modern foreign policy making. Now all European countries, except Bulgaria, can boast of hosting a European institution. In this regard we are clearly lagging behind.
To wind up this subject, I would say that there is a need for coordination between institutions; for clear and principled positions that have to be consistently pursued and upheld; a proactive approach in the foreign policy conduct; and all these aspects should be coupled with safeguarding the national interest. We, at Republicans for Bulgaria, will work towards this end.
All vicious practices in healthcare should be ended as a matter of urgency. Pouring funds into an unreformed system must stop. Reform, on the other hand, has proved unfeasible because of vested interests. It takes courage to undertake changes in the healthcare sector as well as political backing and trust.
We are firmly against nationalization of the healthcare system.
The discourse in healthcare has been largely focused on the Covid crisis and its impact on economy. Vaccines are now the hot topic of the day. The process of vaccination is unfolding in a strange way – counting of vaccines seems to be of major concern, instead of motivating people to get vaccinated. However, what worries me most against this background is the statement that we should not be deluded about having the right to choose a vaccine. Control, competition and choice – this is our understanding of healthcare.
Economic recovery is tightly linked to vaccination. Quite a few mistakes have been made by Europe and Bulgaria alike in the allocation of vaccine orders. In addition to politics, discrimination will also emerge amid the Covid crisis.
Bulgaria‘s economy in the next programming period will depend on the implementation of the EU recovery plan. Hopefully we will be able to invest these billions of funds in quality and modern projects.
On February 11th this year, the Council adopted a regulation establishing a Mechanism for Recovery and Sustainability, which is at the heart of the EU‘s recovery plan. It will provide EUR 672.5 billion, of which 312.5 billion in grants and 360 billion in loans, to support public investment and reform in the 27 Member States.
The aim is to mitigate the economic and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and to enhance the sustainability, resilience and preparedness of European economies for the challenges and opportunities of the twin ecological and digital transition.
Member States will receive support under the Recovery and Sustainability Mechanism based on their national plans, which are currently in the process of preparation.
The financial package that Bulgaria can benefit from is in the indicative amount of around EUR 6.217 billion in grants and 4.549 billion in loans.
Some of the basic requirements relate to the EU green and digital goals. At least 37% of the funds in each plan must support the green transition and at least 20% - the digital transformation. The Bulgarian draft national plan also includes “sustainable urban mobility“, a road safety project, digitalization of the construction sector, a national register of cancer patients. Sadly, at the moment Bulgaria is defined by official representatives of the European institutions as the poorest region of the EU. Therefore, overcoming regional differences and economic cohesion of the regions in Bulgaria should be the main goal. One of the big challenges for Bulgaria remains the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Member States should submit their national recovery and sustainability plans to the Commission by 30th of April this year. In principle, the Commission will have to evaluate the plans within two months. The Council will then have four weeks to adopt its decision on the final approval of each plan individually.
I am saying all this to emphasize the importance of who will govern Bulgaria over the next term and who and in what way will benefit from these billions in funds that we’ll have the opportunity to absorb in our country. Hence, when casting their vote, let people consider this as well. Because for those currently in office this is a great incentive and motivational goal to participate in the next government.
In our programme, we at Republicans for Bulgaria support the green deal and digitalisation, believing that these are the most ambitious EU goals for the next term, through which a long-term reform will be achieved.
The Programme of Republicans for Bulgaria: What makes us stand out from the rest?
Our programme is expertly sustained and innovative. Here are some examples in this regard:
Establishment of a Ministry of Bulgarians Abroad;
Introduction of Individual Constitutional Complaint;
Data protection through blockchain technology;
Construction of two new rescue centers for Northern and Southern Bulgaria;
Establishment of Business Hubs in each of the six planning regions of the country;
Construction of innovative university campuses in backward areas;
Delegated budgets for all mayoralties in the country;
Ownership of common mineral resources must be returned to landowners;
Establishment of a State Guarantee Fund in the tourist sector;
Adoption of a Law on Sponsorship and Patronage in Sports;
Establishment of Bulgarian Volunteer Service.
Prognosticating on the Next Parliament
My expectations are for a difficult process of majority shaping and plethora compromises on the part of participants. I however believe that despite all the risks that might ensue for the country such a majority will be formed at any cost and will be sustained for as long as possible. That would largely depend on the corona crisis development and the economic recovery. But also on Bulgaria’s posture internationally – ergo, on all the topics we have just discussed.
On behalf of Republicans for Bulgaria, I would like to make it very clear that we will not step back an inch from our principles and ideas. /BGNES