Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bulgarian government - unit measure for arrogance

If there is a world-wide contest for worst government, Stanishev's cabinet currently ruling Bulgaria would be a strong candidate. It is not only incompetent and corrupt, but also arrogant beyond description.
Bulgaria's first year in EU is marked by double-digit inflation and frozen incomes of ordinary people. As a commenter wrote here, if this situation had happened in Japan, the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet would do a ritual suicide on video. But our ministers are proud, as if they are doing a great job.
Teachers have been for a month on national strike demanding a substantial rise of their EUR 150 monthly salaries and the government says that there is no money for pay rise and teachers don't deserve it anyway because they don't want education reform (here, "reform" should be translated as "lay-off"). A week ago, BTV channel aired a scandalous video shot during the negotiations between government and teachers' union. Unaware that they were in the scope of microphones and cameras, finance minister Oresharski and education minister Valchev cynically talked to each other how to protract the negotiations, called by Oresharski "village party" (sedyanka). I cannot translate the entire conversation, but if you speak Bulgarian and haven't read it already, you can find it e.g. at Netinfo.
However, the special prize for arrogance perhaps should go to social minister Maslarova. BBC4 channel recently aired a documentary titled Bulgaria's Abandoned Children, showing how disabled children in a care home in the village of Mogilino are neglected and starved (I've blogged about it here). Minister Maslarova was interviewed by Bulgarian National Radio channel. Parts of what she said can be found e.g. here and I am translating them below.
"I know all institutions for children and adults in the country. I visit them regularly and know the situation in every single one of them. This is the job of the social minister," Maslarova said. "The conditions in our institutions in many cases don't match the conditions in e.g. the Netherlands. About the care home in Mogilino - unfortunately, there is a decision of the Municipality Council not to close this institution. So the municipality does not let the children leave the care home... What I know from my colleagues (the employees - M.M.) at the care home is that the BBC people have visited and filmed the institution over more than nine months and told the employees that the worse things are filmed and shown, the more foreign aid the home would receive..."
In other words, Maslarova said that the BBC documentary was so shocking because it was manipulated and deliberately showed only the most pathetic moments of the care home reality. As if in other moments the emaciated, starved children had normal weight!
However, I want also to add that our government's arrogance is encouraged by the friendly EU environment. Currently EU is pressing Bulgaria to - guess what! To close or at least improve institutions for disabled children? No, to begin writing the European currency in Cyrillic as "еуро" (Euro) and not "евро" (evro) as Bulgarian language requires. I wish to have the problems of Eurobureaucrats! I'll repeat what I wrote before: Europe, where are you when people need you?

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