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Europe Adopts New Acts Because of the Mogilino Case

Standarta�? Newspaper, Lyubomira Budakova

- Mrs. Raeva, today MEP Kathy Sinnott will show the BBC film about the Mogilino children before the European Parliament. Do you think that the date has been chosen on purpose and what could be the motives of one Irish MEP to organize such a projection?
- I don’t think that March 4 is chosen on purpose. Anything else would mean that Bulgaria is the target of a disgusting campaign.But the screening of this film, which doesn’t cover the now situation in Mogilino, hasn’t a convincing explanation. The most important thing now is that the echo of the projection is turned into a positive effect and this can be achieved only if Bulgaria withstands a firm and clear stand. We’ll emphasize on tolerance in the European year of intercultural dialogue, we’ll put the stress on the positive changes in the Mogilino case. We’ll call upon the MEPs not to politicize a deep social problem like this, because it is not unique, other EU countries have similar problems. We have to transform the negative energy that has been accumulated against us, into a helping hand to solve the problem at European level, to make a real step forwards in the social policy, and namely – regarding the children in social homes in Europe.
- How could this be done?
-A week ago, me and my colleagues from the European Liberals’ fraction in the European Parliament Filiz Hyusmenova, Metin Kazak, Prof. Vladko Panayotov, and Iliana Yotova from PES, submitted a written Declaration, in which we call for a common European policy on the upbringing and education of underprivileged children.
- Did you undertake no steps to stop showing the film?
- We learned about Kathy Sinnott’s plans a month ago from the Belgian press. We got together, all the Bulgarian Members of the European Parliament, to decide how to react to the situation. We suggested organizing after the film a discussion on the ways to improve the impaired people conditions and shooting another film, “The home”. It also tells about children in social homes, but the picture there is radically different. We should not forget, that the Mogilino film has been made two years ago and since then many things have been changed not only in this home, but in the rest of the homes too. Since 2003, the Bulgarian government is making all possible efforts to improve the underprivileged children’s conditions. In two years above 600 children have been taken out of social institutions. That is the right way to solve problems. We also made an appeal to the EP President Hans-Gert PA�ttering to avoid showing the film on March 4th, as we, the Bulgarian Members of the European Parliament, were organizing a concerto for the National day of Bulgaria, inviting in the year of intercultural dialogue, one of our “ambassadors” Valia Balkanska to take part in it. Now, in the frames of this dialogue, we are going to show our patriotism and cross “verbal” swords in the name of European goals.
- Why did not Mr. PA�ttering stop the showing of the film?
- He does not have the jurisdiction to do it. It is Kathy Sinnott’s personal initiative.

- Do the Bulgarian MEPs have a unified stand on the casus? At the beginning, you differed in your opinions: some of you intended to launch a discussion, others – to stage a concert in Oxford.
- Speaking of national interests, we have always had a unified stand: we all do our best to help the national cause. The declaration proves it! The document insists that the care for the socially handicapped children is turned into EU’s priority, until the humiliating situation in which these children live finds its humane solution.

We would like the European Commission to exercise constant control over the orphanages. Under the norms of the European Parliament, if by the end of May we manage to gain the support of at least other 400 MEPs, the EC could initiate the establishment of common European legislation in this sphere. Signing a declaration means doubtless success for Bulgaria in this course of action.

- A few days ago Iliana Yotova said that Kathy Sinnott’s campaign was probably hiding economic interests. What do you think?

- According to information from the website of the documentaries’ director, Kate Blewett, the foundation that was established to render help to the children from Mogilino has raised over 1.5 million pounds. So far there has been no information on how this money will be used. My colleagues and I hope these are not related to somebody’s economic interests. We simply have to help these people. And Bulgaria is helping.Therefore the BBC film has a positive aspect too, as it turned the attention of all the Bulgarians on the impaired people serious problems and the need to help them.
- Bulgaria is still keeping its wait-and-see policy regarding Kosovo. Should we recognize the new Balkan state and when?
- This is a very complicated case and it is very closely concerning our country, so we cannot, hence, define our stand as rushing or retarding the process. The NMSS supports the efforts for consultations between the factors responsible for the stability in the region and it insists that Bulgaria should keep its role as a moderator in this process as long as possible. A very important condition for the officials in Kosovo is that they should take serious commitments to observe the rights of all the minority groups.

- How does our country look like from the side of Brussels an year after it became EU Member? The European Commission Interim report shows, that the fight against the corruption and the organized crime is inefficient. Brussels interrupted the road infrastructure and the PHARE payments for a while.
- Bulgaria looks like a determined student specializing interesting subjects, and not like secondary school pupil, eager to answer all the questions. Our image is getting better as a whole. We are marking a serious economic progress and we are offering favorable business climate.

- The opposition accuses the Government that Bulgaria lags drastically behind schedule with absorption of EU funds. Is it true?
- I cannot say the retardation is drastic. But many people have no information and do not seek it. They believe devising a project is an extremely difficult job. This is why in the info centres I maintain as a MEP I organize free consultation for everyone who is interested in ways to realize their ideas with the EU funds.


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