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#Opinion: Two-State Solution Slipping Away! Do Not Miss the Opportunity to Reverse the Negative Trends #Israel #Palestine @UNSCO_MEPP

03/07/2016 2 comments

The report published last week by the Quartet – the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations – presents an analysis that should come as no surprise to anyone. The negative trends on the ground continue to jeopardise prospects for peace and diminish the prospects for a two-state solution.

Palestinian frustration after half a century of occupation, dozens of failed peace efforts cannot be wished away; it cannot be vanquished by aggressive security measures, continued illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank, arrests or punitive home demolitions. Neither is it helped when Israeli ministers openly reject the very notion of a Palestinian state, call for the complete annexation of the West Bank or rush to approve more settlement construction.

But neither will the violence and terror we are witnessing again help bring about a Palestinian state. A peaceful future for both peoples cannot emerge on the back of statements that glorify terror and justify killing; mutual respect cannot come as a result of stabbings, shootings and car-rammings.

Most Palestinians have lived with the humiliation of occupation all their lives.

They do not need the Quartet to tell them about the devastating impact of the illegal settlement enterprise on their lives, their economy, and their legitimate aspirations for an independent, sovereign, viable state. For them, a nine-page report could never fully capture what it is like to live under a military rule which governs every aspect of their daily existence and which has the power of life and death over them and their children. The shooting of 15 year old Mahmoud Raafat Badran, on his way home from a swimming pool is the latest testament to this sad predicament. No army should kill children by mistake.

Equally so, Israelis know that continuing terrorist attacks, the incitement which encourages such acts, and the ongoing militant activity in Gaza are major obstacles not just to peace, but to rebuilding trust. The recent murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel provided further testimony to that. Heroes do not kill sleeping children. Most Israelis have lived with such fears all their lives. It is also clear that the takeover of Gaza undermines the ability to achieve and implement a negotiated solution.

Given this stark reality, Palestinians and Israelis have reached a point where many on

both sides have lost faith in the other’s commitment to a future of two states

living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition. Many of them have also grown critical of the international community – some thinking it is not doing enough to resolve this conflict while others see it as overly involved with it.

 At the end of the day, the sad reality for peoples on both sides of the conflict is that the things which they hold most dear – statehood and security – are slipping further away.

 The report published by the Quartet sends two very clear messages. First, to those who hope that the international community would somehow abandon this conflict and let it descend in a deteriorating status quo to perpetual chaos, we say: no, you are wrong. The report reflects the determination of the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations not to look away, but to expose and draw attention to the problems in a more detailed and uncompromising manner than ever before and to hold the leaderships to account on their actions and inactions.

Second, to those who hope that the international community will enforce a solution on this conflict, we say: you, too, are wrong. No third party can decide for Israelis or Palestinians what compromises to make and what risks to take for peace. None of us can convince them to begin trusting each other. What the international community can and must do is to provide the parties with support and incentives to take the right path, the one towards peace, in line with commitments they have already made to each other and before the world. We must pledge to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) through negotiations in a manner that resolves all permanent status issues, meets Palestinian aspirations for statehood and Israeli security needs.

The report describes the Quartet’s view on the main obstacles blocking the path forward, and what needs to be done to overcome them. Both have been critical of the report.

But can anyone deny that violence is a problem for rebuilding trust? Who will make the argument that more cannot be done to end incitement?

Can anyone question the fact that illegal settlements, the taking of land for exclusive Israeli use and the prevention of Palestinian development in Area C of the occupied West Bank are not undermining the prospect for a two-state solution? Who will say that the Russian Federation, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations are wrong when they call for these policies to stop?

Who can question the need to fully lift the closures on Gaza, end militant activity and reunite it under one single legitimate leadership?

This conflict is so complex and so long-standing, that any expectation of a quick fix that resolves all final status issues is at best naïve, and at worst a cynical strategy to avoid the painstaking work needed to rebuild trust and create conditions for a realistic, serious and ultimately successful negotiations that will end the occupation that began in 1967 and realize a two state solution. No one is talking about yet another new transitional agreement but rather about

implementing what both sides have already agreed upon

and changing reality on the ground to pave the road for the final deal.

The Quartet report sounds an alarm bell that we are on a dangerous slope towards a one state reality that is incompatible with the national aspirations of both peoples.

The international community stands ready to engage both with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the implementation of the report’s recommendations. We believe that if they take up this challenge, in cooperation with regional actors, Palestinians and Israelis will experience a positive change in their lives and sense renewed hope – a first and necessary step towards a future in which they can each live in freedom and dignity on their ancestral homeland, as good neighbours and masters of their own fate. I urge leaders on both sides not to miss this opportunity.


this opinion piece was published or quoted in the following media:

In Full/English

·         Israeli and Palestinian Media 

Ø     Jerusalem Post, 4 July, Link

Ø     Maan News Agency, 4 July, Link

·         Forum/Blogs

Ø     Naruto Café, 6 July, Link

Excerpts/English

·         Israeli and Palestinian Media 

Ø    Times of Israel, 4 July, Link

Ø    Arutz Sheva, 4 July, Link

Ø    Jerusalem Post, 4 July, Link

Ø    Maan News Agency, 5 July, Link

·         Regional Media

Ø    Press TV (Iran), 4 July, Link

Ø    Al-Bawaba, 4 July, Link

·      International

Ø    Reuters, 3 July, Link

Ø    Reuters, 4 July, Link

Ø    Reuters, 5 July, Link

Ø    Breitbart, 4 July, Link

Ø    Camera, 6 July, Link

Ø    Sputnik, 7 July, Link

Ø    Russia Today, 4 July, Link

Ø    The Nation (UAE), 4 July, Link

Ø    The Forward, 3 July, Link

Ø    EuroNews, 4 July, Link

Ø    Business Insider (UK), 3 July, Link

Ø    New Europe, 5 July, Link

Ø    Daily Mail, 3 July, Link

Ø    Germany Sun, 5 July, Link

Excerpts/Arabic

·         Palestinian Media

Ø     Al-Quds Newspaper, 3 July, Link

Ø     Al-Ayyam Newspaper, 4 July, Link

Ø     PalSawa, 3 July, Link

Ø     Palestine News Network (PNN), 4 July, Link

Ø     Amad, 3 July, Link

Ø     Shams News Agency, 4 July, Link

Ø     Panet, 5 July, Link

Ø     Arab48, 3 July, Link

Ø     Al-Hourriah, 9 July, Link

·         Regional Media 

Ø     Al-Arabiya, 3 July, Link

Ø     Sky News Arabic, 3 July, Link

Ø     Al-Hurra, 4 July, Link

Ø     Al-Mayadeen, 4 July, Link

Ø     Al-Bayan (UAE), 4 July, Link

Ø     Masr Al-Arabia, 4 July, Link

Ø     Lebanon Daily, 4 July, Link

Ø     Al-Rai, 5 July, Link

Ø     Al-Mydan, 4 July, Link

Ø     New Middle East, 4 July, Link

Ø     Al-Khaleej, 4 July, Link

Ø     Sana (Syria), 4 July, Link

·         International Media

Ø     Reuters, 3 July, Link

Ø     Russia Today, 4 July, Link

 

الأطفال ليسوا جنودا

12/06/2015 Leave a comment

القدس، 11 حزيران 2015 – في تاريخ 8 حزيران، أصدر الأمين العام  

 للأمم المتحدة تقريرا طال انتظاره حول الأطفال والنزاعات المسلحة في العام 2014. لقد شهد العام الماضي تحديات غير مسبوقة لحماية عشرات الملايين من الأطفال الذين ينشأون في البلدان المتأثرة بالنزاعات. في العراق وسوريا، قام تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام بخطف أكثر من ألف فتاة وفتى. في احدى الحوادث التي حصلت في حلب في سوريا، قام التنظيم بخطف ما يقارب 150 من الصبية الصغار فور انتهائهم من أمتحاناتهم المدرسية وبينما كانوا بطريق عودتهم لمنازلهم. وفي حادثة أخرى، أصدر التنظيم وثيقة تبرر الاسترقاق الجنسي للفتيات اليزيدية اللواتي تم خطفهم في العراق. أما في نيجيريا، فقد قامت جماعة بوكو حرام بخطف المئات من الفتيات.

لقد كان عام 2014 مدمرا في دولة فلسطين وبالأخص بما يتعلق بالأطفال. ويبين التقرير بشكل واضح على أن الأمين العام قلق جدا بشأن الزيادة الهائلة في عدد الأطفال الذين قتلوا وجرحوا في الأرض الفلسطينية المحتلة، حيث فقد 557 من الأطفال حياتهم في العام الماضي. وهذا العدد هو ثالث اعلى عدد من الأطفال الذين قتلوا في العالم بعد أفغانستان (710) والعراق (679). لا ينبغي لأي من الوالدين أن يضطر لدفن طفله أو طفلته، ولا ينبغي حرمان أي أسرة من أبتسامة وفرح أطفالها. ان وراء كل هذه الأرقام المروعة تكمن مأساة إنسانية، اننل لن ننسى هؤلاء العائلات الذين فقدوا أحبائهم في صلواتنا وأفكارنا.

ان استمرار الاحتلال يؤثر على حياة الأطفال من جميع أطراف الصراع. ففي رفح قتل كل من محمد،6 أعوام، وأخاه أمير، 12 عام، خارج منزلهم بواسطة صاروخ أطلق من طائرة بدون طيار. في حين قتل دانيل، 4 أعوام، بواسطة صاروخ عشوائي أطلق من غزة. كلتا الأسرتين، الفلسطينية والإسرائيلية، يحزنون لهم على حد سواء.

مقتل طفل واحد يعتبر عددا كبيرا

أنه لمن المحزن أنه في عام 2014، تحمل الأطفال، عبء الهجوم العسكري الواسع والذي يعد الثالث في غزة خلال السنوات الستة الماضية. ان عدد الأطفال الفلسطينيين الذيت قتلوا في الحرب الأخيرة قد فاق مجموع ما قتل من الأطفال خلال الحربين السابقتين. ففي خلال الخمسين يوما ما بين تاريخ 8 تموز و26 اب، قتل ما لا يقل عن 540 طفلا فلسطينيا (70% منهم تقل أعمارهم عن 12 عاما). وأصيب ما لا يقل عن 2,955 طفلا فلسطينيا، وتشير التقديرات الأولية على أنه ما لا يقل عن 1,000 من هؤلاء الأطفال سيعانون من عجز دائم.

وفي الضفة الغربية، قتل 13 فتى فلسطيني يتراوح أعمارهم ما بين 11-17 عاما. وفي تاريخ 15 أيار 2014، تم اطلاق الرصاص الحي على أثنين من الفتية الفلسطينيين مما أدى الى مقتلهم خلال مواجهات مع جنود اسرائيليين قرب حاجز بيتونيا. وتشير التقارير على أن الأطفال لم يظهروا بشكل يدل على انهم يشكلون تهديدا قاتلا. وبعد شهر من ذلك تم اختطاف ثلاثة شبان اسرائيليين، وفي وقت لاحق تم العثور على جثثهم الثلاثة قرب مدينة حلحول في شمال الخليل. ومن الفظيع أنه قبل حوالي العام، تم حرق محمد أبو خضير وهو على قيد الحياة في هجوم انتقامي على ما يبدو لخطف وقتل الشبان الإسرائيليين. وقد تم ألقاء القبض وتوجيه التهم لثلاثة مدنيين إسرائيليين، من بينهم اثنان تقل أعمارهم عن 18 عاما. ان من بين 1,218 طفل أصيبوا في الضفة الغربية، تقل أعمار نصفهم عن 12 عاما، و91% منهم أصيبوا خلال مواجهات في مدينتي الخليل والقدس الشرقية.

الأطفال ليسوا جنودا

إنه لمؤلم جدا مجرد كتابة هذه الكلمات والأرقام والتفكير في الدمارالذي لحق بالآلاف من الأسر. ان الأطفال ليسوا جنودا وينبغي أن يتم حمايتهم من العنف. بغض النظر أين يعيش هؤلاء الأطفال، فإن حياتهم ثمينة على حد سواء. لا ينبغي أن تعرض مدارسهم الى الخطر عن طريق إخفاء الأسلحة فيها، ولا ينبغي أيضا أن تتعرض الى القصف. لا ينبغي تجنيد الأطفال للقتال، ولا ينبغي سوء معاملتهم أو تهديدهم أو قتلهم.

يوضح التقرير مدى غضب الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة عن ما حدث لأطفال غزة العام الماضي. ان التقرير هو أكثر من مجرد قائمة، فينبغي أن يقرأ بأكمله. أن الأمم المتحدة تواصل رصد وتوثيق الوضع في فلسطين وإسرائيل، وقد كنا منذ سنوات عديدة قلقين إزاء تأثير النزاع على الأطفال هناك. أن هذا القلق آخذ بالازدياد.

لا يمكن لهذا العدد الهائل من الأطفال الذين قتلوا في غزة العام الماضي أن يمر دون عواقب. لقد أصدر الأمين العام دعوة قوية جدا الى اسرائيل باتخاذ خطوات ملموسة وفورية لحماية ومنع قتل الأطفال أوتعريضهم للأذى، بما في ذلك من خلال مراجعة السياسات والممارسات القائمة وضمان مساءلة مرتكبي الانتهاكات المزعومة. ولقد حذر بشدة جميع الأطراف التي تنخرط في العمل العسكري الذي ينتج عنه العديد من الانتهاكات الجسيمة ضد الأطفال، بغض النظر عن النوايا، على أنها سوف تخضع لتدقيق مستمر من قبل الأمم المتحدة، بما في ذلك من خلال التقارير وآلية الأدراج التي أنشأها مجلس الأمن. أن من واجب السلطات الإسرائيلية والفلسطينية ضمان اجراء تحقيقات في الاتهمات التي تنتهك القانون الدولي الإنساني وحقوق الإنسان بشكل سريع وفعال ومستقل ودون تحيز، وتقديم المسؤولين عنها للعدالة.

تهدف اللأمم المتحدة من خلال اصدارها لهذا التقرير الى زيادة الوعي العالمي حول الانتهاكات وضمان المساءلة لجميع الأطراف التي يتم توثيق ممارساتها في التقرير – في سبيل الوصول للهدف النهائي وهو وقف ومنع انتهاكات حقوق الإنسان ضد الأطفال. ان الحقائق المروعة الواردة في التقرير تتحدث عن نفسها. ان هذه الحقائق تعتبر إهانة لضمائرنا جميعا. لقد توجه الشعب في الارض الفلسطينية المحتلة الى المجتمع الدولي لبذل كل الجهد الممكن في التوصل إلى سلام عادل مبني على أساس حل الدولتين، حيث فلسطين وإسرائيل تعيشان جنبا إلى جنب في سلام وأمن. ويقع على مسؤوليتنا تحقيق هذا المطلب من أجل أن يحظى أطفال هذه الأرض بالمستقبل الذي يستحقون.

As published in Al Quds Newspaper on June 11 2015

 

#Children are not #soldiers @UNSCO_MEPP

11/06/2015 1 comment

Children sitting on top of the ruins of their bedroom in Gaza.

On 8 June, the UN Secretary General published a much anticipated report on Children and Armed Conflict in 2014. Last year saw unprecedented challenges for the protection of tens of millions of children growing up in countries affected by conflict. In Iraq and Syria, over one thousand girls and boys were abducted by ISIL. In one incident in Syria, ISIL abducted approximately 150 young boys on their way home from school exams in Aleppo. It also issued a document justifying the sexual slavery of Yezidi girls abducted in Iraq. In Nigeria, Boko Haram abducted hundreds of girls.

This period was particularly devastating for children in the State of Palestine. The report clearly shows that the Secretary-General is deeply alarmed by the dramatic increase in the number of children killed and injured in the occupied Palestinian territory, where last year 557 children lost their lives. This is the third highest number of children killed in the world after Afghanistan (710) and Iraq (679). No parent should have to bury his or her child, no family should be deprived of the laughter and joy of their children. Behind each of these shocking numbers lies a human tragedy and our prayers and thoughts are with the families of those who have lost their loved ones.

The occupation continues to affect the lives of children on all sides of the conflict. Mohammed, aged 6, and his brother Amir, aged 12, were killed by a drone missile outside their house in Rafah. Daniel, aged 4, was killed by indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza. Both families, Palestinian and Israeli, grieve equally for their children.

One child killed is one child too many…

Sadly, in 2014 children have borne the brunt of the third major military offensive in Gaza in six years. The number of Palestinian child casualties in this latest conflict exceeds the combined number killed during the two previous escalations. In the 50 days between 8 July and 26 August, at least 540 Palestinian children were killed (70 per cent of them under 12), and at least 2,955 Palestinian children were injured; preliminary estimates indicate that up to 1,000 of them will be permanently disabled.

In the West Bank, 13 Palestinian boys, aged 11 to 17 years, lost their lives. On 15 May 2014, two Palestinian boys were shot and killed with live ammunition during clashes with Israeli soldiers near Beituniya Checkpoint. Reports indicate that they did not appear to pose a lethal threat. One month later three Israeli youths were abducted. Their bodies were later found near Halhul in northern Hebron. Most shockingly, almost exactly one year ago Muhammad Abu Khudair was burned alive in an apparent revenge attack for the kidnapping and killing of the Israeli youths. Three Israeli civilians were arrested and charged, including two under the age of 18 years. Of the 1,218 children injured in the West Bank, more than half were under age 12, and 91 per cent were injured during confrontations in Hebron and East Jerusalem.

Children are not soldiers

It is painful to even write these words and these numbers and to think of the devastation wrought upon thousands of families. Children are not soldiers and they should be protected from violence. It does not matter where they live, their lives are equally precious. Their schools should not be put at risk by hiding weapons in them, nor should they be bombed; they should not be recruited to fight, nor should they be abused, threatened or killed.

The report makes unmistakably clear how angry the United Nations Secretary-General is with what happened to the children of Gaza last year. The report is more than just a list, it should be read in its entirety. The UN continues to monitor and document the situation in Palestine and Israel and for many years we have been concerned about the impact of the conflict on children there. This concern is growing.

The staggering number of children killed in Gaza last year cannot remain without consequence. The Secretary-General has issued a very strong call on Israel to take concrete and immediate steps to protect and prevent the killing and maiming of children, including through the review of existing policies and practices and by ensuring accountability for perpetrators of alleged violations. He has also firmly warned that all parties that engage in military action which results in grave violations against children, regardless of intent, will be subject to continued United Nations scrutiny, including through the reporting and listing mechanism established by the Security Council. The Israeli and the Palestinian authorities have an obligation to ensure that allegations of violations of international humanitarian and human rights law are promptly, effectively, independently, and impartially investigated, and that those responsible are brought to justice.

By publishing the report, the UN aims to raise global awareness of the violations and to ensure the accountability of all parties whose actions are documented in the report – with the ultimate aim to stop and prevent human rights violations against children. The shocking facts presented in the report speak for themselves. They are an affront to our collective conscience. In the occupied Palestinian territory, people look to the international community to expend every effort to bring about a just peace on the basis of a two-state solution where Palestine and Israel live side by side in peace and security. It is our responsibility to make this happen so that the children of these lands have the future they are entitled to.

The Arabic version of the article was published in Arabic in Al-Quds Newspaper on June 11th 2015

Outgoing UN envoy sees hope for Iraq

05/03/2015 Leave a comment
Outgoing UN envoy sees hope for Iraq

Outgoing UN envoy sees hope for Iraq.

Baghdad, March 5, 2015 (AFP) – Sectarianism is receding in Iraqi politics and hope is growing that the country can remain united, said Nickolay Mladenov, who left Thursday after 18 months as the top UN envoy.

In an interview with AFP, he praised Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for his efforts in averting Iraq’s breakup, which had looked imminent following a massive jihadist offensive in June last year.

Critics say sectarian policies under the previous prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, were partly to blame for marginalising Iraq’s Sunni Arabs and allowing the Islamic State group to take over swathes of land almost unopposed.

Mladenov said much had been achieved in the six months Abadi has been in office, despite the huge challenges that remain.

“The key change is that now there is hope that Iraq can reconstruct itself in a more inclusive way that allows the country to move forward,” he said.

IS jihadists still control two and half provinces in Iraq and more than two million people have been forced to flee their homes since the start of 2014.

But the Iraqi government is more inclusive, he said, and enjoys broader regional and international support, with a coalition of 60 countries helping in the fight against IS.

“Today you see a clear unity of purpose between the (Shiite) prime minister, (Kurdish) president and (Sunni) speaker of parliament both on security and on the major political challenges of the country — it’s encouraging,” Mladenov said.

“It used to be more acceptable to be sectarian, now it’s less acceptable to be openly sectarian in your speeches,” he said. “This changes the nature of the political environment, slowly but surely.”

With IS proclaiming a “caliphate” over nearly a third of the country in June and the Kurds aggressively expanding their borders in the jihadists’ wake, Iraq was experiencing what the UN and others had described as an “existential threat”.

“Abadi is the right man for Iraq,” Mladenov said.

“He is a consensus-builder. Some accuse him of being slow at taking decisions but the fact that he wants to ensure that all the decisions are taken on the basis of consensus is good for the country,” the outgoing envoy said.

While he could see an opportunity for real improvement, he admitted that many hurdles would have to be cleared.

“I’m optimistic about Iraq yet I’m paranoid that a lot of things can go wrong,” said the Bulgarian diplomat, who has been appointed UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.

Source: AFP World News / English

Categories: article, Iraq Tags: , , , ,

Лъжите на БСП не могат да оправдаят управленското им безсилие

04/07/2013 Leave a comment

ImageПубликувам този текст, защото днес прочетох поредната лъжа, която правителството на БСП произведе, за да прикрие собствената си некомпетентност.През февруари 2013 беше договорена бюджетната рамка на ЕС за 2014-2020. По отношение на земеделските плащания е записано, че общата сума за подпомагане на селските райони е почти 85 милиарда евро. Как тези пари ще бъдат разпределени между държавите членки зависи от Европейския парламент и от страните-членки (т. 71 от Заключенията на ЕС от 7-8 февруари 2013). Разбира се това ще бъде направено на базата на “обективни критерии и минали резултати” (т. 70 от същия документ).

Ако настоящето управление не е способно да защити интересите на българските земеделски производители, да не прехвърля вината на Борисов или на ГЕРБ. Защото това, което страната направи по наше време е да защити именно техните интереси и да не допуска орязаване на директните плащания към българските земеделци, каквото предложение имаше в началото.

В рамките на преговорите беше удовлетворено и нашето искане страната ни да има повече свобода и да може да прехвърля средства (до 15%) между двата основни стълба на Общата селскостопанска политика – директни плащания и развитие на селските региони. Това стана в момент, в който не само общия бюджет на ЕС се съкращава, а и самата обща селскостопанска политика се променя. Тази гъвкавост на селскостопанския бюджет ще позволи на България сама да прецени за какво и как да бъдат използвани средствата.

Същевременно България е една от само четири страни, които в следващия програмен период ще получат повече пари от преди. За България това означава 15,2 милиарда евро, или над 12 милиарда нетен приход от ЕС. Това става в период, когато страните-членки на ЕС драстично съкращават общия бюджет на Европейски съюз с 73 милиарда евро.  Правителството на ГЕРБ, въпреки финансовата криза в Европа, успя да договори за страната ни повече пари, отколкото тройната коалиция. Благодарение на нашите усилия България е на-големият нетен бенефициент сред държавите членки на ЕС.

Правителството на БСП и ДПС с подкрепата на Атака може единствено и само да загуби на България средства. Орешарски и Станишев са хората, които носят отговорност за спрените пари и ниското усвояване на европейски фондове по времето на Тройната коалиция. Каквито и ПР ходове в момента да предприемат, те не могат да прикрият неспособността си да управляват. Това го вижда всеки.

Преговорите по финансовата рамка бяха трудни и бяха проведени успешно благодарение на волята на правителството на ГЕРБ и експертите в българската администрация. Искам още веднъж да благодаря на всички, които работиха в този период на всички нива в администрацията. Искам също да се извиня на всички експерти, които работиха по преговорите, че техният труд остава неоценен от настоящето управление. Управление, което е загубило легитимността си и прави отчаяни опити да оправдае оставането си на власт.

New Socialist Government Wants to Restart Controversial, Outdated and Expensive Belene Nuclear Project

30/05/2013 1 comment
Socialist leader Stanishev and PM Oresharski form unstable government with the support of xenophobic and nationalist Ataka

Socialist leader Stanishev and PM Oresharski form unstable government with the support of ultra-nationalist party Ataka

In February the Bulgarian Parliament voted by a crushing majority of 114 to 40 to cancel the controversial project to build a second nuclear power station at Belene with Russian technology. This decision should have been taken years ago. The project is outdated and expensive and this has been proven over and over again. It has already cost too much financially and politically to the Bulgarian tax payer. There is much speculation that over the last 30 years it has generated corruption, mismanagement and dependencies.

In March last year the Government put and to the project. This was endorsed by Parliament, but the opposition challenged it in a failed referendum. Those who argued that the Borisov government and the GERB centre-right majority in Parliament would not end this project were once again proven wrong today.

Bulgaria needs to invest in innovation, SMEs that create jobs and support a middle class. The country needs a modern energy infrastructure that is up to the highest standards of safety and is integrated into the European grid. Last but not least it needs to break away from the shackles of energy dependence, diversify and invest in energy efficiency.

Soon after this decision the Socialist opposition, in collaboration with those who had benefitted from the corruption that Belene had fed for decades, brought down the Government and early elections were called. Yesterday they formed a weak and unstable government that relies on the support of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms and a xenophobic and ultra-nationalist party called Ataka. In its first statement the new government declared is that it wants to restart the Belene project… During the election much was said about growth, jobs and prosperity. Today the truth however has emerged. The Bulgarian Socialist Party has no idea how to move the country forward, its leadership is interested only in Belene. One ought to ask why? The answer is not that complicated. For more than three decades Belene has bled the Bulgarian treasury and economy. Billions were spent on a project that is outdated and defunct. Many of those who whisper in their ears made money out of this project. But there is another reason. Ultra-nationalist Ataka openly declared that they want the project restarted. Today PM Oresharski is paying the price for that one vote that got his government elected. Welcome to the coalition politics. When you sell your soul to the devil, he will come to collect it.

The people of Bulgaria will quickly see through this plot and should not allow it to materialise. My country has the potential to be a hub of innovation and growth in a region of economic turmoil. Why? Because its finances are stable, its credit ratings increased through the crisis, and the Bulgarian people are prone to innovation and enterprise. However that can happen only if they are left to their own devices. That should be the main priority of any government, no matter what side of the political spectre it comes from.

This post is based on an earlier entry, which I wrote when Parliament voted to end the controversial project.

Без истерия към съседите II

14/12/2012 Leave a comment

Заключенията на Съвет “Общи въпроси” на ЕС, които не определиха дата за започване на преговори с Македония, отново развълнуваха българското общество. Интерпретациите са доста крайни – от “копаене на гроб” до “отрязване”.

България нито е изкопала гроб на съседите си, нито ги е отрязала по пътя им към Европа. Дори напротив. За пореден път заявихме, че искаме Западните Балкани да вървят уверено и бързо по пътя на евроинтеграцията.

Какво обаче означава това?

Целта е ясна – един ден между България, Македония, Сърбия и другите ни съседи на Западните Балкани да няма граници, да използваме една валута (евро) и бизнесът ни да бъде обвързан. Ще ни различават единствено пътните табели, които ще бъдат на родните ни езици, както това е между Франция и Германия… В обединена Европа всеки запазва своята идентичност и я развива, но не за сметка на другия.

Това е интеграцията, която ЕС предлага и заради която е толкова ценен. Не може обаче да бъдеш част от една общност, без да покриеш еднакви критерии, без да приемеш общите правила.

Пътят към Европа за Западните Балкани не е процес, в който трябва да се правят отстъпки от ЕС, от България или от който и да е, заради романтични спомени или тежко детство. Това няма да е от полза за никого, защото, когато един ден поискаме да отворим границите си, ще се окаже, че имаме различно разбиране за нещата. Ако искаме някога да имаме интегрирана бизнес среда на Балканите, като в страните от Бенелюкс например, не можем днес да си затворим очите, че компании са дискриминирани само защото са български. Дали ще успеем да осигурим свободно движение на хора, ако днес не повдигнем въпроса, че има граждани, които са тормозени от държавната машина само защото се чувстват от друга националност? Никой не може да живее със съседа си, ако насажда омраза към него.

Ние не искаме Балканите да останат в плен на миналото или дори на настоящето. Напротив, искаме да погледнем напред. Точно защото сме наясно, че европейската интеграция е най-добрият сценарий за развитие на нашия регион, имаме отговорността да посочим най-верния път за това на нашите съседи, а не да ги залъгваме, че той е лесен. Защото от собствен опит знаем, че това не е така – нужни са тежки реформи, компромиси и много внимание.

Затова и заключенията на Съвет “Общи въпроси” идват навреме и са в правилната посока. Те показват, че правителството в Република Македония не трябва да се отнася административно и бюрократично към процеса на евроинтеграцията, а по същество.
Заключенията определят стъпките, които оттук нататък страната трябва да извърви, за да може да премине в следващия етап на присъединяването си към Европейския съюз. Ясно са формулирани критериите, на които трябва да се отговори, а именно – реформи, добросъседски отношения, включително и с България, и стъпки за решаване на въпроса с името.

Като най-големия застъпник на евроинтеграцията на Западните Балкани в ЕС България има задължения и към Европа. Темата за разширяването на съюза е достатъчно трудна в момента, за да позволим изграждането на нереалистични очаквания, които един ден ще се върнат обратно като бумеранг. Създаването на изкуствен образ днес, без реалното подобряване на ситуацията в страните кандидатки ще постави непреодолими пречки при преговорите в бъдеще.

Поставянето на въпроса с Македония съвсем не беше показване на мускули пред някой по-малък или по-слаб. Всъщност България трябваше да изложи позицията си пред останалите страни членки от ЕС и пред ЕК и да ги убеди, че в това, което казваме, има смисъл. Запазването на мълчание и показването на конформизъм нямаше да доведе до нищо по-добро нито за България, нито за Македония.

България за първи път успя да постави важен национален въпрос, който има с друга държава и засяга нашите интереси, пред Европа и да има нейната солидарност. Смятам, че го направи в рамките на европейския тон и правила. Вече 5 години, откакто сме член на съюза, постоянно повтаряме, че трябва да започнем да се държим като страна членка, а не като уплашен кандидат.

Оттук нататък най-голямата отговорност по присъединяването на Македония пада върху нейното правителство. Те имат както българските предложения за договор за добросъседство, предложенията ни за засилено сътрудничество, така и ясния сигнал от Брюксел, че има само един път към Европа и той е на сътрудничество, а не на отрицание.

Статията, под заглавие ‘За да си в Европа, приемаш правилата’, беше публикувана днес във в. Труд