Ex-Commissioner Proposes Minister for EU’s Poorest Region

The Bulgaria for Citizens party of former EU Commissioner Meglena Kuneva has proposed the establishment of a new ministerial portfolio for Bulgaria’s Severozapaden (northwestern) region, the poorest NUTS 2 region in the EU.

The Bulgaria for Citizens party explained at a press conference Monday that nearly 100 000 small and medium-sized enterprises based in northwestern Bulgaria had closed in the period 2009 – end 2011, leaving over 300 000 people unemployed.

Kuneva argued that the policy pursued by the center-right GERB government had placed Bulgaria in isolation in the EU after failing to come up with a concrete stance on important topics like the debt and financial crisis, growth, and job creation.

“The country is actually closing itself off. The EU is not just there for the EU funds, which after all can be siphoned off, leaving the country with the burden of corrupt schemes. Our Prime Minister, to my horror, boasted how we detain Syrian refugees. That is exactly it, we have become the guards of paradise. And at the same time, we are not admitted to Schengen. I am absolutely against a two-speed Europe,” she declared.

Meglena Kuneva explained that the latest report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded that financial discipline was no panacea and a policy to stimulate job creation was necessary.

Bulgaria’s former EU Commissioner suggested that the poorest EU region needed special care, with a ministerial portfolio created to handle the affairs of the northwestern region until it registered progress.

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