The reason for talk platform?
Why is the most successful Bulgarian social entrepreneur and writer is leaving Bulgaria after so many achievements?
Why is Bulgarian society has an enormous problem with demography? Why did a third of Bulgarians choose to immigrate in the last 30 years? Why can't we make them come back? Why isn't Bulgaria an attractive enough place for second homes for many successful foreigners? Do we unconsciously or deliberately not want to be like the other Western-type modern democracies?
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Participants in the pilot forum- Stefan Yanev- Public figure, Politician. Lord of the Air- the most critical and civic oriented TV show in the New Post-Soviet Buglar history. Bulgarian National News Agency and politicians and citizens.
First of all from Security Considerations! Because of institutions not working, police not working, police not wanting to work! It is simple, some of the Threats provided to the Police are in line with the Anti-Western Pro Putin propaganda that is currently rampant in Bulgaria, even more so since the start of the war in Ukraine. And Bulgaria is in political and economic collapse and Anti European parties are on the horizon who do not want Bulgaria to be part of the EU and NATO. It is elementary to cover such a Huge Scandal because it is after all a blow to the building PR of these political formations. The political and civilizational Future of Bulgaria is at stake!
After all, it is not pleasant to know that you have been placed in the Scythe of the Enemies of the Nation, who are even spoken of from the Tribune of the National Assembly. Political forces speak of an impending pogrom of all pro-Western influencers. But this is ignored by the people who want to bring Bulgaria back to Totalitarianism and into the sphere of influence of Putin's Russia.
I received threats that I had to get out of Bulgaria along with all the other traitors to the Nation. 80 years ago, this same People's Court, nationalized everything of my clan, simply because they were rich entrepreneurs. I was subjected to harassment, to vandalism, to direct physical abuse. My work was defined as perverted, satanic, depraved... What I was doing was defined as traitorous, subservient to the West, idiotic, horrible...
Through social advertising and media promotion we have said that budget money should not be spent on sport and super stars when it should cost ZERO. The ads were placed against the Municipality of Pazardzhik.
The Forum was the basis for several initiatives. The first was to talk openly about public finances in Pazardzhik and their indiscriminate spending. About the fact that in a European city, 10% of the budget cannot finance professional sports, when this should not only cost the citizens Zero Finance, but also bring revenue to the Budget. Because when you spend 10%(we are talking millions spent foolishly) of the Citizens money on the salaries of Super Stars from all over the world, Super Coaches from Italy, it only and only means Corruption. As well as it means that no active citizen will want to stay in this country. This may be typical for North Korea or Putin's Russia, but not for the Civilized World!
Also the Forum made a room for Entertainment in the Immigrant Camp. Demonstrating that there is a way to tackle racism in a society torn by this problem.
But let’s talk about why migration matters:
Bulgarian migrants before the pandemic remitted $2.4 billion to their relatives in Bulgaria in 2018, according to a World Bank report on migration and development. That’s an official balance of payments statistic from the BNB, which means the money is actually many times more. That $2.4 billion (or about $7 billion in real terms) is equal to 3.8% of GDP, according to the WB’s calculations. Foreign direct investment in the country was about 3.2% (or real about 10%) of GDP in 2018. From the beginning of 2021 until the end of November, Bulgarians working abroad have sent only 149.1 million euros to their relatives and families in Bulgaria. To understand the dependence of the Bulgarian economy on immigrant remittances, for comparison, in our country this share is 3.8% of GDP, while Romanians send home 2.2% of GDP, Lithuanians - 2.6% and Estonians - 1.8%.. source- Investor.bg
Bulgarian immigrants are part of another tremendous problem for Bulgaria as a whole- the demographic crisis.
According to official figures, over the last 30 years the population of Bulgaria has decreased by 1.65 million people. According to the National Statistical Institute, in 1992 there were 8 487 317 people living in Bulgaria, in 2001 - 7 932 984 and in 2011 - 7 364 570. As of 31 December 2021, Bulgaria’s population was 6 838 937.
According to the Ministry of Finance, in 1990 the revenue on total income was BGN 1,911 million, the expenditure on salaries and social security of budget employees was BGN 3,116 million. A ratio of 1.63. In 2021, the revenue from personal income tax was BGN 4, 808 million, the expenditure on wages and salaries and insurance of budget employees was BGN 13, 297 million. The ratio is now 2.76. So we waste BGN 3.3 billion every year from the budget in Bulgaria. However, we can see from the election programmes how most parties are presenting us with ideas related to even greater spending from the budget. We hear populist notions that if the birth rate is increased, the demographic balance will be improved. Ideas range from tax breaks for parents, an increase in maternity pay in the second year, to BGN 10 000 for every second and third child of parents who have been working and insured for the last two years. In fact, according to Eurostat, Bulgaria does not look bad on one of the most important fertility indicators - the fertility rate. This is the average number of children a woman gives birth to during her lifetime. For Bulgaria, it is 1.58, which is above the EU average. While the infant mortality rate is almost twice as high as in the EU - 5.8 per 1000.
Expert and adequate positions against populism and corruption.
And, political populism constantly raises the issue of increasing salaries and pensions, without considering that the budget of the State Social Insurance (SSI) goes for salaries, insurance and pensions, with 40% of the amount “supplementing” the budget. On whose shoulders does the replenishment of this budget lie? How many active citizens are engaged in business in Bulgaria? How many of us living abroad are ready to accept this burden by transferring or creating a new business in Bulgaria?
And with this avalanche of budget spending, Bulgaria is once again the most corrupt country in the EU, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Index 2021, which measures the perception of corruption. Bulgaria ranks alongside countries such as Benin and Burkina Faso.
Today we will talk about those Bulgarians (and foreigners) who are abroad and have the opportunity to return to Bulgaria. Unfortunately, the inadequate attitude and misunderstanding of what it means to succeed abroad and prefer to go back to Bulgaria is the reason many of them stay abroad or quickly leave when they are back.
The hundreds of thousands who returned because of KOVID - what did Bulgaria offer them? According to DW and the Border Police, 109,467 Bulgarian citizens have arrived in Bulgaria in just 10 days since the state of emergency was declared, until March 23, 2020. The initial reaction to this influx of people wanting to return was not what are their basic needs, problems, how to make them feel better where they come from, but to send them to the field.
Let’s move on to the other immigrants that we can attract. Take the example of Ukrainian immigrants and why they don’t want to stay in Bulgaria. They have nowhere to go back to, their choices are as limited as possible, and they say they prefer Russian bombs to Bulgarian reality. Isn’t that a terrible red light?
Take Israel, where agriculture is now in the hands of immigrants from Asia and the results are extremely positive.
We understand immigrants are the major investors in Bulgaria. Do we understand that ‘second homes’ are lucrative economic sectors in countries such as Portugal and Thailand, for example? The second home is an attractive location chosen by people with mobile professions or businesses allowing them to be mobile. Factors that are important are: cost of living, opportunity for mobile work, entertainment, climate, but most of all, working institutions.
Where are we? Orientation and Values. What does it mean to be part of Europe? Are we still under the Soviet(Putin) influence? Are we the Trojan Horse in EU and NATO?
Urban environment - perhaps the closest to what the West has, and what we can offer. City of Plovdiv, for example, is a wonderful example. The question is in the small cities, as Pazardzhik? Are they the Kremlin bastions?
Let’s talk about the Urban transport - criteria for civility - Headline from DW, 2018- Germany: With free public transport vs cars. - Germany is considering introducing free public transport to reduce pollution from private cars. Another headline from manigesto.bg- Tallinn - first European capital with free transport. Where are we in Bulgaria? What is the transport in the city of Pazardzhik, in the municipality of Pazardzhik, the connections with the villages? What is the native public transport?
The “Mahalata” or the Gypsy Getto? Being able to get to work, inter-village transport from nearby villages, how do people get to the city? Why do we continue to protect the ghettos?
Public attitudes and anti-European rhetoric that is allowed
Civil Society. Active Citizens. Level of Democracy.
Citizen and Society - understanding of society and public (public) resources. What are our taxes/municipal funds being spent on? In Pazardzhik? Can we influence the disposition of public resources?
The cost of social investment - How much does a child cost society / the taxpayer, up to the age of 18? How much do we actually lose with each immigrant?
Carelessness - an abstract form of state that everyone is waiting for. Post Soviet mentality?
The media - the fourth estate or extension of the corrupt and failed state. People Power, Democracy or Civil Society?
Administration and Bureaucracy - references to a different time and different values and understandings- Soviets and Russia nostalgia. To what extent the institutions are helpful to foreigners, returning Bulgarians... To what extent foreign citizens in Bulgaria can rely on the institutions. How events are organized, what events bring, sustainability. How are subsidies to NGOs accounted for?
Doing Business in Bulgaria
Doing business in Bulgaria? Business environment or mimicry with the State and Budget. Are there business help centers for Start UP businesses for small and medium businesses needing help?
Are investors divided into those we need and those we don’t need? What can investors be useful for local government, for example? Lobbying, protection? Does this solve the fundamental problems of the business environment in our country? What is it?
Human Recourses - What kind of personnel does Bulgarian education produce? Is the German model of dual education applicable, i.e. - secondary vocational education + long-term internship in enterprises? Why is it impossible in Bulgaria? According to German investors, the major problem lies in the traditional mentality and values left over from the Soviets. Simply put: in Bulgaria there is a cult of higher education and nobody tries to convince the young that a good vocational education provides the same career chances. And no less painful is the issue that young people who go down the path of mass higher education usually lose them to less prestigious professions that can actually be much more lucrative. This is compounded by the large outflow of staff abroad under the ‘foreign university - work in the West’ scheme. Of course, high-tech companies and global firms that have entered the Bulgarian labour market offer excellent conditions and do not complain about a lack of staff. Bulgarian labour market the struggle for these staff is already so acute that the entry of more foreign companies could lead to a real collapse, fears one German entrepreneur.
Public Procurement - When you ask foreign investors the delicate question of government and public procurement, they suddenly become very distracted and evasive. No, we have not won a government contract; we have tried several times and already given up - this is the answer you will often hear on the sidelines of foreign investing. For small and medium-sized companies from Germany, this is inaccessible terrain, says one entrepreneur. Public contracts are always won by the same big firms, says a lawyer who specialises in foreign investment. But look, German (and not only German) entrepreneurs are very happy with the state support for investment. DW. 18.04.2019
Corruption in Bulgaria
Corruption? Bulgaria is once again the most corrupt country in the EU, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Index 2021, which measures perceptions of corruption. Bulgaria ranks alongside countries such as Benin and Burkina Faso. As Bulgaria remains the country in the EU whose population has the strongest perception of massive corruption.
How easy is it to do business in Bulgaria?
How easy is it to do business abroad? Bulgaria’s competition for human resources.
Independent Business - definition - politics and corruption and dependences in the business environment in Bulgaria
Education - how much for a parent does it cost to have a child in Bulgaria? What is the quality of the education compered to EU? The corruption in Educational System- from top to botton.
Private tuition - do we have the understanding that this concept is IMPOSSIBLE in any civilised country for several reasons, but starting that it is corruption? How much will it cost an immigrant for his child to become a student in Bulgaria? Why don’t we have public after-school centers?
Violence in the schools? Narcs?
Schools and kindergartens - are there places for everyone. Is it possible to enroll your child before you arrive in Bulgaria.
Law and Order- how safe we are in Bulgaria?
Law and Order - Trust in the Ministry of Interior For more than a decade experts, NGOs and international institutions have been repeating that Bulgarian citizens do not help the Ministry of Interior, do not look to the police for help and still consider it a repressive apparatus as during the totalitarian regime. The Ministry of the Interior has not moved much from the past and is therefore not coping with the challenges of the present.
The World Bank has given the Interior Ministry a severe diagnosis in 2018: spending a lot of money, achieving few results, which published a study on the effectiveness of police and fire spending in Bulgaria. The World Bank study says that Bulgaria spends the most on police and fire compared to other EU countries with a similar number of inhabitants. It also says that confidence is at rock bottom - also compared to other European countries. The system of the Ministry of the Interior is often subject to changes, but they are usually dictated by specific power interests - we will move one service, we will merge two others, after a while we will separate them again, etc. The Ministry of the Interior has survived until now without changing significantly, because in its current form it is profitable for those who exercise power.
The budget for 2020 is almost BGN 1.670 billion. Of this, almost 92% - over BGN 1.531 billion - goes to personnel costs. This share has increased significantly compared to 2006, when, according to Open Society, 81.52% of the budget went on salaries, social security and other remuneration. Spending almost the entire budget of the Ministry of Interior on personnel means that there is very little left for capital expenditure, qualification and retraining. Under reformist prime minister Ivan Kostov’s cabinet, the Ministry of Interior employed around 31 000 people, and today it is closer to 50 000.
The introduction of information technology, which will reduce bureaucracy and save costs, seems unaffordable for the Ministry of the Interior. “The Interior Ministry’s information systems are irreparably outdated and often on the verge of collapse. Digitisation of services is something unknown - every day in the Interior Ministry a mountain of paper is moved from one desk to another,” said Prof. Dr. Veselin Vuchkov, former Minister of the Interior, in an article for News.lex.bg
Similarities with the European police? Working together with the European police? How many officers speak a foreign language? Statistics on traffic accidents on our roads.
Family/domestic violence? -every second family - how do the police deal with this?
Traffic police and corruption on the roads.
Why do we keep ghetto guarding?
Health Care- how safe we are in Bulgaria?
Health care- process of collapsing authority of medics - Professor K. Kostov told DW that the vicious processes that have turned the health system into a lucrative business for the “feudal” in it - they have “domesticated” it for their own benefit
The mortality rate in Bulgaria is record high. Insured patients are forced to pay unacceptably high co-payments. Severe ageing and the associated rise in mortality rates place Bulgarians among the six fastest melting nations in the world. The country has long occupied an alarming second place in the world in terms of total mortality rate. And Bulgaria’s overall mortality rate in recent years has been twice the European Union average. In terms of health spending relative to GDP, Bulgaria already outperforms most new EU member states. But the health and demographic status of the Bulgarian nation continues to deteriorate - despite increased funding for the health system. What is the reason? The situation in Bulgaria is so dramatic mainly because of the excessively high death rate because of strokes, and at least 80% of strokes in Bulgaria could have been prevented, because this fatal disease is largely due to the lack of prevention and measures by the victims, the health system and the excise legislation. Bulgaria ranks ninth out of 189 countries in terms of alcohol consumption per capita and 12th in terms of smoking. The explanation appears to be simple: the nearly BGN 5 billion that taxpayers pay for health care is clearly being wasted and is largely not reaching those in need.
Ambulance- in large and small settlements? In small cities? In Pazardzhik?
Medical insurance and European insurance.
Unified medical system
Culture- Soviet Legacy
Post Soviet Culture
Nostalgia for Communism
The role of the State/Budget in funding everything, and fully cover Culture- the result- State regulated Culture - turning it into a serving political tool?
Politics and Populism - Positive Slogans and Pamphlets that destroying constructivism and objectivity. Turning the society not in modern democratic, but in new version of the Old Soviet totalitarism.
Loud slogans and Promises that in no way correspond to reality.
The double standards created by the politicization of our society.
What are the criteria for a political career? Feudal?
Freedom of Speech
91st Place - This year Bulgaria ranks 91 out of 180 places. In 2021 the country was in 112th place. However, the jump is not due to some sensational improvement, but mostly to a change in the methodology used to compile the rankings. The authors stress that this year’s ranking is unparalleled to previous ones. DW
Political commitment and service to political interests. Business, Politic and Media, no borders at all!
Hate and Racism- The Putin's Rhetoric
The Language of Hate, Racism, Anti- Semitism - Why Does Hate Speech Go Unpunished in Bulgaria?
In Politics - The Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has published its report on Bulgaria. It states that several ultra-nationalist/fascist political parties and groups are operating in the country, systematically inciting hatred against neighbouring peoples in the Balkans and making anti-Gypsy propaganda. ECRI is deeply concerned about the ease with which extremist parties receive official recognition and the possibility for them to receive state subsidies. In conclusion, ECRI strongly recommends that the Bulgarian authorities take swift action against all criminal activities, such as incitement to discrimination, hatred and violence. However, racist and intolerant hate speech in political discourse has been on the rise in Bulgaria in recent months. Politicians from the ruling coalition have systematically used hate speech, and even in December 2014, the Minister of Health, Petar Moskov, made a qualification against an entire ethnic group (the Roma), stating: ‘If someone has chosen to live and behave like a jerk, he also gets the right to be treated like one’.
What is happening to political communication in Bulgaria today?
Sexuality-what does it mean to be of a different sexuality in Bulgaria today, for example?
Why in Bulgaria is so common the Putin anti LGDP re-thoric?
Religion - Muslims have replaced Sectarians on the hate scale
Ethnicity - minorities, anti-Semitism, why we have so high stats in our society?
Dealing with crisis - we live in a time unparalleled in our modern history, although analogies are made to the Great Depression and World War II. So how our society and political and business elite deal with the challenges is crucial.
COVID - Bulgaria has the second highest death rate in the world from Covid-19. DW.29.11.21 -The question is can we deal with the resources we dealt with Chernobyl-just not talking about the problem.
The war in Ukraine-are we members of NATO and the EU-is it a decision that we will resume rhetoric from the time of the Flag of Peace Assembly?