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 Bulgaria 2010/11 What can we look forward to

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willowsend
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PostSubject: Bulgaria 2010/11 What can we look forward to   Fri Dec 24, 2010 12:25 am

2010: The more things change…
Thu, Dec 23 2010 08:59 CET byClive Leviev-Sawyer, Editor-in-Chief 241 Views The record may show that the end of 2010 found Bulgaria better than may have been expected as the year dawned, almost 12 months ago.

The country was acknowledged, in official European Commission reports, to have made progress against organised crime and corruption.

Yet those much-publicised arrests continued to fail to turn into convictions. Worse, even those against whom an apparently watertight prima facie case appeared to exist, walked free.
Bulgaria dumped a foreign minister who may gently be described as having been a national embarrassment, and apart from naming a somewhat more dynamic and qualified figure as her successor, added to the Cabinet a minister to take charge of the handling of EU funds. Yet, all too often, the country seemed to behave – and in some cases, be treated as – still a candidate state, rather than assert the status to which it is entitled.

Bulgaria, belatedly, began to demolish illegal structures, a welcome enforcement of statutes and regulations. Yet the focus seemed mostly to be on small-scale, private individuals;
the majority of monstrous carbuncles at the seaside and in the mountains remained in place, and the pressing question was why, and whether this would remain the case in 2011 and beyond.

Protests and press reports made it clear that all was not well in the health, educational and culture sectors, yet in the absence of courageous and visionary reforms, all that happened was the wielding of blunt-instrument budget cuts. It hardly seemed to bode well for the body politic intellectual, spiritual and temporal, and the prospect of long-term salvation seemed elusive.

Bulgaria, through the repatriation of its nationals of a specific ethnic minority from other EU states, again was confronted with the fact that genuine and systematic efforts at inclusion had been neglected on all sides for years;
further, it was clear that this was an issue requiring mature attention at European level;
but by the end of the year, all that echoed was various tones of rhetoric, noble and ignoble.

The country, thankfully, did not plummet into uncontrollable deficit or other problems crippling for the business environment. Yet that business environment took few steps forward into the forms of flexibility and attractiveness that could make a decisive difference in foreign investment decisions. Worse, there were vacillations about economic policy that ran counter to the very predictability that investors might seek. Perhaps the best that might said about the business environment is that the very crisis that has hit Bulgaria so hard may have taught the country’s entrepreneurs some valuable lessons about the realities of the world of business and the need for innovative and inspired solutions – the latter, unfortunately, an area in which Bulgaria has scant experience and scant human resources qualified to cope.

The return to winter recalls the gas crisis that held Bulgaria in its icy grip at the beginning of 2009. Yet, for all the words spoken, the worthy seminars held and the talks at international level, the country seemed no closer to the beginnings of a much-needed energy diversity than it had at the beginning of the year.

One advantage for Bulgaria was that it ended the year with the same assurances of political stability with which it began it. The current Government is not without its flaws, as enumerated above, but the opposition parties – especially those languishing from the most immediate governments past – are so profoundly lacking in credibility, inspiration and imagination as to pose no serious prospect of persuading the public that they are a serious alternative.

Perhaps most of all, the most recent exposure by the Dossier Commission of the continued infestation in positions of influence of former communist secret service collaborators is an indication of the need for a renewal of the country, of the need for a new generation with the courage and determination to shape a new Bulgaria.

As the dawn of 2011 approaches, it would be no small thing if a determination to effect genuine change overcomes the shackles of disillusionment and defeatism and that cursed shrug: [size=150:3ux16tfz]"
This is Bulgaria. What can you expect?"
:Thank you:and MERRY CHRISTMAS :Xmas4: to all our friends and foes, especially those who have supported us over the last three years, you have been fantastic :Fantastic:T ::
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