Finance Minister’s ‘mistake’ is not explaining borrowing plan opened way for demagoguery – Reformist Bloc MP

Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov made a mistake by not holding a news conference or meeting all parliamentary groups to explain the need for the Bulgarian government’s eight billion euro foreign borrowing plan, Reformist Bloc MP Martin Dimitrov said on February 23.

The Reformist Bloc, a minority partner in Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s centre-right cabinet, backs the plan. Voting in Parliament on agreements related to the borrowing plan was postponed because it was clear that there was insufficient support among parliamentary groups – including two that have an agreement to support the government – to get the package ratified.

Dimitrov said that the borrowing did not mean a debt spiral, “but a way out of the situation that we are in”.

Speaking in a television interview, Dimitrov said that he did not understand the reaction of the opposition, which was claiming that the loan meant borrowing would increase to 60 per cent of GDP.

“Where there is no information, there is demagoguery,” Dimitrov.

“Much of this future loan is refinancing of old loans, some of which are from the time of Todor Zhivkov,” he said, referring to Bulgaria’s long-time communist dictator whose rule ended in November 1989.

“It was a mistake by the finance minister to not come out at the beginning and explain to a large news conference, to respond to all media inquiries, so that all of them understand why this new loan is needed,” Dimitrov said.

He said that Goranov should have held a meeting with all parliamentary groups before the discussion on the foreign borrowing plan was tabled in the National Assembly.

Dimitrov cited the example of Valeri Simeonov, co-leader of the nationalist Patriotic Front, a minority coalition supporting the Borissov government, who had not been inclined to support the borrowing plan because he and his parliamentary group had not been briefed on it.

After the postponement of the parliamentary vote, Goranov and Simeonov have held meetings. Reports have said that the ratification vote may be held in Parliament on February 25.



The Sofia Globe staff

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