Bulgaria’s new Agriculture Minister, Dessislava Taneva, has stated a commitment to solving the many problems the country’s farmers face, saying that she would do so on the basis of dialogue.
Taneva’s appointment to the portfolio was approved by the National Assembly on May 15, with 121 votes in favour and five against, the latter from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.
She succeeds Roumen Porozhanov, whose resignation was accepted on May 14 by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov. Porozhanov stepped down in connection with an investigation into the State Fund Agriculture, which he previously headed.
Taneva, who was Agriculture Minister from 2014 to 2017 in the second Borissov government, said of the sector: “There are many problems and we have to deal with them”.
She said that she was well-acquainted with the issues because of her previous term in office and knew the sector organisations.
Taneva also pledged to ensure that Ivanka Bagdatova-Mizova, deputy head of the State Fund Agriculture, was dismissed. Bagdatova-Mizova’s departure was announced weeks ago, after it emerged that her phone number had been placed in an advert for an EU-funded guest house, but it has become clear that she has not left. Reportedly, Borissov berated Porozhanov about this when they held the meeting that resulted in Porozhanov’s resignation.
Speaking in the National Assembly in tabling the nomination of Taneva, Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev said that over the years, she had “established herself as an expert in agriculture”.
Referring to the succession of controversies about real estate transactions involving politicians that has dominated Bulgarian politics for several weeks, Taneva said that she would not be surprised if her name was implicated.
She said that she had declared everything she was required to. “We are at the peak of the (European Parliament) election campaign. I expect absolutely everything.”
In the current National Assembly, Taneva headed the committee on agriculture before her appointment to the Cabinet. A successor as head of the committee has not yet been named.