Scandals have shaken our society in recent months. For a month now, citizens have been fighting for justice, the rule of law, the separation of powers, and true democracy. Citizens are pushing for the removal of political and economic dependencies so that we can all work together to overcome the effects of the pandemic.
Today we have witnessed our well-known attitude towards our Roma community – yet another forced eviction. At the same time, we have also witnessed a lightning reaction and mobilization by the authorities to cover up and immediately resolve the cases of illegal construction concerning political elites in the country. There is no such reaction and mobilization to adequately deal with a problem today in Stara Zagora. There is also no desire to solve a problem in our country’s housing policy, which we and dozens of organizations have alerted over the past few years. Today in Stara Zagora, 97 Roma families will be homeless.
This practice of forced evictions towards the Roma community has been used and continues to be used for crisis PR in major corruption or political scandals at the national level. Today’s case proves it again.
We categorically do not accept evictions as the only form and measure to deal with illegal construction. A state housing strategy and policies that are adequate and flexible enough for different cases are needed.
At the moment we have a good opportunity – the European Community will support Bulgaria to overcome the consequences of the pandemic with over EUR 29 billion. Both post-crisis measures and the next programming period are planned.
Here it should be noted that the problem is not in the lack of funds but in the lack of results, which in many cases is due to not good planning, corrupt practices, and a pro forma advisory process.
At this historic moment for Europe, political elites cannot justify that we lack funds, that there are no opportunities. We argue that there is scope for resolving the housing problem, a new political agenda is needed, in which the interests of citizens come first. We need measures and policies with clearly defined results, addressed to citizens, which do not feed political corruption in the country or Europe.
More than ever, consolidated efforts are needed to address the consequences of the pandemic in the sectors of the economy, education, security, housing, without justifying that there is a lack of funds.
The EU leadership at one of the last meetings organized by the PRK and our network of partners in 12 countries, Mr. Sasoli (President of the European Parliament), Clara Dobrev (Vice-President of the European Parliament), Vera Jourová (Vice-President of the European Commission), Helena Dalli (European Commissioner for Equality) and European MEPs demonstrated their readiness for a new approach to Roma community issues, firmly stating that Europe’s development is closely linked to the development of the Roma community in Europe.
It is time for the Bulgarian political elites to realize that without the development of the Roma community, without adequate policies for and with the Roma community, we cannot talk about developing and overcoming the consequences of the current crisis.