For many years, irresponsible politicians covered up the corruption, abuse of power, electoral fraud, shady deals behind the closed doors and the systematic erosion of possibilities for citizens to control those in power. The cover up had many different forms but one of the key forms was the instigation of scandals and increase in interethnic tensions between ethnic Bulgarians and Roma. The examples of attacks on Roma in Gabrovo, Asenovgrad, Montana, Voivodinovo, Stara Zagora and others were a cover up to distract the public attention to these problems that Bulgaria suffers from.
The Roma always wanted to share the burden of responsibility to improve the interethnic relations and the situation in which Roma live in Bulgaria, but our voices have been not heard because we are excluded from policy administrative structures at local, regional and national level that make policies for us without us, political parties that manipulate and abuse Roma voters, public space and media that are overloaded by hate speech.
After more than 65 days of the protests, it is clear the citizens are not heard, no concrete solutions were offered, and there was a growing sense that the political crisis is intensifying and deescalates tensions in the society.
As citizens of Bulgaria, we urge all parties to focus our attention to:
- A clear crisis plan related to over coming the consequences of Covid-19.
- Bulgarian budget for next year and plan how to use the EU funds for the next financial period
- Strengthening the mechanisms for anti-corruption with higher public scrutiny and citizen control
- Ensuring free and fair elections next year
As Roma Standing Conference we are ready to take our share of responsibility in these political decisions. This is important for better Bulgaria and stronger Europe.