Kuneva deplores mutual distrust

Meglena Kuneva has claimed Bulgarians lack mutual trust.

The former European Commissioner for Consumer Protection – who runs for Bulgarian president next month – told Austrian newspaper Die Presse today (Mon) it was “impossible” to discuss the domestic economy’s development because of the various “lobbies” in the federal parliament. Kuneva also criticised the state of the Bulgarian education system and its health sector. “Our biggest problem is the people’s lack of mutual trust,” she added.

Asked what the country’s president had to do, she explained: “The president’s most important task is to guarantee the unity of the nation. The president has to negotiate between employees and employers, producers and consumers, weak and strong regions and between the generations.”

Bulgaria joined the European Union (EU) in 2004. Critics have claimed few things had improved in the country ever since, especially as far as corruption and crime was considered. These concerns are expected to mean further delays to Bulgaria’s bid to introduce the Euro and its possible membership of the European free travel zone, Schengen.

Kuneva said: “Bulgaria will introduce the Euro and it will become a member of Schengen – but I cannot say when. Especially in the current Euro crisis, Bulgaria should make suggestions on how to strengthen the currency.”

Kuneva is being given good chances to win the presidential election on 23 October. She said she agreed with criticism that her country did too little about campaigning for a possible Schengen membership at meetings of EU leaders. “We are too busy with interior political bickering. I think this is childish,” she told Die Presse.

Asked whether her country is ready for a female president, the ex-deputy minister of foreign affairs said: “This has to be seen. (…) I have shown that I can fight.”