Green lies have been flooding Bulgaria for two months. The untruths are flowing from the TV screens, the radio, the Internet news agencies, and, most of all, flooding the social networks. This fake campaign, as always when it comes to nature, has been initiated by the people who stand behind the handful of organizations within the Let Nature Remain in Bulgaria Coalition. This association is, in fact, one and the same thing as the Political Party of the Greens.
At the early parliamentary elections in March, the formation in question formed a coalition with “Yes, Bulgaria” and the Movement for European Integration and Solidarity. This coalition has achieved the “impressive” result of 2.96% of the vote, although its representatives were confident that their seats in the National Assembly had already been reserved since before the elections.
Once again, outside the National Assembly, the Greens continued with their standard activity - environmental racketeering. In other words, suspension of investment projects of any class and type. The pseudo-environmentalists act across a wide front. They block investments in tourism (Bansko, Vitosha), delay the construction of Lot 3.2 of the Struma Motorway for years (the route through the Kresna Gorge), suspend projects in the area of mineral resources and so on. Added to this, there are always the protests, as are going on now for the Pirin Mountain.
The truth is that there has only ever been a political goal, disguised as an environmental cause behind all those “green” protests. But this time the political greediness of the pseudo-environmentalists has gone even further and their deceptions are now their most serious attempt to denigrate Bulgaria before the European institutions and partners. The negatives for Bulgaria have already started to happen. On January 17, during the presentation of the priorities of our country during our Presidency of the EU Council, the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov was attacked by Ska Keller, the co-chairman of the European Greens, on the issue about the Pirin Mountain.
Keller reiterated exactly the same lies as her Bulgarian partners from the Political Party of the Greens. She stated that after the partial amendment to the existing Management Plan of the Pirin National Park, adopted by the Government on December 28, 150 square kilometres of centuries-old forests in the National Park would be cut down.
“He forgot to mention (Borisov – author’s notes) that the new Management Plan means the cutting down of centuries-old forests in the park, of an area reaching 150 square kilometres”, said the member of the European Parliament, in an interview for the website of Dnevnik, serving the Greens and helping to spread their lies. Also, in front of the site, she explains that there is an opportunity for “expansion of the ski zones”, that is to say more large scale construction.
There are two misstatements in this single speech of Ska Keller, that she accepted on trust from the group of Toma Belev. The manipulation about construction on 48% of the Pirin National Park – in the interview, Keller says “a new Management Plan” - obviously she is unaware that this is a partial amendment to the existing plan. The new one can not come into force due to the actions of the “environmentalists” in Bulgaria, who have resorted to any procedural device in order to completely hinder the adoption of the document up to now. The second lie attributed to the MEP by her partners in Bulgaria, is that the amendment of the plan “means the cutting down of centuries-old forests in this park, of an area reaching 150 square kilometres” and “an expansion of the ski zones” thus allowing for construction there.
The area of the Pirin National Park is 403 square kilometres, which according to Keller and the Bulgarian Greens, means that cutting and construction is to be allowed in nearly half of the park. As Neno Dimov, the Minister of Environment and Water, has said several times, there is hardly a person who believes that this will happen, because it is about a territory the size of Varna and Plovdiv together. Apart from this, it is a national park and the Bulgarian legislation is one of the most stringent in terms of regulations concerning the human activities allowed. What is in fact this manipulation concerning the construction and cutting in half (48%) of the Pirin National Park?
By its decision dated 28 December, the Government edited a text of the “Rules, procedures, provisions and recommendations on the implementation of activities”. The head of the Vitosha Natural Park at that time, Toma Belev, who is currently one of the protest leaders, was responsible for this paragraph.
Item 1 of the “Rules and Procedures” said that “the construction of new or the extension of the existing ski slopes and facilities” was forbidden. On 28 December, the ministers approved the amendment and this item now prohibits “the construction of new or the expansion of existing ski slopes and facilities except for those permitted in the relevant areas”.
This means that Bansko ski zone which is 2.2% of the park and Dobrinishte ski zone which is 0.6%, making 2.8% of the park, will have the opportunity to be modernized. The ban remains for the remaining 97.2% of the Pirin National Park. So, investment intentions could be realized forjust 2.8% of the park, which in this case allows the construction of a second cabin line over Bansko, needed for the development of winter tourism in the region. The other lie of the Greens is that such a change should not have been made in the amendment of the plan. They insist on writing only the words “second cabin lift”. However, this is a specific investment intention which cannot be legally available in a Management Plan. If the second cableway above Bansko is entered, it will immediately be appealed by the Greens themselves. The wording will be abjured in court because it violates the legislation.
Where does the remaining 45% come from and the false conclusion that 48% of Pirin will be cut down and built upon? On 28 December, the Government approved an amendment of Item 14, which refers to Zone II A of the Pirin National Park, occupying 45% of its territory and designated to protection of the forest ecosystems and recreation. Item 14 specifies the type of human activity allowed in Zone II A, and the amendment includes making “water intakes”. Because of these water intakes, which are intended for drinking-water purposes only, as per the existing legislation, a change has been made on Table 32 as well. According to this, the construction, repair works and reconstruction in Zone II A could be potentially realized. The Greens are responding by lying and saying that, in 45% of the Pirin National Park (Zone II A,) the construction has already been allowed and thus by adding 2.8% of Bansko and Dobrinishte ski zones, they arrived at the figure of almost 48%. They are not, however, admitting to the fact that the table is related to Item 14, whereby just water intakes are permitted and these will only be permitted if they are intended for drinking-water purposes.
This has obviously not been explained to Ska Keller and it just shows how the pseudo-environmentalists are already manipulating the European Parliament representatives. The MEP, Karin Kadenbach, of the Progressive Alliance of the Socialists and Democrats, who it seems has also been manipulated, tried to protest to Neno Dimov, the Minister of Environment and Water, last week, saying that half of the Pirin Mountain will be built upon after the changes in the Management Plan. In his reply, Dimov quoted the EU Environment Commissioner, Carmenu Vela, who has already stated that there are no violations of the European laws on Pirin Mountain.
With political greediness disguised as “Saving Pirin”,the protest leaders insist that they have nothing to do with politics. The truth is quite different and huge political greediness can be seen behind this. Andrey Kovachev, one of the leaders of the Greens explained on TV that the three parties, “Yes, Bulgaria”, the Movement for European Integration and Solidarity and the Political Party of the Greens, have no connection with the protests. Even before adopting the decision on the partial amendment, Hristo Ivanov, the leader of “Yes, Bulgaria”, has been working alongside Kovachev and Belev. Along with another 20 people, they tried to put pressure on the Government, organizing protests on the days before the amendments were approved.
What the data says:
At the early parliamentary elections on March 26, Toma Belev, Andrey Kovachev, Petko Tsvetkov, Borislav Sandov, Petar Kardzhilov, Andrey Ralev, Aleksandar Dunchev, who are only environmentalists and participants in the processions now, were on the lists of “Yes, Bulgaria”- the coalition of three parties mentioned at the beginning of this text. These people are still unsuccessful MPs who attained a ridiculous number of votes. At the last protest, where Borislav Sandov gave a political speech, some people began to feel that they’ve been misled.
He boasted then, that the Political Party of the Greens had brought the case to the European Parliament and the members there had realized that the government were destroying the Pirin Mountain. Thus, in practice, he admitted that the formation played a crucial role in organizing the false campaign. After Sandov’s speech there were some comments in the social media, from people protesting in Sofia on “Saving” Pirin. According to them, this person is more like a professional politician than a citizen worried about the mountain.
The appearance of protesters such as Asen Genov and Manol Glishev also began to avert those who really thought that the protests were to do with Pirin. The aggression shows the desperation of the Greens who no longer have a viable move in their favour because their lies have started to emerge. The Government has seen through the scam and apparently does not intend to give up on the development of winter tourism as previous Governments did under the pressure of the Green Deceivers.
The Government have also received the support of the employers’ organizations, that declared in a statement, that the green racketeering will stop the development of the economy for years. Borisov and his ministers have got the approval of all mayors from the district of Blagoevgrad, a region which subsists mainly on winter tourism. On January 11th, thousands of people from the mountain municipalities went on a march in Sofia to say “Yes” to the change and to support the Council of Ministers. This shocked the Greens and they rely mainly on their defamatory campaign against Bulgaria, relying on the fact that while presiding the EU Council, it is vulnerable to bad PR. Unfortunately for the environmentalists who revealed themselves as politicians, this will not stand. The facts have shown that they just represent a small group of people craving for power at any cost.