Monica Yosifova and Sergey Stanishev were married in Sofia on May 20, 2013. A few days before or after this date, 29 679.93 euros were transferred from the European Parliament to the bank accounts of the company “Active Group.” The money was a grant from the EP Directorate General Communication, under the project “How Do We Understand EP” and was the first tranche from a total of 59 359.86 euros to be used by Monica Yosifova’s company to promote the work of the European Parliament in Bulgaria. The contract stipulates that the tranche will be wired within 30 days after this contract is signed by both parties, and Monica Yosifova signed it on May 7, 2013. This became clear from documents requested by Bivol, based on EU Regulation 1049/2001.
Currently, under this project there is a site http://razberiep.eu/, based on the free software WordPress and a graphic template for 60 US dollars. There is also a Facebook page and a drawing competition for children has been already held.
The project, which is for a period of 15 months, must also include a Conference on European Values at the Sofia University. The project is to conclude just before the European elections, with a reenactment of the work of the European Parliament (“EP Live”).
The Directorate General Communication firmly rejected suspicions of conflict of interest arising from the fact that Monica Yosifova is the wife of the Bulgarian President of the Party of European Socialists (PES), Sergey Stanishev, and PES will also participate in the propagated European elections. An EP spokesperson explained that the project has received a very good rating from a committee composed of six “independent” experts, all working in the European Parliament, and Monica Yosifova does not receive a salary for this project.
Bivol has not yet received the requested annexes to the contract with the financial parameters of the project and the exact allocations: salaries for IT professionals, web hosting, and consumables, among others. The Directorate General Communication explained earlier that under Article 35 of the Financial Regulation of the European Parliament and Article 21 of the Rules of Application, “documents not made public before the request to have access to these documents was made, cannot be made public.”
This wording conflicts Regulation 1049/2001, which in turn entitles every EU citizen to have access to any document produced by the European institutions, while limitation of this right cannot be done on the basis of other regulations. Bivol resent again the request to obtain financial information about the project and, in case it is not provided, it will file a complaint with the European Ombudsman and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Discussion on European values in Sofia University on November 28 – canceled
The conference-discussion on the subject “European Values, the European Parliament and Us,” which is funded by the project, and which was announced for November 28, has been canceled, a check of the official page of the “How to We Understand EP” revealed. In a Google cache (November 5, 2013), however, the old version of the page is preserved with information the discussion is scheduled for this date. From this version, we learn that that the conference was to include as participants “6 prominent figures from the social and cultural public life to express their understanding of the role of EU values and EU citizenship of Bulgarians, etc.”
“Prior to the event, during its promotion in social media, active young people will be encouraged to submit short videos in which they share their ideas. Two students with video entries will be selected as participants in the conference,” further says the plan for the conference, preserved in the cache from November 5th.
The student occupation of Sofia University is the most probable reason for the canceled event and its endorsing on social networks. On the current page, it is written that “the date and place of the discussion will be announced later,” while the name of the discussion is slightly changed and now reads: “European Values, European Parliament and European Citizens.”
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