The site http://razberiep.eu/, created under the project “How Do We Understand EP,” by the company of Monica Yosifova was made with the free software WordPress, while its graphics and vision are worth 60 US dollars. Furthermore, a simple online test shows that the 3.5.1 version of WordPress is out of date and has bugs and vulnerabilities.
This site is part of a project funded by the Directorate General Communication of the European Parliament to promote the upcoming European elections. Other portions of this project include a conference in Sofia University and a drawing competition for children. The project will conclude just before the European elections, when a reenactment of the work of the European Parliament, (“EP Live”) will be held.
The cost of all this EU-suitable propaganda is 118 720 euros. EP funded 50% of the amount with a grant and the other half is provided by the contractor in the project “Active Group” Ltd., a company solely owned by Monica Yosifova.
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 asked to see the financial parameters of the project with the exact allocations: salaries for IT professionals, web hosting, and consumables, among others. However, it emerged that this information was classified by the Directorate General Communication, which invoked Article 35 of the Financial Regulation of the European Parliament and Article 21 of the Rules of Application according to which “on the basis of article 133 of the Financial Regulation and article 191 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 strange wording conflicts with 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 the request to obtain financial information about the project and is preparing a complaint to the European Ombudsman and the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
European Grants also “Feed” Bulgarian Organized Crime
A check of grants, distributed under the same program by the Directorate General Communication over the past years, shows that the largest beneficiary in Bulgaria was “Bulgaria on Air” TV, which belongs to Varna-based group TIM. “Bulgaria on Air” has received almost 150 000 euros in 2012 for a communication campaign to provoke public interest in the decision-making process of European institutions.
In 2005, US Ambassador to Bulgaria, James Pardew, wrote in a secret diplomatic cable that TIM was the “up-and-coming star of Bulgarian organized crime” and “one of the largest and most serious economic concerns in Bulgaria.” “TIM is involved in a wide range of criminal activities, including extortion and racketeering, intimidation, prostitution, gambling, narcotics trafficking, car theft, and trafficking in stolen automobiles,” wrote Pardew.
At the same time, when TIM’s TV was absorbing European taxpayers’ money, the so-called “Anti-Mafia” Committee was working in the European Parliament and produced a report with recommendations to combat organized crime.
On the basis of this report, a plan to fight mafia for the period 2014-2019 was prepared, which lists attacking financial resources of organized crime as a top priority.
This post is also available in: Bulgarian