Consultations were held at the beginning of this week at the President with parliamentary represented parties and the executive power on financial matters in the country, on the backdrop of an atmosphere of informational chaos regarding Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) and complete lack of trust in institutions.
After the meeting, the President’s statement indicated his great desire to help in finding a solution for the current financial mess and reducing tensions. But no matter how optimistically he tried to present the current situation, it did not work out. The achieved full consensus among the participants that public confidence in the banking system is essential to financial stability; that in terms of KTB, its case is very different from other Bulgarian banks; that the actions of the institutions should be subject to justice and fairness and they should work for earning the trust of Bulgarian citizens… – all things that are already regulated by the country’s legislation. Should compliance with the law be discussed at such high level in order to reach “full consensus”? The staged crisis around KTB turned into absurd. The Central Bank (Bulgarian National Bank, BNB) showed that an official institution in charge of overseeing banks can actually compete in publishing the most contradictory and inadequate press releases per unit of time. The Prime Minister in resignation, financial expert, Plamen Oresharski, contributed “earnestly” to the financial mess with his “expert” proposal for new debt of 3.4 billion levs. Politicians emotionally advanced even further the absurd called KTB in all possible media, defending the need for a new law tailored to the “unique” bank.
At first, credit records were missing; then credit records were not missing; some 200 million were withdrawn, then it turned out they were not withdrawn… Yeah, but three women from KTB remain under arrest for several days now and the public does not know why, while KTB majority shareholder, Tsvetan Vasilev, is sipping Viennese coffee (he is currently in Vienna – editor’s note) and is calmly chatting with Bulgarian media, in awaiting to be nominated for the fifth time Bulgaria’s Top Banker.
I will skip the delight from the biggest news from the meeting with the President – that consensus has been reached to immediately launch Bulgaria’s entry in the Single Supervisory Mechanism for banks of the European Union. This is positive news, but I do not understand how it aligns with the immediate actions needed to overcome the crisis with KTB. Just to clarify that the Mechanism will not go into action until November 2014. The countries from the Eurozone will participate automatically, and the EU Member States, whose currency is not the euro, will be able to participate in the Single Supervisory Mechanism by “close cooperation” of their national competent authorities and the request should be made at least five months before the Mechanism enters into force.
Procedures for the above are set out in a decision of the European Central Bank (ECB), which has not yet been translated into Bulgarian. I wonder if any of the statesmen, present at the meeting with the President, knows anything about it. This does not apply to Iskrov (BNB”s Governor – editor’s note) who said the following at the opening of the new academic year in the University for National and World Economy (September 17, 2012): “The accession to the possible future banking union and the introduction of a common tax policy for all member states of the EU is in the interests of Bulgaria.” I have no information how has Ivan Iskrov reacted to the consensus on this topic at the meeting with the President, but the next morning a press release explained that the Central Bank has already made contact to start the procedures for Bulgaria joining the EU Single Supervisory Mechanism. Certain media have expressed doubt that this statement was true.
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Despite the enormous public interest in the crisis with KTB, audit reports and any other specific official information were never published. Everything that is discussed, commented on, proposed and rejected is based on alleged data. Facts show that when it comes to lots of money, the law remains in the background, and the state budget can be helpfully reshaped.
Instead of episodically entering into explanatory mode on the KTB topic, it is high time for the Prosecution to step in the position assigned to it by law and establish order. Otherwise, no one should be surprised by the reaction of citizens, united by the increasingly popular in social media hashtag #WeWillNotPay.
The article #НямаДаПлатим is reprinted from the blog “Блоговеста” with the authors consent
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