A spokesperson for the Directorate General Communication in the European Parliament responded to a request from Bivol to provide clarifications about financing the one-person company “Active Group” of Monica Yosifova – Stanisheva.
As Bivol wrote last week, the company, owned by the wife of the President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and Chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, Sergey Stanishev, is a beneficiary in a project, which is subsidized by the budget of the European Parliament. EP’s Directorate General Communication has given 70 000 euros for the project “How Do We Comprehend EP” to Yosifova’s company.
The official response of the European Parliament states that Monica’s project “complied with all the selection criteria” and was assessed by an “independent evaluation committee, composed of 6 members of different European Parliament services.” The project has been rated as one of the best proposals. It is not clear how the independent evaluation was achieved when all members of the committee are working in the European Parliament.
“The cost for the project consisted partly of payments for staff– mainly IT personnel – with monthly salary cost of between 500 and 1,000 euro,” the answer states. “Ms. Monika Yosifova does not receive a salary from this project,” the Directorate General Communication,” further specifies.
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Without directly responding to the question whether they saw a conflict of interest, the Directorate General Communication insists that “there were absolutely no legal grounds on which to reject the request for a subsidy.”
Bivol sent again a question, asking whether the European Parliament does not see (at least a moral) conflict of interest in the fact that the owner of the private company “Active Group” is also the wife of the PES leader and will obviously benefit from the project, even if she does not receive a salary.
Along with this, we also requested documentation from the project with specific data on wages and quantitative evaluation of the work of the IT professionals, who have so far created a not very complicated website and a page on Facebook, liked by 1 548 people.
As technical implementation, Yosifova’s project is very similar to the project for which the former PR of the Food Safety Agency Hristina Spasova received from the Ministry of Agriculture 50 000 levs. This scandal became known as “The Little PR,” and was widely publicized in the media.
The subject of direct financing of “The Big PR” Monica Yosifova by the European Parliament has been so far ignored by Bulgarian media, including those that were the most active in fanning the scandal with “The Little PR.”
Full text of the response of Directorate General Communication to the editor of Bivol:
Dear Mr Tchobanov,
The project in question was deemed eligible for subsidizing on the basis of the opinion of an independent evaluation committee, composed of 6 members of different European Parliament services. The project complied with all the selection criteria and was, in fact, rated as one of the best proposals. The cost for the project consisted partly of payments for staff– mainly IT personnel – with monthly salary cost (salary before taxes plus social benefit contributions) of between 500 and 1,000 euro. Ms. Monika Yosifova does not receive a salary from this project. The other cost are for consumables and some subcontracting. There were absolutely no legal grounds on which to reject the request for a subsidy.
Moreover, the implementation of the project is monitored by the European Parliament information office in Sofia, in close consultation with the central EP administration in Brussels.
Marjory van den Broeke
Directorate General for Communication
Head of the Press Unit
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