Jean-Pierre Audy, President of the French delegation of the European People’s Party (EPP). Photo personal site
Interview with Jean-Pierre Audy – President of the French delegation of the European People’s Party, EPP, in the European Parliament. On January 15, 2014, during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Jean-Pierre Audy presented the case of Volen Siderov’s aggression against a French diplomat. Bivol approached the French politician for an interview.
Bivol: Mr. Audy, how do you assess the fact that Sofia did not respond officially to Volen Siderov’s aggression against a French diplomat?
Jean-Pierre Audy: This is the reason to intervene in the European Parliament. I am shocked that the Bulgarian government has not condemned the conduct of Mr. Siderov.
Bivol: What happened with your intervention in the EP?
JPA: First, I came out with a statement (on January 10 – editor’s note), but I noticed that the Bulgarian government fails to condemn this behavior and Mr. Stanishev also. I told myself that this is not normal and I used a very rare procedure: in coordination with EPP President Joseph Daul, I reiterated what was said in the statement (during the plenary session in Strasbourg on January 15 – editor’s note). In the first statement I forgot to say that I regret that Mr. Stanishev is the President of the Party of European Socialists, PES, and has initiated the nomination for the European Commission of Mr. Schultz. It is a pity and it is not normal that the Bulgarian government and the socialist leadership did not condemn this aggression.
B: You mean the European Socialists?
JPA: When I spoke to them, I looked at their faces, especially at the President of the Parliamentary Group of Austria (Hannes Swoboda). They chuckled while I was telling the story about Siderov. I raised the issue whether this will have consequences for the Bulgarian government; this is the problem.
B: Did you see the communiqué of the French Embassy in Sofia, which was originally quite harsh, but was later revised and toned down. Do you think the change is due to the fact that both in France and in Bulgaria the Socialists are in power?
JPA: No, I do not think so; soon after the shock of what happened, the Embassy has reacted a bit too emotionally and subsequently returned to the classic diplomatic tone. I have no information that there was some interference in this particular case, but why not ask the question to the Minister of European Affairs, who will be coming to Bulgaria?
B: We will. Do you keep track of the issue raised by your colleague from Germany about a potential conflict of interest of Mr. Stanishev?
JPA: Yes, about his wife. We discussed it and it will be examined in the Budget Committee. I have no detailed information yet.
B: Do you have information on the EC report on Bulgaria, due to be released soon?
JPA: No, I have no such information.
B: What do you think about the fact that the rule of the coalition between the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms rests on the quorum and the votes of the far-right Ataka?
JPA: Of course, we had a debate on this topic, Joseph Daul intervened as well. The problem is that the Socialists had to notify their constituents what coalition they intend to form before the election. If they had done it, they would have hardly gotten that many votes. Therefore, early elections are a way to clarify the situation. Making such tacit alliances behind the voter’s back is not very glorious for a democracy.
I want to reiterate that the lack of condemnation of Siderov is not acceptable for a leader of European Socialists, who has nominated a future commissioner, this is unheard of.