Speech delivered by Speaker of Parliament Georgi Pirinski at the official closing of the 40th National Assembly
25 June 2009
Esteemed Mr. President,
Esteemed Mr. Prime Minister,
Colleagues, Members of Parliament,
Esteemed Cabinet Members,
Your High Reverend,
Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,
Although our sitting today is solemn, we must take the challenge to draw a sober and objective recapitulation on the role of the 40th National Assembly in our country’s political life. It is something that the public and every citizen expect from us.
What is the particular feature of the present parliament and what distinguishes its accomplishments? In the last weeks and days different answers and evaluations were heard in response to this question, all based on their specific point of view.
It is customary for a parliament to render an account for its work by citing the figure of the adopted laws, the intensity and the scope of the parliamentary control it has performed, the level and intensity of the international contacts held. These figures are giving the 40th National Assembly a leading place in the contemporary parliamentary history of the country. With the 718 bills adopted, the two amendments to the Constitution and the six codes in fundamental law areas, the outgoing legislature proves to have carried out a particularly high volume of work.
If our society could not become aware about the essence of the contributions of the 40th National Assembly’s work it will be deprived of the clear understanding and key importance of the adopted legal norms, which touch directly upon the life and interests of every citizen, every business, every community and the whole country. To remain blind to the legal norms aiming to provide the rule of law may only result in the wide opening of the doors for lawlessness, arbitrariness and finally for the erosion of our state.
At the same time we should make note of the comments that were expressed regarding the very essence of the parliamentary process experienced by us in the 40th NA– the difficult way we went through to form the parliamentary majority in the first days and weeks after the opening, the cabinet nomination, the transformations that occurred in the status of the parliamentary groups and members throughout the years. We have not been able to solve in a satisfactory way the recurrent issue regarding the quorum and the way of voting – something we should not overlook and ignore.
The true account of the accomplishments of the 40th National Assembly can not be diminished to the simple numbers regarding the volume and the complexity of the laws that were passed and to the questions raised and discussed in parliament, nor could it be simply explained with the ongoing political situation and parliamentary procedures. I am convinced that the way to strike the real balance lays in the question that can be asked, i.e. what are the contributions of the current parliament to the future of Bulgaria, what are its achievements not only from the present day perspective but mostly for the future of our citizens and society.
In this light, first comes our work for the accession and full membership of Bulgaria to the EU. Let us once more underscore the paramount contribution of the 40th NA to the fulfillment of the national cause of the country - to obtain a full fledged EU membership, so that its citizens could enjoy the high standards of freedom, dignity and democratic rule of law provided by the latter.
This cause remained something uniting around all political subjects and forces in parliament during the last twenty years of changes and hardships. A cause bestowed on us by the leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival, the founders of contemporary Bulgaria, whose memory we recently honored on the occasion of the 130th anniversary of the Constituent Assembly and the Constitution of Tarnovo.
The European standards though require from us - to not only state our indisputable successes, but also to observe the problem areas of our activities.
What do I mean – the problems with the transposition of the European norms into our legislation, the interaction between us and the Executive s far as our participation in the bodies of the EU and the European Union funds acquisition are concerned. We have to rethink the independent role of the national parliaments in the decision making process of the Union, namely what should be subject to its regulations and what should remain within the scope of the national legislatures.
At the core of problems remain those connected to the very functioning of our political model, to its ability to provide our citizens with the expected and required by them European quality of life – material, spiritual, political. It is obviously not the right place and time to initiate this discussion, so needed and of vital importance for our society.
But it is imperative to stress and share the understanding that the starting point to solve the problems should always be the Constitution of our parliamentary republic, with its rules regarding the direct or through the state bodies expression of the sovereign’s (the people’s) will, its rules defining the political parties’ responsibility in the formulation and proclamation of the political will of the public, rules defining the place of the associations for the defense of citizen’s particular interests, with its rules stipulating the way in which the country should be governed.
This is an area remaining open for further work and development in the next 41st parliament. There were a number of forecasts at the beginning of the present NA, predicting that it won’t be able to carry out a full mandate and pointing to the unstable nature of the ruling majority, based on coalition. On several occasions we witnessed the attempts at instigation of a parliamentary crisis in order to lock the work of the National Assembly at its final stages. The practice disproved the predictions and nullified the attempts against the parliament.
There is no lack of predictions regarding the short horizons of the next assembly as well– only time will confirm or refute such assertions. But while looking ahead let us point out and highlight the fact that the 40th National Assembly is the third, in the period after 1989, which completed successfully its 4- year term.
In this way the latter provided the essential political prerequisite for the country’s stability and made possible the growth of the economy and the investments, the extremely high rates of employment and the opening of hundred of thousands new jobs and provided for a normal way of life in the society, despite the incidents of very sharp protests and strong discontent, which we deem natural for a democratic society.
For this reason let us not foretell the future parliament’s features but let us wish to it to be successful in the counteraction of the crisis and to be able to carry out with dignity its mission at the service of Bulgaria.
I would like to use this opportunity, esteemed colleagues to express my gratitude to all of you – from all parliamentary groups, for the best efforts of everyone to make true the objective of the outgoing National Assembly. The one, drawn as number one in the Declaration adopted by us at the very beginning of our mandate – namely the membership in the European Union. The today’s rereading of all the points of the declaration shows that partly we have achieved our job, our commitment. Not everything though. It is obvious that part of the failure is due to our own weaknesses.
I would also like to thank the members of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister for their efforts to be accountable to the parliament at their best, in the way this accountability is stipulated for by the Constitution and the laws of the country.
Let wish us to live up to the responsibilities entrusted to us by our society in this particularly complicated, full of challenges pre-election period and let wish us, after 5th of July, to remain attached to the common interests of our society, state and fellow citizens and let wish us successful work in the name of Bulgaria.
I would not like to miss this opportunity to thank all the employees and staff of the National Assembly, all those who worked with mind and hearth to make this truly, extremely large legislative work materialize and thus ensure the continuity, so necessary to the future parliament.