MR. PANAYOTOV WANTS TO BE A STRONG AND NOT FORCE DEPUTY PREMIER
The former head of the NMSII parliamentary group Plamen Panayotov appeared officially in front of journalists on July 30 in his capacity of a Vice Premier in charge of Eurointegration. He assumed the post on July 18. The Kaiser, as the NMSII deputies called him, has obviously decided to build a new image. Mr. Panayotov invited the newsmen in the Concil of Ministers' garden to a glass of wine in order to acquaint them with the priorities in his work. Efficient coordination of efforts of all ministries and State bodies for Bulgaria's successful integration into NATO and the European Union (EU) is the most important of them. Mr. Panayotov explained that Bulgaria's new targets were not only to undertake commitments in the proces of negotiations, but to begin applying the agreements in the country. The Vice Premier will be also in charge of the realization of the Government's communicational strategy, connected with Eurointegration. The main aim is to explain to the citizens the commitments which the country undertakes and what would follow from them. Practically, there is no ministry whose activities are not related in anyway with Bulgaria's integration into NATO and the EU. Therefore, the impression that Mr. Panayotov acquired huge power is justified. He tried to disperse suspicions that PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha has transferred his own rights and repsonsibilities onto him. By Constitution the PM is the one who defines the Government's policy and is responsible for it. My functions are to coordinate activities, Mr. Panayotov commented. He said the view that besides everything else he was also a force minister was not accurate. Mr. Panayotov prefers to be a strong Vice Premier in the functions, assigned to him, he specified. He will be working in the Council on Eurointegration, in the Council for Modernization of the State Administration (which he will chair), the Committee for Combating Anti-Social Deeds of Juvenile and Under Age Youngsters (which he will also chair), in the Interdepartmental Council for Integration in NATO, and in the Security Council with the PM.The new Deputy Premier announced some of the innovations, proposed by him. By an amendment to the Act on State Administration the state-run agencies will become executive agencies and each one of them will be directly subordinated to the respective field minister, Mr. Panayotov explained. According to him, the change is necessitated because many of these institutions' heads were following a policy, not in line with that of the Government. Increased citizens' control over the institutions is also among the new Vice PM's tasks. Mr. Panayotov promised to gather at one table not only the political leaderships of the force institutions, but also the professional managerial teams of all services, as well as representatives of the non-government sector, which are related to the problems. According to him, the most important thing is to have clear regulations for the activities and statute of all services. This could be done by one or several separate laws. Silvia Assenova is Mr. Panayotov's personal press attache. She will be also in the Vice Premier's political cabinet, which will be ready in September. Ms. Assenova has so far worked as a PR expert in Castrol and McDonald's. Mr. Panayotov shall not have any deputy ministers. In September he will present himself to the Ambassadors of EU countries in Bulgaria.