July: US vacuum cleaners suck up Bulgaria's money

The Bulgarian president, Rumen Radev, is a Soviet MiG-29 pilot. Source: Facebook public page

The F-16 topic was hot enough to be covered throughout July by Bulgarian media and debated a lot by politicians and experts.

The military expert and former Defense Minister Todor Tagarev said in an interview for BNR that years will pass until pilots could fly the American jets that were about to be purchased after the US Congress agreed on the transaction.

Tagarev also gave a interview to nova.bg, expressing the same opinion. However, he added that the US has offered many presents to Bulgaria and now the time has come, in exchange, to pay the price for the F-16 aircrafts.

The Bulgarian president Rumen Radev kept on not backing the deal and made no secret out of it. Radev, however, nuanced his position compared to the previous month. In July, for instance, he claimed the deal is not financially bad as long as the Government’s decision to give the Defense Minister a mandate to sign a contract worth 1,256 billion USD would cover all expenses: eight aircrafts and the necessary equipment for tasks to effectively being carried out.

The leader of the ABC party, Rumen Petkov, who is a former member of the biggest opposition party, BSP, said that the F-16 deal is only a political corruption incentive at the highest Bulgarian level given by the US. Petkov added that Bulgaria’s not going to buy jet fighters but the most expensive vacuum cleaners.

The chief secretary to the Bulgarian president Rumen Radev, Dimitar Stoyanov, gave an interview for BTV only to criticize the deal arguing that the purchase is too expensive for the country and the aircraft means are rather modest.

He repeated the exact same words in another interview for BNR and said that there is no full combat kit included in the F-16 deal.

 

The leader of the nationalist party “Ataka”, Volen Siderov, thinks that the money for aircrafts could be given for something entirely different, for example for pensions for the retired people in Bulgaria. “Ataka” and the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria voted against the F-16 deal in the parliament.

The leader of the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria, Valeri Simeonov, claimed that the decision to purchase the jet fighters was made under US pressure and the sum to be paid is brutal as long as the amount is big enough to purchase twice as much from the EU.

Some members of the biggest opposition party are also unsatisfied with the deal. The leader of BSP, Korneliya Ninova, simply stated that the party do not see the deal as good one for the country.

The leader of the nationalist party “Volya”, Veselin Mareshki, is also against the transaction. In order to express that, Mareshki sent a letter to the American president and transmitted to Donald Trump that the deal burried Bulgaria.

Eventually, the Bulgarian president, Rumen Radev, vetoed the deal already approved by the parliamentary majority arguing that the country would face debts for years and this is extremely worrying.

“Shameful bargaining” at the top of the EU

The process that ended up with Ursula von der Leyen being nominated and appointed as chief of the European Commission was a very bumpy road. Major disagreements marked the negotiations carried out by the EU leaders and Bulgarian media covered the events.

The fact that, on July 1st, 19 hours of negotiations led to no consensus was reported by nova.bg.

The French president, Emanuel Macron, had harsh words for the failure of negotiation round and added that this disagreement cast negative light on the EU.

Bulgarian media have re-published analyses taken from European media outlets which also focused on the unsatisfactory results of the negotiations meeting in Brussels.

The British Financial Times has come up with a comment according to which the leadership crisis following the EU summit has hit the EU’s authority.

One of the consequences of the EU negotiations mess was the turning of the backs that English and Polish MEPs performed when the EU anthem was played in the European Parliament main hall in Brussels.

The next day media reports shown no progress, negotiations seemed stuck.

Many Bulgarian politicians and experts have also commented on the crisis in the EU.

The Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazkihas said that the blind alley the EU was up was the result of shameful, political bargaining.

A journalist for the newspaper “Sega”, Stanislav Terziev, said to BNR that, according to him, the sense of democracy was questioned by the negotiation process.

The EU – UK tensions got heated in July. Which was no surprise, given that the newly appointed prime minister is none other than Boris Johnson and Brexit seems to finally be happening in October.

The UK Minister of the Foreign Affairs, Jeremy Hunt, complained that fake news in Eastern Europe is something to be taken care of and added that the UK “invests” 18 million pounds in prevention.

A political expert, Hristo Panchugov, has also analysed the situation in the EU and thinks that, at the moment, there is a huge split between the East and the West of the EU.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung journalist Stefan Kornelius has said in an interview for BNR that democratic decisions in the EU are hardly made and this is to be seen with the Brexit deal. He thinks that the EU won’t survive much longer without reforms being done.

In July, the authors of this study examined 23 Bulgarian media outlets, the most relevant in terms of readership.

Most of the articles (32) were provided by bnr.bg.

Fakti.bg is ranked second (30 articles).

On the third place – 24chasa.bg (22 articles).

109 of the collected articles could be classified as “neutral”. 53 of those are news, the other 54 – analyses.

65 articles are labeled “biased” (27 of them are news, 38 are analyses).

 

* The authors of this analysis/study divided the media articles into two categories (news and analysis), each classified as biased or neutral. A geographical criterion was also used to link the media articles to the EU and the US. According to this study, a piece of news is nothing more but a short article covering a fact or a statement whereas an “analysis” may be a column, an investigative piece or any other type of article that is based on several facts and statements that are premises for the conclusion that the author of the article wishes to make public. The neutral characteristic is attributed to those news and analyses that use actual quotes (and not made up or out of context ones), rely on fact checking and logical syllogisms, provide side relevant data (context) in order for the public to get the bigger picture. News and analyses are labelled as biased when, on the contrary, the journalist’s work is not compliant with all of the above: quotes are partial and/or manipulated/manipulative, there’s no vetting process, neutral context is not added (and when there’s some context provided, facts are selected to match the conclusion – which, in this sort of cases, is pre-set – and not the other way round).

 

Based on this report:

Discursul anti-Occident – interviu cu jurnalistul Cătălin PRISACARIU

Сделката за F-16 развихри медийните атаки срещу ЕС и САЩ        

Bulgaria cumpără F-16 de ultimă generație, de trei ori mai scumpe decât cele cumpărate de România

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