In the following interview Stella Stanislavova, the chief coordinator of the upcoming protest in Sofia, gives some clarity about the position of Bulgaria and the present development of the problem with ACTA.
How would you comment the first wave of protests?
It is hard not to be satisfied from the first protest. The least – it was the biggest event of such type in Bulgaria for the last 15 years. More than 12,000 people all over the country said “No to ACTA” which is a cause not connected to any political party. This is a great sign for the development of the civil society in Bulgaria and for the causes that are to unite people in the future. The protests also broke down the myth that Bulgarian young people are passive and have no interest in the social events. The protest is to be a reminder for politicians regarding their next decisions.
Why do you think there is a need for a second protest after the Bulgarian Prime Minister said there will be no ratification?
The lack of official decision on the problem of ACTA is one of the strongest reasons. We have only a “smirk” from the politicians. On the other side, we are to protect the other European countries, whose leaders are not even apt to such positive reaction. If we accept that there is unanimity among institutions on national level, we still have to address the attention towards the European institutions – the European Parliament and Commission. Let’s remind the European deputies that we are keeping a close look on their actions. We are firm that the only possible outcome of the situation is the declination of ACTA as a trade agreement part of EU law system. It should be canceled not in a country or group of countries, but for the whole Union.
Can you explain further the difference between stopping the ratification and voting against it?
The ratification is a procedure that can end in two ways – it can be canceled or confirmed. Bulgarian political leaders chose the only populist way, and the third one – to freeze the procedure – ready to be “consumed” as any other frozen food. Bulgarian politicians say: Let’s see if somebody else will “eat” it and we’ll decide if we should do the same or dispose it. There is always the chance of ratification when society forgets the problem, even though such scenario might sound like a conspiracy.
Recent news speak about the freezing of ACTA’s ratification for an year. How would this change the focus of the protest? Is there going to be one?
The protest is going to take place this Saturday! Because of the reasons I already mentioned. We shouldn’t take the attention away from ACTA. However, this might be the last event of such kind.
How many people do you expect to participate this time?
I wouldn’t make such forecasts. We are realistic and don’t expect the same popularity like on the first protests. For us it is important that there are people who are engaged with the cause.
What other cities will join the protests?
We are still waiting for an answer from many cities. Sofia, Dobrich, Blagoevgrad and Sandansky are the only ones which confirmed their participation.