Golden Goose feeds „environmentalists“

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The allegedly threatened species of Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis) has become a gold mine for the „environmentalists“ of the Coalition „Let nature remain in Bulgaria“, showed Trud in the official reports of the projects funded under the European program LIFE.

In our country the bird kind is „protected“ by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, which is part of the „environmental“ association.

More than half a century ago, the vast population of the Red-breasted Goose was wintering in Azerbaijan, near the Caspian Sea. Since the bird feeds mainly on cereals, the harvest of local farmers is hard to survive. That is why the local authorities organized a reduction in the number of this species by separately starting to grow mainly cotton that the bird cannot eat.

As a result of the measures taken, the geese population changed its migration and from the 1990s it wintered in Northeastern Bulgaria. It is then in our country that the so-called „environmental“ movement, whose organizations are today in „Let nature remain in Bulgaria“ – allegedly civil union whose representatives are in fact politicians, begins to form. Currently, a large part of the coalition activists are on the list of „Democratic Bulgaria“ for the European elections on Sunday.

Over the years, the goal of „environmentalists“ was to prove how valuable Branta ruficollis is and what an important role our country should play in its conservation.

„Environmentalists“ succeeded in 2010 when the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds won a project by the European Commission (EC) under the LIFE Program for the Conservation of the Red-breasted Goose, which should produce results after 2015. Its value is € 2 654 180 – as the annual budget of a small municipality. The paradox is that while „environmentalists“ spend the money of European taxpayers for something that has proved to be meaningless, the official authorities in Bulgaria give tens of BGN millions to farmers in the Dobrudja region. The reason is that farmers suffer huge damage from the bird whose population destroys their crops.

One more thing – winning the BSPB conservation project coincides with the appointment of Sylvia Barova as a responsible for Bulgaria in the Environment Directorate General of the European Commission. Prior to taking the position, she was the chief of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. Shortly after Barova took the key position in Brussels, her husband, Boris, was employed in program LIFE.

As Trud has written in many of his investigations on the subject since the Barovi family have been in these posts, the won projects from the „green“ European programs have swelled to BGN 40 million.

The project

The conservation project for the Red-breasted Goose population in Bulgaria began on September 1, 2010 and ended on May 21, 2015.

The report of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds over the 5-year period was 200 pages. The financial part of it was a small table, from which it was not clear for what they have spent nearly BGN 5 million.

It was only clear that for “staff“ column, which probably included the so-called experts protecting the goose, was given € 779,451 or over BGN 1.5 million.

The trips amounted of € 178,538 or approximately BGN 260,000. The vague definition of „consumables“ was for a total of € 749,451 or BGN 1.5 million. What was included in “Consumables” was probably only clear to BSPB.

There was also the „Overhead“ column, in which accounted 150,000 euros or BGN 300,000.

The question arises how the financial part of such a large scale project can be publicly accounted for in such a way.

For example, each company in Bulgaria records in its financial documents the name of the person and the exact amount paid.

In the case of the Red-breasted Goose Conservation Project, the main problem is what the report shows – and it is that some people have just taken a lot of money. What have they done? They printed information brochures and created a website and made profiles of the „endangered“ bird kind on social networks, and took a lot of photos at the fields in northeastern Bulgaria on the background of flocks of geese.

The information on actual conservation activities of Branta ruficollis is very small and unclear. But it has been reported that the Facebook page has reached between 2600 and 5800 users, with 800 of them being very active. A channel was created on the YouTube video platform where the goose video was uploaded. And more – a Shabla Kites Fest was organized to popularize the species, and the Facebook page of the event had 1200 followers.

Environmentalists complained that there were big obstacles in supposedly done field work. Local mayors did not want to cooperate because they did not want to stop the development of infrastructure projects. In fact, these are key investments to the Dobrudja region economy. But „environmentalists“ explained that such development prevents the geese population.

Perhaps this is why, according to the report, for 5 years field work the „experts“ there were no more than 12 weeks during which they captured dozens of geese and marked them.

Of all 200 pages, it is understood that „environmentalists“ have done „a lot of“ work for which there is no specificity. Most importantly, there is no detailed breakdown of the financial part. Ultimately, it is unclear for what a huge amount has been spent with much of it being a grant from Brussels. It is right for the EC to think about for what projects distribute the taxes of European citizens and not to deceive themselves that pouring money into fake environmental causes does not denigrate the European institutions.

Source: www.skandal.bg

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