The Bulgarian Parliament reviewed legislation on December 8, 2010 that would dismantle the Bulgarian Academy of Science into separate institutes under the direction of the Minister of Education and the Council of Ministers. The Minister of Finance of Bulgaria has mentioned publicly the advantages of selling the assets of the Academy, according to news reports. In response, a substantial number of European scientific organizations and scientists have protested the proposal to dismantle the Academy because of the damage this would inflict to Bulgaria’s scientific and research capabilities, to its many international scientific projects, and, consequently, to the intellectual and economic development of the country.
CCS wrote to Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov on December 6, 2010, protesting this legislation, saying that while the government may need to cut budgets in many situations, the dismantling of an established scientific institution with the international reputation of the Bulgarian Academy of Science would deprive Bulgaria of a great asset. It would also be contrary to Article 15 2.b of the International Convention on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights of 1976, to which Bulgaria is a signatory. Article 15 recognizes “the right of everyone …to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications” and “the obligation of governments to recognize the benefits of international contacts and co-operation in science.”
The Bulgarian Academy is an independent, 141 year old institution. With about 17% of the researchers in the country, the Academy contributes almost 60% of its scientific output, while another 30% comes from Sofia University. Researchers at the two institutions work successfully in international collaborations and the level of their PhD students has been widely appreciated by the international scientific community.