Tuesday

24th May 2022

Bulgarians protest controversial MEP listing

  • Thousands protested in Bulgaria last year (Photo: Uwe Hiksch)

The recent appointment of controversial media mogul Delyan Peevski to head the candidates' list in three areas for the Turkish party Movements for Rights and Freedoms has triggered new protests in Sofia.

Bulgarians were outraged that Peevski, who along with his mother Irena Krasteva, manages a growing media empire that backs whichever government is in power, is set to be elected to the European Parliament in next month's vote.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In June last year Peevski was appointed head of the State Agency of National Security. The move sparked the largest protests since the fall of communism, with tens of thousands of citizens heading to the streets.

They were angry that a controversial person like Peevski should be given access to classified information and the power to decide on arrests and wiretaps. Two days later Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski rescinded the appointment and apologised. But it was too late; the protests went on for 300 days.

In October, the constitutional court reinstated Peevski as an MP prompting thousands of students to occupy Sofia University, temporarily shutting down the biggest university in the country.

This month's protest was not as big as last year's, reflecting a weariness among Bulgarians for lengthy demonstrations that have not managed to bring about change.

The Movement for Rights and Freedom say it nominated Peevski because he has a good reputation within the party and is a successful businessman who could help access EU funds.

Sociologist Andrey Raichev of Gallup International said the MEP candidature is both about removing Peevski from the national political scene and rewarding him as he is close to the previous political leader of the party, Ahmed Dogan, one of the most influential and powerful politicians in the country.

Others see a bright side to his nomination. The Socialist Party believes it will mobilise Bulgarians to go to the polls, resulting in a higher turnout and thwarting Peevski’s shot at the EU parliament, which would also draw a line under the political unrest that marked 2013.

The newly-formed Reformist bloc, meanwhile, sees Peevski's nomination as a provocation for Bulgarian public opinion. Since the outbreak of the fierce protests in June, Peevski has not once been seen at the Bulgarian Parliament.

Many believe that if he makes it to Brussels, he will continue managing his business from there rather than doing the tasks of a member of the European Parliament.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. France 'convinced' Ukraine will join EU
  2. Von der Leyen: Russia hoarding food as 'blackmail'
  3. Legal action launched against KLM over 'greenwashing'
  4. Orbán refuses to discuss Russia oil embargo at EU summit
  5. Turkey's Erdogan snubs Greek PM
  6. ECB: Crypto may pose a risk to financial stability
  7. UK PM Johnson faces renewed questions over Covid party
  8. Sweden gives 5th Covid shot to people over 65, pregnant women

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  2. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June
  3. 'No progress in years' in Libya, says UN migration body
  4. Toxic pesticide residue in EU fruit up 53% in a decade
  5. Orbán's overtures to Moscow are distasteful and detrimental
  6. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is back
  7. EU aims to seize Russian assets amid legal unclarity
  8. Close ties with autocrats means security risk, Nato chief warns

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us