Wednesday

22nd Nov 2017

EU commission backs Bulgaria anti-corruption protests

The European Commission Tuesday (23 July) voiced support for the daily anti-corruption protests that have rattled Bulgaria over recent weeks.

EU commissioner for justice Viviane Reding at a Citizens’ Dialogue event in Sofia said she was “very much moved by the strong desire of the Bulgarian citizen to have this change, to fight for democracy, to fight against corruption.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Bulgarians are staging daily protests against corruption (Photo: Borislav Kiprin)

“My sympathy is with the Bulgarian citizens who are protesting on the streets against corruption,” she said.

Demonstrations in Bulgaria have been taking place every day for over month, triggered in part by the controversial nomination of Delyan Peevski, a 32-year old member of parliament with no intelligence experience, to national security chief.

Peevski’s family runs Bulgaria’s largest media outlet. The decision was later reversed in an effort to quell public uproar.

But protestors last Tuesday in Sofia gathered in front of the German embassy in an effort to gain wider recognition of their grievances among other EU member states.

They erected a make-shift ‘Berlin Wall’ in front of the embassy as a symbolic gesture of Bulgaria’s government ties with business moguls and oligarchs.

The commissioner drew similar comparisons on Tuesday when she said modern democracies and strong economies are “incompatible with oligarchies.”

Reding’s live two-hour televised event in Sofia is part of a larger debate on Europe organised around some 25 public discussions with citizens in 14 EU countries.

The commissioner, along with Bulgaria’s president Rosen Asenov Plevneliev, fielded questions from citizens upset with rising unemployment, poverty, political deadlock, and government corruption.

“We [European Commission] feel the necessity, we feel the obligation, but we feel also by heart that we have to come to help you, because you fight actually for Bulgarian values, yes, but those are European values,” she told reporters after the debate.

Reding said she could not interfere with the internal affairs of the state but would deliver the public’s message back to Brussels.

The commission’s monitoring report on Bulgaria, the so-called CVM, will remain in place until the government delivers on much needed judicial reforms.

“We are keeping it [CVM] to exercise pressure,” she said.

She also appealed for a solution to the on-going political deadlock between the governing coalition and the main opposition centre-right Gerb.

Gerb has been boycotting the parliament since June following a snap general election in May that provided no clear majority.

The group had won the most seats but demanded a new election code after prosecutors seized a cache of 350,000 illegal ballot papers in a print shop that belongs to a local Gerb official.

Reding told the two sides to “stop their quarrelling” and instead exercise their obligations as elected officials to solve problems instead of creating them.

Gerb is now prepared to return to the parliament as of Tuesday.

“We left parliament to show empathy toward the tens of thousands of people in the streets who do not want this government, and now we will return due to the budget,” said Gerb leader and former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, reports Sofia News Agency Novinite.

Borisov, for his part, resigned as prime minister in February following public uproar over high-energy prices and poverty.

Bulgaria has received nearly €10 billion of EU funding but remains the poorest member state.

Bulgarian elections result in uncertainty

Political turmoil is set to continue in Bulgaria after Sunday's general elections, as the tight result will make the formation of a coalition government difficult.

Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes

The former Bosnian Serb warlord was sentenced to life in prison for committing genocide and war crimes in Srebrenica and Sarajevo. Mladic is still regarded as a 'hero' among some Bosnian Serbs, in a country undergoing resurgent nationalism.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

Austrian privacy case against Facebook hits legal snag

Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems may sue Facebook Ireland in an Austrian court but won't be able to pursue a class action suit in Austria, according to a non-binding opinion by a top EU court advisor.

MEP switches vote on 'private expenses' transparency

A small group of MEPs are looking into how members of the European Parliament spend the monthly €4,300 'private expenses' funded by taxpayer money. Last month, MEPs voted on transparency amendments on the funds.

News in Brief

  1. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  2. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  3. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers
  4. French banks close Le Pen accounts
  5. Commission relaxes rules on labelling free range eggs
  6. Commission issues €34m fine over car equipment cartel
  7. Estonian presidency 'delighted' with emissions trading vote
  8. Mladic found guilty of genocide and war crimes

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  2. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  3. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  4. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  6. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  7. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  8. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  9. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  10. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  11. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  12. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure

Latest News

  1. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  2. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  3. Commission warns Italy over high debt level
  4. Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes
  5. Uber may face fines in EU for keeping data breach secret
  6. EU counter-propaganda 'harms' relations, Russia says
  7. The EU's half-hearted Ostpolitik
  8. Glyphosate: 1.3 million EU citizens call for ban