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European Parliament has discussed rule of law in Bulgaria

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With little interest shown by MEPs in the plenary hall of the EP, a discussion on the rule of law in Bulgaria took place at the backdrop of ongoing anti-government protests in this country. On October 1, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs issued a draft resolution that will continue to be developed until October 8 when voting on the document is scheduled to take place.

As expected, the reactions of various speakers during the debates were mixed – depending on their political affiliation they either criticized or defended the Bulgarian government.

On behalf of the European People's Party (EPP), which the ruling Bulgarian GERB party is a member of, Manfred Weber pointed out that Bulgaria was in transition and not everything was perfect, but also said that Bulgarians should be proud of the achievements. The government in the country is part of the EPP, but the president is leftist, so there is a balance of power, he said. Weber also pointed out that Boyko Borissov was leading a pro-European government and the country was moving towards the Eurozone. "Bulgaria is on the right track, changes must be made not through protests, but through elections."

Ramona Strugariu of the Renew Europe Group asked her colleagues if they knew who they supported: "Because you support a carefully interwoven network of people facing serious allegations of corruption, money laundering and fraud with European funds."

The speech of MEP from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Katarina Barley was in a similar vein, as well as that of her colleague Juan Aguilar, who pointed out that there were problems in Bulgaria and there were constant accusations of corruption in the judicial system and of persecution of political rivals. According to him, the situation was similar to other EU countries and gave Hungary and Poland as examples.

Declaring that she fully supports the right to peaceful protests, European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová said that changes to Bulgaria's Constitution must be subject to broad discussion and time was needed to reach consensus. The EC believes that the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism has proven to be a good tool in the reform process and has led to legal and institutional measures aiming at achieving its recommendations.

Compiled by: Krassimir Martinov

English: Alexander Markov

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