The debate on the rule of law in Bulgaria, which took place in the context of the anti-government demonstrations unfolding in the country, took place with subdued interest from MEPs in the European Parliament plenary hall. On 1 October, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs adopted a draft resolution, to which they will continue to add proposals until 8 October, when the vote on the document is scheduled to take place.
As expected, reactions varied amongst the speakers during the debate, stemming from their political ideology, with some criticizing and other defending the Bulgarian Government.
On behalf of the European People’s Party (EPP), of which the ruling GERB is a member, Manfred Weber pointed out that Bulgaria is undergoing a transitional stage and not everything is perfect, however Bulgarians should be proud of what they have achieved: “There is a government in the country that belongs to the EPP; but the president is on the left, so there is a balanced distribution of power”.
Weber also noted that Boyko Borissov is leading a pro-European government and the country is moving towards the Eurozone. “Bulgaria is on the right track, change must come not through protests, but through the elections”.
Ramona Strugariou of the Renew Europe Center asked her colleagues if they knew who they were supporting, as she said they were rooting for a carefully woven network of people facing serious allegations of corruption, money laundering and fraud with European funds.
In a similar vein, Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats MEP Katarina Barley and her colleague Juan Aguilar pointed out that there were weaknesses in Bulgaria and there were constant accusations of corruption in the judiciary, alongside indictments of politicians. As she argued, the situation was similar with other EU countries, citing Hungary and Poland as examples.
Stating that she fully supports the right to peaceful protest, European Commission Vice President Vera Yourova stressed that changes to the Bulgarian Constitution should be widely discussed and that consensus was a prerequisite.
The European Commission believes that the “Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification” has proved to be a good tool in the reform process and has led to legal and institutional measures for the implementation of its recommendations. /ibna