EU centre-right under pressure to keep distance from Borissov

On the 62nd day of protests in Bulgaria, which aim to force the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, pressure is mounting on the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) to withdraw support for his GERB party.

MEP Radan Kanev from Democrats for Strong Bulgaria, a small Bulgarian centre-right force that is also EPP-affiliated, published an open letter to EPP party president Donald Tusk and EPP group chair Manfred Weber, in which he warns his European family that it risks losing the support of young Bulgarians, who massively stand against Borissov.

Kanev writes that in the European Parliament, the left is active and gaining momentum, “trying successfully to replace EPP in front of the Bulgarian public as the party of Rule of Law, progress and modernisation”.

Indeed, the Greens and more recently S&D have taken a position in support of the protesters and against the government of Borissov, which is accused of harbouring corruption and the mafia.

Together with other Bulgarian MEPs from the opposition, Kanev has gathered signatures for holding a plenary debate in the Parliament about rule of law in Bulgaria. Reportedly, 55 signatures have been collected, but he remains the only MEP from the EPP to have signed.

“By supporting the debate, our group would give a strong signal to the Bulgarian public that we care about the rights of every European citizen,” Kanev writes.

A bigger than usual demonstration is expected in Sofia on Thursday. Protesting Bulgarians criticise the EU for “keeping its eyes wide closed” for the extremely tense political situation in their country.

Earlier this month, Bulgarians protesting in Brussels against Borissov tried to meet with Tusk without success. They simply wrote “resignation” in the visitors book. 

Borissov adds to the long-standing EPP headache caused by Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán, whose Fidesz party’s EPP membership has been temporarily suspended due to violations of the rule of law.

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