BRUSSELS/SOFIA – Heavy defeat over Bulgaria’s rule of law

The European People’s Party (EPP), the largest force in the European Parliament, suffered a heavy defeat on Thursday (8 October) over a resolution condemning the democratic backsliding and corruption under the rule of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, and supporting the protests demanding his resignation.

The EPP made huge efforts to amend the draft resolution by replacing its critical texts with praise for Borissov’s sister party GERB, and by deflecting criticism toward President Rumen Radev who supports the protesters.

Bulgarians demanding the resignation of Borissov and the Prosecutor Genera Ivan Geshev were in the streets on Thursday for the 92nd day in a row.

But all the destructive amendments, introduced by the EPP’s Roberta Metsola (Malta) were defeated in a vote on Wednesday, while on Thursday MEPs passed the resolution with 358 in favour, 277 against and 56 abstentions.

There were 30 dissidents in EPP – 6 voted in favour of the resolution, and 24 abstained. Andrey Kovachev, chief of the GERB group in the EPP, deplored a “misuse” of the European Parliament by the left and the Greens, in the context of what he said was the internal political battle in Bulgaria.

Conversely, the Socialist MEPs from Bulgaria, but also EPP MEP Radan Kanev, who represents a centre-right force critical of Borissov, hailed the vote as a triumph for European values and a clear message that the EP hears the concerns of Bulgarian citizens about the corruption and the bad governance under GERB.EPP has been in European history a political force capable of winning its battles.

In the last days however EPP lost on three occasions. The climate law interim target of 60% by 2030 was opposed by EPP but approved by Parliament. Also, the ban on unpaid traineeships under the Youth guarantee was opposed by EPP but passed by Parliament.

(Georgi Gotev, EURACTIV.com)

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