Brussels Seriously Concerned over Rule of Law in Bulgaria

Serious concerns over the rule of law in Bulgaria were raised in a European Parliament debate with Council and Commissioner Reding on Tuesday afternoon.

The Bulgaria debate, added to the agenda at the request of the EPP group, took place in the aftermath of the 12 May elections there.

Controversial appointments made by the new government, its relations with the Ataka party, and street protests by Bulgarian citizens were among the issues raised.

Some MEPs called for fresh elections in the country, while others countered that Bulgaria is a functioning democracy, and its government deserves a chance to stabilise the country.

The need to fight corruption and organised crime, reform the judicial system and enforce the rule of law were highlighted by some MEPs, as was the need to create a "Copenhagen committee" to ensure respect of EU values by all member states.

Commissioner Reding said that the Commission would act in the event of any infringement of EU law or of a serious breach of EU values.

These debates show how important is it for the EU to promote the rule of law, she concluded.

The ongoing mass protests in Bulgaria were sparked by the shocking decision of the government to appoint controversial media mogul and Member of the Parliament from the predominantly ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS).

The decision to make Peevski national security chief was eventually reversed, yet protesters went on to demand the resignation of the socialist-led government over ties with oligarchs, an end to opaque policies, and Election Code amendments aimed at guaranteeing a greater representation of Bulgarian citizens in the government.

Bulgaria's formerly-ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, is a EPP member.

Adapted from novinite