Political row in Bulgaria over European Parliament migration resolution

February 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

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Bulgaria’s largest parliamentary party GERB and the nationalist Patriotic Front coalition have launched verbal attacks on the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, saying their MEPs backed a European Parliament resolution that effectively encourages illegal migration.

The 93-point resolution on human rights and migration in third countries was adopted by the European Parliament on October 25.

At a news briefing in the National Assembly, GERB MP Galia Zaharieva quoted extracts from the EP resolutio on the need “to avoid creating separate districts for migrants, by promoting inclusion and the opportunity to take up all the social opportunities on offer”; and that the EP “considers that migration is recognised globally as being a powerful tool for sustainable and inclusive development.”

Zaharieva said that the resolution indicated that migration was beneficial. At the same time, she hit out at the opposition parties, including the BSP, for being critical about the Bulgarian government’s handling of migration and she accused the opposition of being alarmist in making false claims about the migration situtation in Bulgaria.

Valeri Simeonov, co-leader of the nationalist Patriotic Front, a minority partner in the coalition government arrangement, said that the BSP and MRF MEPs who had backed the resolution should be withdrawn from their posts and replaced by others further down the lists.

Simeonov said that the EP resolution had been adopted by 339 to 333 votes, meaning that the votes of the Bulgarian MEPs had been crucial to it being approved. He described the resolution as “dangerous and harmful” to Bulgaria because the country was at the forefront “of this new war with migration”.

“We cannot accept as normal that, with furious anger and enthusiasm and the aggressive egomania of a rising folk music singer, the leader of the BSP travels Bulgaria, inspiring fear and terror in people that a refugee camp will be opened in every village, and at the same time, the representatives of the same party stand shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, with the MRF to vote for a decision so harmful and dangerous to Bulgaria,” Simeonov said.

BSP leader Kornelia Ninova said that her party distanced itself from the resolution, which she described as inconsistent with the BSP’s policies. The MEPs would be asked next week to explain to a meeting of the BSP executive bureau why they had supported the resolution, Ninova said.

The row comes just more than a week before Bulgarians go to the polls in the first round of presidential elections, in which nationalists and socialist candidates have sought to make illegal migration and refugees a campaign issue.

New socialist president-elect throws Bulgaria in a new political crisis

November 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured, News

red-lightAs we have previously proposed, this puts Bulgaria back on the “Red Light of 25 Years of Communism…” as in 2013 and 2014.

A socialist general from the Bulgarian Air Forces took by surprise the recent presidential elections winning +60% of the vote. He has already declared his pro-Russian preference asserting Bulgaria may pull out from NATO and the European Union.

As soon as loosing the elections, the ruling political party resigned the government early Monday morning. Bulgaria’s constitution now demands that the president gives mandate to the opposing Socialist Party, who will reject it due to insufficient presence in Bulgaria’s Parliament. The president then returns a second mandate to the ruling party, which they claim will turn down promptly.

A temporary government is then to be formed by the President and current Parliament, as it was the case in 2013 and 2014. In term, the democrats will hope to win with majority the new parliamentarian elections in 2017, which will be the 11th consecutive government elections in Bulgaria for the past 11 years since 2005:

2005 Parliamentary Elections
2006 Presidential Elections
2007 Municipal Elections
2009 Parliamentary Elections
2009 European Parliament elections
2011 Presidential Elections
2011 Local Elections
2013 Early parliamentary elections
2014 Early Parliamentary Elections
2015 Municipal Elections
2016 Presidential Elections

 

What does all this mean for the Church in Bulgaria?

Unstable political situation in Bulgaria with pro-Russian policies proposes a problem for the ministry of virtually all Protestants in the country. With a great probability to be voted in through a pro-Socialist government, a newly proposed legal measure bans any and all foreign organizations, companies and citizens from providing funding or donating to Bulgarian religious denominations. This would ban not only foreign physical and legal entities from funding Bulgarian religious institutions, but also companies with foreign ownership that are legally registered in Bulgaria. Using state funding for “illegal activities” by religious denominations will be sanctioned with prison terms of 3-6 years.

With these sanctions in mind, the new legal measure embodies the following rationale:

  1. Churches and ministers must declare all foreign currency money flow and foreign bank accounts
  2. Participation of foreign persons in the administration of any denomination is strictly forbidden
  3. Foreign parsons shall not be allowed to speak at religious meetings in any way shape or form especially religious sermons
  4. Anonymous donations and donorship to religious organization is not permitted
  5. Bulgarian flag shall be present in every temple of worship
  6. The new measure will block all foreign interference in the faith confessions and denominations in Bulgaria