Bulgarian president criticised as a threat to country’s future in EU

Bulgaria’s two largest parties have accused President Rumen Radev of posing a risk to the country’s future in the European Union, citing his constant political attacks on the government, his influence in society, and his pro-Russian line.

Euractiv reported this. The We Continue to Change party, which has the most ministers in the coalition government, said that Radev’s anti-European behaviour in society was the primary motivation for their decision to unite with the party of former compromised Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s GERB.

“If there were no risk that (Rumen) Radev would lead us away from Europe, we would not have created a cabinet with GERB,” said Lena Boryslavova, a leading political strategist with We Continue to Change.

The GERB stated that “democracy cannot be defended by hypocrisy, just as statehood cannot be preserved using a split and a constantly raised fist” by Radev.

In May, GERB and We Continue to Change formed a coalition government whose declared goals are to bring Bulgaria into the eurozone and Schengen, support Ukraine, reform the administration, and rid the security services of Russian influence.

However, the intelligence services are still headed by leaders appointed by Radev during his two-year tenure as an interim government. During this period, Radev opposed providing military aid to Ukraine and repeatedly suggested that Kyiv was as much to blame for the war as Russia, which invaded Ukraine.

Bulgaria backed Ukraine in its fight against Russian invasion. The Bulgarian government has approved a new package of military and military-technical assistance to Ukraine. 

The most recent scandal between We Continue to Change, GERB and Radev was the proposal to change the Bulgarian national holiday.

The current national holiday, 3 March, commemorates the signing of the San Stefan Peace Treaty between the Russian and Ottoman Empires after the two-year war to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1877-1878. The war was successful for Russia, but the peace treaty never came into force, and the Bulgarian lands were divided into several parts.

As many Bulgarians view this national holiday as a symbol of Russian interests in Bulgaria, the coalition proposes to declare a new national day, Slavic Writing Day (24 May), which celebrates the Slavic alphabet invented 1,200 years ago.

On Saturday, Radev defended the preservation of 3 March as the main national holiday, declaring it “a red line of our patience that the people’s movement will not allow to be erased.”

“Behind the backs of most politicians who pump themselves up with pseudo-patriotism, there is a simple truth – they want more power, or they don’t want to give up the power they already have,” commented Kirill Petkov, co-leader of the We Continue to Change movement.

Earlier, local media Nova reported that five prominent Bulgarian politicians had received protection from the National Security Service due to threats from Russia.

In June, Bulgaria has discovered a broad network of spammy sites created to spread false news and disinformation, including Russian disinformation.

HSSF analysts have identified a network of nearly 400 similar websites that appear to have been created specifically to broadcast Russian narratives to the Bulgarian audience.

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