EP Resolution on the rule of law and fundamental rights in Bulgaria

Last Thursday, a joint resolution on the Rule of Law in Bulgaria was adopted by the European Parliament.

Bulgaria has seen widespread anti-government protests in recent weeks, following a number of corruption scandals. The report expresses concern at the “significant deterioration of respect for the principles of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights, including independence of the judiciary, separation of powers, the fight against corruption and freedom of the media.”

The Greens/EFA, EFA’s political group in the European Parliament, managed to include clear language in the adopted text calling on Bulgarian authorities to take all the necessary measures to safeguard the rights of minorities effectively and in particular the rights of minorities “to freedom of expression and freedom of association”. It also calls on Bulgarian authorities to condemn all acts of violence and hate speech against minorities. 

The Macedonian community in Bulgaria has long suffered multiple discriminations and is not officially recognised by the state.

Stoyan Mechkarov from EFA member party OMO Ilinden-Pirin, representing the Macedonian community in Bulgaria said:

“We are very glad for this clear stance of the European Parliament about the deteriorating situation in Bulgaria regarding the rule of the law, fundamental rights, and democracy overall. 

This is the first time since Bulgaria got full membership of the EU that such a serious political declaration has been made by the European Parliament which specifically mentions the awful situation of the rights of the minorities and the freedom of expression and association in Bulgaria. 

It shows that the cooperation and solidarity among the local ethnic and cultural minorities within the EU, on which principle EFA is based, could bring a great impact and hope even in situations when everything seems lost.

And we all, especially, but not just the minorities in Bulgaria, need the solidarity and support from our friends in EFA and from the EU institutions.”

The Venice Commission and the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights have also ruled that the Bulgarian electoral code hinders linguistic diversity and the rights of citizens living abroad. 

The full text of the resolution as adopted by the European Parliament can be found here.