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Main focus of Thursday, February 21, 2013


Bulgarian government resigns

Following Borisov's resignation parliamentary elections are planned for April. (© IPG/dapd)

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boiko Borisov announced the resignation of his centre-right government on Wednesday, citing the nationwide protests against rising electricity prices and rioting as the reason. Some commentators believe Borisov has fallen victim to his own lust for power. Others predict that as a cold strategist Borisov will make a triumphant comeback in the upcoming elections.


Dnevnik - Bulgaria

Bulgaria's prime minister stripped of power

Borisov's lust for power sealed his fate, the daily Dnevnik writes: "Borisov put the presidency, the judiciary, the media and the economy under his personal control, and in so doing thought he had all state power in his hands. From the outside, that made him look like a sort of colossus, but in truth it only weakened him. ... When the people withdrew their trust in him, he immediately collapsed. The state failed to maintain order as it should do because he had stripped it of its power. And while Borisov still believed the power was in his hands, it suddenly turned up somewhere else: among the people. ... Powerless, Boiko Borisov has shown himself to be exactly what he is: a limited human being, insecure but pompous, fearful but brash, uneducated but somehow likeable. In former times these qualities made him look like a hero. Now they only work to his disadvantage." (20/02/2013)


Der Standard - Austria

Borisov is a streetwise gambler

With the resignation of his government Prime Minister Boiko Borisov is hoping he will win the next elections, the left-liberal daily Der Standard comments: "Some people are talking about a 'Bulgarian Spring', as if this were all about toppling a dictator and his corrupt family who've held power in Sofia for decades and finally bringing democracy to the country. But most of the protesters want nothing to do with such an idea. They seem to be clearly delimiting their call for more social justice. Because the coalition led by the Socialists, which went down in the maelstrom of embezzled EU funds in 2009 is a bad memory for Bulgarians, as the polls have shown. Borisov may also have a plan: tossing in the towel at the height of the social crisis and then coming back in style. Bulgarian doesn't have statesmen, it's got gamblers." (21/02/2013)


Adevărul - Romania

Government's resignation must rouse EU

Social protests like those in Bulgaria could well spread to other EU countries if the pressure from the streets goes unheeded, the liberal-conservative daily Adevărul cautions: "These events clearly show how unsuitable some economic programmes proposed by the troika for the crisis-stricken countries of Eastern Europe have been. No one has wanted to face up to the fact that too many - and too harsh - austerity measures can constitute the biggest obstacle to economic development. The national and European decision makers must understand how important it is not only that the money from the structural funds  continues to be paid out with the new 2014-2020 EU budget, but also that the procedures are simplified to give countries easier access to these funds. Failing that, the danger that events like those in Bulgaria will spill over into other countries will only grow. And that will lead to the loss of investor trust, destroying what we've accomplished so far on our European path." (21/02/2013)


Hospodářské noviny - Czech Republic

Bulgaria's underlying problem is corruption

The Czech Republic is indirectly involved in Bulgaria's government crisis since the protests of tens of thousands of Bulgarians are also directed against the price policy of the Prague energy group ČEZ. But for the liberal daily Hospodářské noviny widespread corruption is the real root of the crisis: "After four years in office the government can boast a few victories, but it didn't solve the main problem, namely rampant corruption. Corruption is the reason why so few foreign investors come here, why growth is so minimal and the country still isn't part of the Schengen zone. Together with Romania the country is still under the guardianship of the EU. … The control mechanism from Brussels was originally introduced for five years. But last year an extension was already agreed. The latest EU Commission assessment from last July wasn't exactly encouraging. It testified to Bulgaria having a unique level of organised crime in the EU, which has a major influence on the entire Bulgarian economy." (21/02/2013)


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