Protests in Bulgaria: when will the EU react?

Protest against Boyko Borisov's government and its links to oligarchs have been taking place in Sofia for eight weeks now. One of themes of the demonstrations is how the latter benefit from EU funds. The response from Brussels and the German EU presidency has been restrained so far but this could now change, some commentators believe.

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Kapital (BG) /

We're finally in the headlines

After almost two months, the protests in Bulgaria have taken a decisive step forward, Kapital notes with enthusiasm:

“The angry message is slowly making an impact beyond Bulgaria. The banners asking the EU and especially Chancellor Merkel why they are ignoring the state of democracy in Bulgaria were published in the international press and shown on television in many European news programmes. All the major foreign media outlets and news agencies are now covering what is happening in Bulgaria and why. This has had a decisive effect: the European institutions and the countries that wield most influence are being forced to look at the long-neglected situation in the EU's poorest and most corrupt country.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

The EPP is the problem

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung explains why the EU is being lenient with the Bulgarian government:

“Boyko Borisov's Gerb party belongs to the family of the European People's Party (EPP) and thus has powerful advocates not only in Brussels, but also in Berlin. Eleven of the twenty-seven EU member states are governed by EPP members. Berlin keeps this bloc of votes united and in a good mood whenever possible. The German chancellor finds it easier to be lenient towards Borisov because he doesn't show off ideologically like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán does, but conceals his wily tricks behind charming professions of devotion.”