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(DF) European Parliament Adopts Resolution on Rule of Law in Bulgaria

October 8 (BTA Correspondent Nikolay Jeliazkov) - A total of 691 members of the European Parliament (EP) on Thursday voted, 358-277 with 56 abstentions, to adopt a resolution on the rule of law and fundamental rights in Bulgaria drafted by Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Chair Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar (Spain, Party of European Socialists). The resolution is not legally binding. The document, apparently prompted by over three months of widespread daily protests over a series of scandals implicating Bulgaria's political elite in corruption and demanding the resignation of the Boyko Borissov Government and Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev, voices concern over the "significant deterioration of respect for the principles of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights, including the independence of the judiciary, separation of powers, the fight against corruption and freedom of the media". It focuses also on persisting systemic issues in the judiciary, especially the lack of a framework to hold the Supreme Judicial Council and the Prosecutor General accountable. The text further highlights the need for the Bulgarian Government to ensure tighter control of the way EU money is spent and to address concerns that EU money is used to enrich people close to GERB, the ruling European People's Party (EPP) member party. In the resolution, MEPs expressed their "unequivocal support for the people of Bulgaria in their legitimate demands and aspirations for justice, transparency, accountability and democracy". They condemned police violence and "disproportionate intervention", in particular any use of force against women and children and journalists, as well as the "unlawful and excessive audits" into private businesses that support the protests. MEPs condemned smear campaigns and violence against journalists. They are deeply concerned by the deterioration in media freedom, transparency and the lack of diversity in media ownership, and worried that EU funds are allegedly more likely to be given to government-friendly outlets. They highlighted the need for stricter controls on EU spending and want concerns over taxpayers' money being used to enrich those close to the ruling party to be addressed immediately. The EP is expected to circulate the final text of the resolution by Friday at the latest, following a review of the vote on the proposed amendments to the initial version. Prior to the vote, the political groups of the Socialists and the Greens expressed support for the resolution, while the EPP opposed it. RI/DS // 09 Octobre 2020, 08:00

Source: BTA Free News

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