Bulgaria: How to get Sofia back on track?

25 July 2013
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Frankfurt

Reconstitution of the painting "Liberty Leading the People," during a demonstration against the government in Sofia on July 13
Reconstitution of the painting "Liberty Leading the People," during a demonstration against the government in Sofia on July 13

The former members of the communist nomenklatura and secret services have hijacked a large part of the Bulgarian institutions. The EU knows it, but has not yet found the means to persuade them to respect the rule of law.

Last week about a thousand people held demonstrations outside the German Embassy in Sofia. The rally continued the peaceful spirit that had marked the daily protests against the Bulgarian government – until the violent escalation on its 40th day on the night of [July] 24: As a thank you to the German Ambassador, the demonstrators recreated the Fall of the Wall of 1989. Together with the French Ambassador, the ambassador had published an article in one of Bulgaria’s largest newspapers, in which both diplomats openly expressed their sympathy with the protesters, who gathered in their thousands every evening in Sofia and denounced the government as a “Mafia”.

The central message of this “unusual and outrageous act”– in the words of the outraged Bulgarian government – is: “Membership in the European Union is a decision meant to civilise a state. The oligarchic model is not compatible with that, neither in Bulgaria nor elsewhere.”

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Translated from the German by Anton Baer

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