Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov resorted to heavy anti-communist rhetoric, typical of the early 1990s, in a speech in the European Parliament on Thursday (21 March).
Borissov, who arrived the same day for the two-day EU summit, inaugurated a monument of Atanas Burov and a space named after him on the second floor of the Altiero Spinelli building of the European Parliament. Burov (1875-1954) is a Bulgarian entrepreneur, financier, politician and philanthropist. During World War II, he opposed Bulgaria’s alliance with Germany. After the end of the war he was sentenced to one year in prison by the so-called People’s court. In 1945 he joins the opposition against the Communist government. In 1950 he was arrested and sent to a labour camp. He died in prison four years later.
European Parliament chief Antonio Tajani and the leader of the group of the European Peoples’ Party (EPP) Manfred Weber delivered speeches, paying tribute to Burov as a pro-European politician, and expressing satisfaction that for the first time, the European Parliament has a space named after a Bulgarian personality.
Borissov, who is also leader of the GERB party he created himself, took the floor the last. “Regrettably, we are divided”, he said. He was referring to the fact that no MEPs from the S&D group were present. MEPs from the ALDE-affiliated Movement of Rights and Freedoms (DPS) weren’t seen either.
“Those who implemented genocide against the Bulgarian people and exterminated all the intelligentsia in 1944-45 in the camps of Belene, Skravena, Lovech and in other places, are not here. This means nobody wants to reconcile. It’s the other way around. Their children, their sons are making efforts to get into the European Parliament as we speak”, he said.
Apparently Borissov made no difference between those responsible for crimes committed in the period September 1944 and 1956, when Stalinism was denounced, with the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which is trailing GERB according to opinion polls, ahead of the European elections.
“My family too was persecuted. And Andrey Kovachev’s family too [MEP from GERB standing beside him]. And the families of many others. BSP […] hasn’t given up its name and its history”, he said.
In his typical style, Borissov doesn’t always finish his sentences.
“What is it (someone) to come and take your house and to kick you out. Without right to complain, without court, without anything, or rather, with Peoples’ court. When did we forget all this? Shall we allow them to start again?”
The amalgamation between the BSP and the communists of the 1950s was typical of the very heated rhetoric of the first years of the democratic transition in Bulgaria after November 1989. Nevertheless, Borissov sometimes repeats that “his grandfather” was killed by the communists. This is not correct: possibly a more distant relative has had this tragic fate.
Borissov was in school the chief of the class organisation of the young communists (Komsomol), and became member of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BKP) while he was studying in the academy of the Ministry of the Interior, in the late 1970s-early 1980s.
Borissov probably thinks communism is a bad word in the European Parliament. We can imagine that had no way to know that he made his comments in the buiding named after Altiero Spinelli (1907-1986), an Italian communist and federalist, referred as one of the founding fathers of Europe.