By Krassen Nikolov
EPP President Joseph Daul called the Bulgarian political parties of the European right to run united for the European elections. The Bulgarian members of the EPP are the ruling party GERB, Bulgaria for Citizens Movement which leader is the former European Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, the Union of Democratic Forces and Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB).
Joseph Daul sent similar letter to all these parties. But his offer was immediately rejected. DSB responded that such move would be “absolutely impossible” because of GERB’s policy. DSB is part of the Democratic Bulgaria Coalition, which according to opinion polls has the chance to have one MEP in the next European Parliament.
“Only together we can avoid squandering voices, which would benefit populists and anti-European forces. Only by working together we can achieve maximum representation of the EPP in the next European Parliament and ensure that our leading candidate, Manfred Weber, will be the next President of the European Commission,” Daul wrote.
This is not really a precedent. The EPP party chief appeals for such an union before most national elections. So far his offers has been rejected by the small center-right parties, and the DSB’s reaction as usual is the most acute.
“With their actions, GERB proved that they are part of those processes that threaten the pro-European line of Europe. They act in sync with the populist and anti-European forces at national and European levels,” said the leader of DSB Atanas Atanassov.
He points out that GERB “keeps a pro-Russian course”. The DSB leader also gives examples in support of his thesis – Boyko Borissov’s party opposes the sanctions against Russia, has refused to expel even a Russian diplomat in connection with the Skripal case and hasn’t supported Laura Kövesi’s nomination for chief EU Prosecutor.
“So GERB and the Patriots who are together in the ruling coaliton, along with the fake opposition – the former Communists, reinforce the belief in Europe that not only Hungary but also Bulgaria is Putin’s Trojan horse in the European Union,” Atanassov replied to Daul. DSB accuses GERB of compromising Bulgaria’s EU membership with its anti-European policy.
Bulgaria for Citizens Movement also doеs not see any possibility for a coalition with Borissov’s party. “GERB does not correspond to the values and principles of EPP. It has been staggering towards populism in the past two years. And is also forcing creeping dictatorship in the electoral legislation and the media,” said the leader of the party Dimitar Delchev.
At present, the small center-right parties are negotiating to participate together in the European elections under the ticket of the Democratic Bulgaria coalition. The coalition currently consists of parties that are very different ideologically. DSB has a strong anti-Russian rhetoric, defends conservative Christian-Democratic principles. “Yes, Bulgaria” is a classic urban liberal party, and the “Greens” are cent-left. What connects them is their strong pro-European positions and the need for a radical judicial reform in Bulgaria.