Bulgarian Parliament rejects red call against sanctions on Russia

Bulgaria’s National Assembly has again rejected a proposal by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) to call for the removal of European Union sanctions against Russia.

The June 1 debate in the Bulgarian Parliament saw the proposal by the BSP, which by some distance is the second-largest group in the National Assembly, supported only by the two smallest parliamentary groups, opposition socialist breakaway ABC and Volen Siderov’s pro-Russian Ataka.

Bulgarian MPs turned down a BSP draft proposal on promoting inter-parliamentary dialogue and co-operation between the EU and Russia, and a further proposal that travel sanctions against Russian MPs in the EU should be removed.

Mihail Mikov, an MP for the BSP and the party’s former leader, said that the imposition of sanctions against Russian MPs had been a “silly decision” on the part of Europe.

BSP MP Kristian Vigenin said that the sanctions were damaging the EU and Russia economically but would not achieve their political objective.

The EU imposed sanctions on Russia after Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its aggression against Ukraine.

Vigenin was foreign minister in the short-lived BSP-Movement for Rights and Freedoms administration of 2013/14, a time during which he stated that Bulgaria, as an EU member, supported the bloc’s sanctions against Russia.

The chairperson of the Bulgarian Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Gemma Grozdanova of centre-right ruling majority party GERB, said that right-wing MPs had a position and it was consistent.

Grozdanova said that not one European country had vetoed the sanctions, and the reason for this was the common policy of the EU regarding foreign affairs and security.

“The question today is whether we want to subject that policy to a national decision. In other words, if we want to do it so that a national decision is stronger than that of the common policy. And here we cannot help but draw a parallel with what is about to happen on June 23 in the UK. No matter what the decision there, a domino effect will begin,” Grozdanova said.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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