Bulgaria’s PM: Opposition putting receipt of billions in EU funds at risk

The opposition denying Parliament a quorum for its sitting on June 22 meant that the European Funds Management Bill had not been adopted, putting at risk Bulgaria receiving 2.6 billion leva under the EU’s Recovery and Sustainability Plan, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said.

Speaking at the start of a regular weekly Cabinet meeting on June 22, hours before his government faces a vote in Parliament on a motion of no confidence, Petkov said that the deadline for approving the EU funds management legislation was June 30.

He said that, again because of the lack of a quorum, Higher Education Act amendments also were not dealt with, meaning that joint education among the various universities could not happen.

Petkov said that although GERB, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Vuzrazhdane and ITN together had ousted Nikola Minchev as Speaker, they could not even come up with a proposed nominee to replace Minchev.

The election of a new Speaker had been intended to be the first item on the agenda of the June 22 sitting.

Bulgarian National Radio reported Georgi Svilenski, parliamentary leader of ruling coalition partner the Bulgarian Socialist Party, as describing the denial of a quorum as “another sabotage of the work of the Bulgarian Parliament”.

“It became clear that in these parliamentary groups, which aspire to rule the country, have no responsibility regarding the future of Bulgaria,” Svilenski said.

Atanas Atanassov, co-leader of ruling coalition partner Democratic Bulgaria, said that “co-ordination between the new ruling majority” – meaning GERB, MRF, Vuzrazhdane and ITN – “had become apparent”.

Atanassov told bTV that the vote of no confidence was expected to pass: “Such are the signs”.

He pointed to the co-ordinated actions of the four opposition parties – which together now outnumber the ruling coalition in terms of seats.

Should the motion of no confidence pass, the plan of the Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change party, the largest group in Parliament, is to accept the first mandate to seek to form a government, and to come up with one within the framework of the current Parliament.

A massive turnout is expected for a pro-government protest scheduled to begin outside the Parliament building 40 minutes before the scheduled 7.10pm start of the evening sitting for the vote on the motion of no confidence.

(Photo of Petkov: government.bg)

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