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Commenting article: The Hysterical Anti-EU Rhetoric In Bulgaria Is Irrational

Last week's official start of the campaign for the European Parliament elections in Bulgaria, opened the floodgates of hysterical anti-EU rhetoric. 

The bleating populists, of which there is no shortage in Bulgaria, are attempting to convince the public that the EU is a very bad thing and that people should vote to send them in the European Parliament, so they can destroy “the enemy” from within. 

What in the past few months was just a trickle, threatens to become a tidal wave of “patriotic” blabber, which will drown out all reasonable debate and constructive criticism of the EU. 

The loudest of them all is the controversial nationalist leader of Ataka, Volen Siderov, who abandoned all pretense of patriotism and became openly pro-Russian. He claims that the EU brings to Bulgaria “europederasty” (sic!), “gay marriages”, “colonialism” and tries to uproot the traditional high morality of Orthodox Christianity and impose “their values”. This is why he wants to sit in the European Parliament. 

This is the same Volen Siderov who was stripped of his immunity as MP and accused of hooliganism after earlier this year he made a scandal on a flight to Varna and hit a police officer at the Varna airport. This very same Siderov who, along with supporters, physically attacked Muslims during their Friday prayer in Sofia in 2011. 

This very same Siderov who on Friday launched his campaign for the European elections in … Moscow. There he received an order Star of the Fatherland for his contribution to the relations between Bulgaria and Russia and promised that whenever he becomes a prime minister of Bulgaria, the country will leave NATO and EU and will return to “full relations with Russia, whom we consider a brother nation”. 

Fortunately, so far the public opinion polls, however untrustworthy they are, don't give Siderov the slightest chance of becoming an MEP. This is not very comforting, considering that Siderov and his cohorts have an entire month and the funds to spread their anti-European and pro-Russian propaganda not only through their free newspaper and cable TV channel, but through billboards and paid publications and broadcasts in the affluent national media. 

Then there is the journalist-turned-politician Nikolai Barekov who plays on the socialist nostalgia and promises that Bulgaria would again become “people's republic” and claims that the “EU owes Bulgaria much more and must give it to us”. He also wants to be in the European Parliament, but only “until the early elections for Parliament in Bulgaria”. Fortunately, or not, he hasn't spoken directly against the EU, but the fact that he considers the Union just a piggy bank and blatantly lies to and misleads his potential voters, is alarming enough. What is more alarming, however, is that if polls are to be believed, Barekov has a fairly good chance of entering the European Parliament. 

Last, but not least, there is the current government, supported by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the Turkish ethnic party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), which increasingly acts as if Bulgaria is not an EU member. It is alarming that Government and Parliament tend to ignore EU law and pretend that the regulations and recommendations do not apply to Bulgaria and it can do whatever it pleases, especially regarding the South Stream pipeline. 

Both BSP and MRF have enough representatives in the European Parliament and will continue to do so. The two parties do not use anti-EU rhetoric, but the actions of their ministers speak for themselves. 

If polls from the beginning of this year are to be believed, about half of Bulgarians still think highly of the EU and see more benefits than negatives, though there is also a healthy amount of criticism. 

Apparently the EU is far from perfect and certainly has its problems and downsides, but in the end of the day the EU membership has brought only benefits to Bulgaria and the people see them. 

According to a survey of the Alpha Research agency from 2014, among the major benefits brought by the EU are travelling opportunities, better employment opportunities, increased competitiveness of Bulgarian companies, better consumer protection, better environmental protection, improvement of infrastructure and support for Bulgaria's agriculture. 

The same survey finds that 32% of respondents think that Bulgaria's EU membership has brought more benefits, 51% think situation hasn't changed much and only 17% think that Bulgaria incurred losses. 

Clearly the hysterical anti-EU propaganda is pandering to the sentiments of those 17%, but it is too loud and too persistent in its attempts to convince the majority that they are a minority and that the EU is something that it actually is not.

Not to mention that it is rather irrational to run for Member of the European Parliament if you want to withdraw your country from the EU.

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#1
Ivailo Ivanov - 5 Nov 2015 // 20:17:24

You should not worry dear friends.. we a moving in the right direction.. with the current trend of realization of Bulgarian citizens in EU not in Bulgaria.. we will see how the gypsy pay mortgages...... how the illegal immigrants do the computer programming..... how the global managers maintain local businesses in BG etch.. and we will judge about the EU achievements based in the real human point of view... EU is doing well but the slaves that pay the debts are simply vanishing...so EU is doing well but without the people that made it functioning.

#2
EDC - 26 Feb 2015 // 08:55:54

DOOMED ?
Go into the EU / EURO and find people who can not afford to buy food never mind pay bills ( penson 214e a WEEK and needs benefits to pay bills and live thats EU )
Do not go into EU /EURO costs get higher as BG in huge debt and it,s getting bigger by the minute people can not afford to live, the work that should be getting done is not to many people taking their cut ,workers not getting paid and needs benefits to live ?

#3
malak petko - 25 Feb 2015 // 20:45:11

Well now in January 2015 we increased our debt with 20 billion levs so!!!

in my opinion we are ruined

we do not have resources to pay it..

so I completely justify the anti European rhetoric!!!!

there is rationale in the anti European rhetoric!!

#4
Stuart Wilson - 12 May 2014 // 18:18:47

I have to say that this is an incredible example of objective reporting!!! Even more surprised to see that it is "Editorial". Surely you can have higher standards than this.

#5
Kiril Petrov - 3 May 2014 // 15:54:26

The man could be sick but he's definitely on to something. Otherwise what idiot will place EU interests above our national interests.

#6
StambolovsHands - 1 May 2014 // 15:48:06

Vladimir K., you'll be relieved to notice that this article is labeled as an editorial. You're welcome.

#7
Justme - 30 Apr 2014 // 18:07:24

Look how the EU screwed up Ukraine in only 2 months. Who is able to say they are a force for the better?

#8
Fr Jack Hackett - 29 Apr 2014 // 09:35:42

Bulgaria and other new EU countries are getting plenty of money out of the EU and I doubt very much if Russia would plug the financial gap if Bulgaria pulled out of the EU. However, the EU does seem to be on a mission to expand its range of operation and maybe has outgrown its capacity to take care of its existing members let alone take on more

#9
Voltron - 29 Apr 2014 // 09:24:12

So why don't you stop reading this website? It is clearly pro-European and if your values and opinions are vastly different, do yourself and the rest of us a favour and read other material that supports your views.

#10
Yane - 29 Apr 2014 // 02:55:10

Ataka are clowns, and Siderov is the biggest, stop calling him nationalist, he showed his true colors when he sided with the reds last election.

#11
Yane - 29 Apr 2014 // 02:53:43

Dimitrova is a disgrace! South Stream isn't illegal, if it was, the EU would have said so prior to Yanukovich signed deal with Russia instead of with EU. South Stream is all about punishing Russia because of Ukraine's choice (current Ukraine gov is illegal because of coup, has not participated in election o reach power). Dimitrova should start talk show together with Passy and Kostov, 3 clowns would fit perfectly together!

EU is trampling all over Bulgaria, EU's hostility towards Russia is bad for Bulgaria. This isn't the first time EU wants to ruing energy sector in Bulgaria, when Bulgaria was about to join the EU, they forced Bulgaria to shut down its nuclear plant even though it had passed all tests! Bulgaria lost billions simply because countries like France wanted to control energy n they sided with Romania.

EU and Ukraine are nothing but trouble!

#12
Vladimir K. - 28 Apr 2014 // 21:50:46

It's clear that this article is very inflammatory towards party ATAKA, and Russia in general.

As a newspaper, everything should be written as neutral to all sides. Not supporting a certain political view.

What I mean is "Fortunately, so far the public opinion polls, however untrustworthy they are, don't give Siderov the slightest chance of becoming an MEP. This is not very comforting, considering that Siderov and his cohorts have an entire month and the funds to spread their anti-European and pro-Russian propaganda not only through their free newspaper and cable TV channel, but through billboards and paid publications and broadcasts in the affluent national media. "

This is not very professional as it clearly says anti propaganda and expresses the views of whoever wrote this garbage.

Bulgaria news Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency - www.sofianewsagency.com) is unique with being a real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news. The editorial staff also publishes a daily online newspaper "Sofia Morning News." Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency - www.sofianewsagency.com) and Sofia Morning News publish the latest economic, political and cultural news that take place in Bulgaria. Foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and World News in Brief are also part of the web site and the online newspaper. News Bulgaria