Swoboda: Bulgarian Police Restrained, Political Culture Improves
Hannes Swoboda, the leader S&D in the European Parliament, has said there were no other European countries where police acted with such restraint during protests.
The leader of the EP Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialist and Democrats made the statement Friday after meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski.
Regarding outrage among the antigovernment protesters in Bulgaria over claims of members of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, they have been paid to attend the rallies, Swoboda was firm he was not the one to comment on this.
According to him, every protest must be taken seriously.
"Two incidents in your country struck me – checks of people who came on a bus to the capital Sofia to protest and the one in the Black Sea city of Varna where the police requested lists of names of individuals who are members of the opposition Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB," said Europe's top socialist.
He noted Oresharski has assured him he was taking the protests in the country and both cases very seriously, stressing their meeting has been very interesting and also included topics about Bulgaria and the European Union.
"Bulgaria has made a number of significant improvements in its political culture since my last visit. GERB ended the boycott and came back to the Parliament as a real opposition should do. The PM and the government started a dialogue with civil society, and I, myself, will meet with representatives of antigovernment protesters to hear how they intend to help the country's rulers," stated Swoboda.
He also noted that Bulgaria needs an overall reform along with changing the public tenders' procedure to allow smaller companies to participate in an effort to change the past practice of a small number of large ones winning all bids.
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