Concerns over Security Agency Choice Show Need for Bulgaria Reforms

Views on BG | June 18, 2013, Tuesday // 10:03
Bulgaria: Concerns over Security Agency Choice Show Need for Bulgaria Reforms Mass public protests followed Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's selection of a media mogul as the country's top security chief. Photo by BGNES

The Wall Street Journal

By Laurence Norman

BRUSSELS--The public protests that followed Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's selection of a media mogul as the country's top security chief highlight the need for further reforms in Bulgaria to "give confidence to the Bulgarian people," a European Union spokesman said Monday.

The prime minister, who has only been in office for a month, faced calls to resign from thousands of protesters over the weekend despite reversing last week's decision to pick 32-year-old Delyan Peevski as head of the national security agency DANS, AFP reported.

Asked about the situation, Olivier Bailly, a spokesman at the European Commission said the protests showed "the depths of concerns in Bulgarian society about the rule of law."

He said the controversy shows "the need for reform" in Bulgaria to create "procedures which can give confidence to the Bulgarian people."

Mr. Bailly, who confirmed that the Bulgarian prime minister will be in Brussels Friday to meet European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, said it is important the new security chief has the necessary qualifications to do the job.

A second spokesman, Mark Gray, said there were no plans to advance a December report on Bulgaria's application of EU rules in light of the situation. The monitoring reports are designed to highlight the progress of authorities in addressing concerns about corruption, rule of law and organized crime.

Mr. Oresharski warned Sunday the renewed political crisis might jeopardize Bulgaria's negotiations for EU aid between 2014 and 2020 and cost the newcomer billions of euros in lost subsidies, AFP reported.

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Tags: European Commission, Mark Gray, Olivier Bailly, protests, DANS, State Agency for National Security, Delyan Peevski, Plamen Oresharski, protesters, sofia, Brussels
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