1⃣ Today, Borisov’s Bulgaria🇧🇬
A Mafia Boss in charge of the most corrupted country in Europe🇪🇺
2⃣Bulgaria🇧🇬 has the dubious distinction of having the highest level of corruption in the EU🇪🇺.
3⃣ Pictures of Borisov sleeping in his bedroom with a Glock 9mm handgun and bundles of €500 notes stuffed in his drawer have been leaked and sent around the world, as have recordings of his phone conversations, peppered with profanities and plots.
4⃣ Borisov has tried to shrug off the photos, arguing (in effect) that every-one must know that the prime minister of the most corrupt member of the EU🇪🇺 has to sleep with a gun.
5⃣ His detractors were out to get him, he said:
‘All that was missing was a little boy next to me.’
But even in a country hardened to corruption, all of this has raised questions.
6⃣ The focus of the ongoing anti-government protests is Borisov’s links to two men:
Ahmed Dogan, who used to run Bulgaria’s ethnic Turkish party
8⃣ Hristo Ivanov, a former justice minister who now heads the anti-corruption ‘Yes’ party, landed a dinghy on the beach, saying he wanted to plant a Bulgarian🇧🇬 flag in the sand.
He filmed the stunt on his mobile, released it on social media, and mayhem ensued.
9⃣ The main question people are asking: why is Borisov allowing taxpayers’ money to be used to provide security to a private billionaire?
🔟It’s pretty indefensible, but Borisov has found allies in the transnational European People’s party, the biggest group in the European Parliament.
Manfred Weber, group leader of the EPP, released a statement in support of the Bulgarian government’s ‘fight against corruption’.
1⃣1⃣ With protests still going on
— and Bulgarian🇧🇬 citizens chanting ‘Mafia’ outside their parliament —
a defiant Borisov somehow secured a €29 billion package from the EU🇪🇺.
1⃣2⃣ One protestor held up a sign that asked:
‘EU, are you blind?’
The most likely answer is that the EU🇪🇺 sees what it wants to see.
1⃣3⃣A Bulgarian🇧🇬 source who has links to the EU, Borisov is seen as a conduit to Turkey🇹🇷:
1⃣4⃣ Borisov is a political cab for hire:
as long as he keeps saying yes, he will receive his golden shower of euros.’
This might be a short-term strategy.
1⃣5⃣ Bulgarians🇧🇬 are now asking who else is in Borisov’s network and whether it might include forces outside parliament that are by no means friendly to European🇪🇺 interests.
1⃣6⃣ EU🇪🇺-backed plans for a pipeline that would cut Bulgaria🇧🇬’s reliance on Russian🇷🇺 gas have been repeatedly impeded by the Bulgarian state and — some say — Russian interests within the country.
1⃣7⃣ Julian Popov, environment minister in a former Bulgarian🇧🇬 caretaker government, said that his country offers easy strategic pickings for Moscow:
‘South–eastern Europe🇪🇺 is the cheapest way for Russia🇷🇺 to destabilise the EU.
1⃣8⃣ For the past 30 years there has been a vacuum, so it is very easy for corrupt forces to influence things.’
Borisov is now under pressure to resign, but it is far from certain that he will do so.
2⃣0⃣ Much of the money can be accounted for on paper — but the EU🇪🇺 should be probing who is getting the contracts and how competent is the infrastructure that is being delivered.
2⃣1⃣ They are rewarding loyalty at the expense of the rule of law.’
Krassen Stanchev, an economics professor at Sofia University, argues that EU🇪🇺 cash is being channeled to corrupt forces in Bulgaria 🇧🇬 in two ways.
2⃣2⃣ One is by directly distributing funds to businesses owned by Borisov cronies.
Of €200 million recently given to rural guest-house owners, much of it ended up being channeled to friends and families of the Bulgarian🇧🇬 government and political elite.
2⃣3⃣ The other channel is national infrastructure funding, which can be made to look entirely legitimate.
A highway construction project will be divided up into 10 to 20 kilometer stretches, deterring international companies from tendering.
2⃣4⃣ ‘This makes the road more expensive to build,’ Stanchev says.
‘It costs three times more to build a kilometer of highway in Bulgaria🇧🇬 than in Norway🇳🇴, despite the terrain and price of labour in Norway.’
And Brussels🇪🇺 seems happy to look the other way.
2⃣5⃣ Ivanov suspects that the EU🇪🇺’s tolerance of Borisov as its Turkey🇹🇷 whisperer points to a far deeper malaise.
‘An empire is at the point of eclipse when it allows its border policy to be handled by local warlords,’ he said recently.
2⃣6⃣ ‘Somebody in Berlin🇩🇪 is making a cynical calculation
-a billion more or less, who cares?
As long as you buy the good favours of Borisov and you keep him stable… who cares about some “tips”?’
Along the way, the interests of ordinary Bulgarians🇧🇬 have been forgotten.
2⃣7⃣ They are still living in a kleptocratic state — and all they can do is ask why so little has changed.
“Borissov meets Erdogan, gets assurance Bulgaria🇧🇬’s border will stay calm”
Mar 3, 2020
2⃣8⃣ “ERDOGAN PHONES BULGARIAN COUNTERPART OVER RISING ANTI-TURKISH STANCE”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has telephoned his Bulgarian counterpart over a rising anti-Turkish discourse in Bulgaria
Dec 17, 2009
2⃣9⃣ “Bulgarian🇧🇬 PM Borisov Accuses EU🇪🇺 Of Not Paying Turkey🇹🇷 In ‘Refugee Deal’”
The European Commission insists it has paid the money out in full, albeit to refugee aid organizations and not directly to the Turkish state.
3⃣0⃣ Sofia, Bulgaria🇧🇬 02nd Sep, 2020.
3⃣1⃣Oct 22, 2020
For more than 100 consecutive days, Bulgarians🇧🇬 fed up with pervasive corruption demonstrate
The protests expose the confusion surrounding the EU🇪🇺’s self-proclaimed goal of holding to account governments that undermine the rule of law
3⃣2⃣ But there is another calculation in the minds of Merkel🇩🇪 and her centre-right EU🇪🇺 allies
Borisov leads a party known as Gerb, Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria🇧🇬
Gerb provides crucial votes in the European Parliament for the European People’s party, EPP
3⃣3⃣EPP sprang to Borisov’s defense by opposing a European🇪🇺 Parliament resolution that condemned corruption and democratic backsliding in Bulgaria🇧🇬
The effort failed and the motion passed by 358 votes to 277 with 56 abstentions
Six EPP supported the resolution and 24 abstained
3⃣4⃣ The scale of Bulgarian🇧🇬 corruption is not in question.
In its latest assessment of the investment climate in Bulgaria, the US🇺🇸 state department said:
“Corruption is endemic, particularly on large infrastructure projects and in the energy sector.”
3⃣5⃣For the protesters in Sofia, the support for Borisov’s gov from other European🇪🇺 capitals is a demoralizing spectacle
A number of brave Bulgarian🇧🇬 lawyers, civic activists, journalists and politicians in minor parties do their best to draw attention to the corruption problem
3⃣6⃣ The recovery fund breaks new ground in that the EU🇪🇺 will for the first time borrow on capital markets to finance transfers to its member states.
The EU🇪🇺 is sure to face various dangers in the years ahead, but corruption may be the biggest of them all.
3⃣7⃣ Bulgarian🇧🇬 PM AGAIN Faces Money-Laundering Allegations
Anti-corruption prosecutors in the autonomous Spanish🇪🇸 region of Catalonia are investigating a money-laundering case with possible links to Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov