Bulgarian PM: We’ll stay out of Polish politics
‘We have to remain neutral, impartial,’ says Boyko Borisov, whose country has taken over rotating EU presidency.
SOFIA — Bulgaria will be impartial while holding the EU’s rotating presidency on the European Commission’s action against Poland over the rule of law, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said Thursday.
“We have to remain neutral, impartial,” Borisov told a press conference at the launch of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU.
Borisov’s stance was in marked contrast to that of European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, who said this week that the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is deeply authoritarian and would likely try to quit the European Union if the country stops being a net recipient of EU funds.
“I have no doubt that for PiS one of the goals is to ‘free’ Polish politics from the burden of the EU,” Tusk said.
Poland faces growing pressure from the European Commission over worries that the country is backsliding on its commitment to democracy. The Commission last month took the unprecedented step of triggering the Article 7 procedure, which could eventually lead to the suspension of Poland’s EU voting rights — a move Tusk called a “sad day.”
Borisov, who was speaking in Bulgarian, added that the “rule of law must be measured with clear indicators.” A Bulgarian diplomat said this doesn’t mean Bulgaria would veto any decision on Poland.
During a long press conference, Borisov defended the presence in Bulgaria’s coalition government of the far-right United Patriots, saying it reflects their success in last year’s election. He also rejected accusations that media freedom is in danger in the country. Sofia is the lowest ranked EU country on the World Press Freedom Index. He said “in no way we can control the media,” adding that journalists in Bulgaria “have absolute freedom.”
This article has been amended to reflect that Borisov’s remarks referred to Bulgaria’s presidency of the Council of the EU.