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GERB and opposition at odds on Hungary sanctions in the EU

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GERB and opposition at odds on Hungary sanctions in the EU

Photo: BGNES

The ruling GERB party and the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) continued their clash Sunday over whose members of the European Parliament voted how on the proposed EU sanctions against Hungary. Each accuses the other of lying and the recriminations have made it clear that both parties have a principled position in support of Hungary.

"Not a single GERB member of the European Parliament voted in favour of the report that called for sanctions against Hungary," Andrei Novakov MEP (GERB/EPP) told a news conference, reacting to BSP leader Kornelia Ninova's allegations that GERB MEPs voted in favour of the proposed sanctions. Novakov said GERB's position has been highly consistent.

The news conference was prompted by "Mrs Ninova's blatant lies," Toma Bikov MP (GERB) said. According to Bikov, the four MEPs of the BSP "acted in four different ways": Sergei Stanishev voted in favour of the report, Momchil Nekov voted against it, Peter Kouroumbashev was in the chamber but did not vote, and Georgi Pirinski was not even in the chamber.

Bikov said Ninova convened the BSP Executive Bureau after the European Parliament vote.

On Friday, Ninova said that Stanishev, who is President of the Party of European Socialists, was the only one of the four BSP MEPs to support the sanctions against Hungary. Ninova called on Prime Minister and GERB leader Boyko Borissov to refrain from lying about the BSP and to look at the GERB MEPs, one of whom, Eva Maydell, refrained from voting.

Bikov also told Sunday's news conference that the GERB MEPs voted against the Hungary report "for reasons of principle" as they believe that none of the EU member states should be deprived of voting rights. "This is not a European policy," he argued.

Some of the ministers in Borissov's government proposed that Bulgaria should adopt an official position against the sanctions. Borissov himself has made it clear that he is opposed to the sanctions against Hungary.

Novakov added that the report which proposed sanctions against Hungary was delivered mainly with the support of the far left, anarchists, communists and greens. "I do not see how anyone who describes themselves as rightist would support it," he said. He noted that every time the European Parliament asks Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to explain this or that, he always does.

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