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Old 20.02.2013, 17:03
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Bulgarian Government Resigns?

So the Bulgarian government is resigning amid protests and unrest in Bulgaria. The PM cites the continuing violent clashes between police and protesters as the reason; he does not wish blood on his hands. I've read differing things on this from news agencies, but the general consensus is that this is another anti-austerity issue. However, I read some comments that made me think there's much more to this, some erroneous and possibly intentionally uncorrected charges by CEZ, a Czech-owned energy corporation, retaliatory fines by the (outgoing?) Bulgarian government, and maybe some more... Some of these actions were also allegedly against EU rules.

Since Bulgaria isn't one of the countries that pops up a lot in the US News Media, I don't know much about this, I'd like to hear some more thoughts. Is this just a Bulgarian issue, or will it significantly affect Central Europe and/or the EU? If so, how and why?

Here's some more reading:
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/20/wo...tml?hpt=ieu_c2
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Old 21.02.2013, 10:52
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Re: Bulgarian Government Resigns?

Quote:
Many Bulgarians remain deeply unhappy over high energy costs, power monopolies, low living standards and corruption. ...Mr Borisov - a former bodyguard to Bulgaria's Soviet-era dictator Todor Zhivkov ...
This may have as much to do with democracy and corruption as with pure economic issues. Bulgaria ranks second lowest among the EU countries in the Economist's 2011 democracy index.
Quote:
Denmark 3
Sweden 4
...
UK 18
(cf. USA 19)
...
France 29
...
Poland 45
...
(cf. Mexico 50)
Bulgaria 52
...
(cf. Colombia 55)
Romania 59
... and second lowest in Transparency International's 2012 corruption perception index:
Quote:
Denmark/Finland 1
Sweden 4
...
UK 17
(cf. USA 19)
...
France 22
...
Slovenia 37
...
Hungary 46
...
Romania 66
...
Bulgaria 75 (cf. Liberia, Tunisia 75)
...
Greece 94

Last edited by Reb77Br; 21.02.2013 at 11:05.
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Old 21.02.2013, 11:00
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Re: Bulgarian Government Resigns?

I am no expert, but as I understand it the increase in energy bills was a spark that unleashed wider dissatisfaction with the governing elites. It is no doubt connected to anti-austerity, but is fed by a wider perception that the political elites are remote and unresponsive to the wider population's needs, and the political system of elections that offers little prospect for to change. I know that this a widely held view in Romania at least. Lots of Romanians have told me that there's no point voting in elections cause they are all as corrupt as each other and that is all that they have to choose from. This is of course a widely held view in the rest of Europe as well, but theres a greater sense of apathy about the system delivering anything. The provision of EU money papered over the cracks and led some to benefits, however the distribution of money was overseen by pays offs and favours, and now that the EU finally woke up to the fact that the hotel that they gave money to build does not actually exist, they have tightened regulations and of course the EU has less money to give now. Hence, the construction boom ended. However, the official and informal practices based on distributing this money still exists. And thus the ordinary person is totally disaffected from the govt and political system.
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Old 21.02.2013, 11:08
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Re: Bulgarian Government Resigns?

From what I understand, this now-outgoing government came into power on a platform of rooting out the corruption, which may have been too lofty goal, and of moderate austerity measures. The impetus for the civil unrest came about due to energy costs, but not steadily high energy costs, rather a sudden spike in energy costs from a foreign energy supplier. This aspect apparently fueled the level of mistrust and coupled with the size of the company as well as its majority ownership by a foreign government has created more of an international angle to the story. This has been compounded by the Bulgarian government reaction, portions of which are claimed to have violated EU rules, but are still seen as too modest and not solving the problem by the Bulgarians that took to the streets.
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Old 21.02.2013, 11:13
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Re: Bulgarian Government Resigns?

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Since Bulgaria isn't one of the countries that pops up a lot in the US News Media, I don't know much about this, I'd like to hear some more thoughts
I thought the only country that regularly popped up a lot in the U.S. media was the U.S?
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Old 21.02.2013, 11:15
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Re: Bulgarian Government Resigns?

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I thought the only country that regularly popped up a lot in the U.S. media was the U.S?
Yeah, probably similarly to the UK popping up in the UK media, Germany in German media, and Switzerland in Swiss media...
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