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Antoaneta Dimitrova Discusses the Demonstrations in Bulgaria on Dutch NPO Radio 1

Over the past 40 days people in Bulgaria been demonstrating against the deep-rooted corruption in the country. The anger of the protesters is directed predominantly at the government of Prime Minister Borisov. But not all arrows are aimed at their own leaders, some are also pointing towards Brussels. Where there is considerable support for the pro-European Borisov.

'The protests are not very big at this moment’, says Antoaneta Dimitrova, Professor Comparative Governance at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs of Leiden University. 'There have been days when more than 100,000 people took to the streets. When you compare these protests with the protests of 2013, you could say that this year's protests is more widely supported by the entire society. Apart from the students, professionals, and eco-activists that were present at the protests in 2013, this time the older generation is also protesting against Prime Minister Borisov. Although the prime minister is not the only one to blame for the problems with corruption. The problem is also the responsibility of the chief prosecutor of the country. The rule of law is being eroded'. 


European subsidies are a likely cause for the problems in Bulgaria. The power of the oligarchs and corrupt persons within the judicial authority is very likely made possible thanks to European subsidies, at least, according to the main opposition leader in Bulgaria. Dimitrova believes that the European subsidies are not the biggest problem, European support is: 'At the beginning of the protest in July, Borisov was backed by the European People's Party and the liberals. That is just as big a deal as the European subsidies, if not more.'

You can listen to the full segment (in Dutch) on the website of NPO Radio 1.

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