Bulgarian far-right tempts voters with NATO exit pledge

Bulgarian far-right tempts voters with NATO exit pledge

Pro-Russian party Vazrazhdane has introduced a bill that would have Bulgaria withdraw from the NATO military alliance the month the country celebrates its 20th anniversary of joining.

NATO membership is detrimental to Bulgaria’s national security, the party argues, echoing the Kremlin’s main talking point, often spread through pro-Russian disinformation channels on social media.

“NATO is the repressive apparatus of the USA, where the member states are anything but equal partners,” the argument for the bill reads.

The party claims that the military conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, Israel and the Palestinians, and Armenia and Azerbaijan are being fuelled and supported with weapons by the US.

In his justification for the bill, Vazrazhdane makes no mention of Russia’s war in Ukraine, nor its occupation of 20% of internationally recognised territory, nor NATO’s lack of involvement in the other two conflicts mentioned.

Regardless of their efforts, Vazrazhdane’s bill cannot be adopted by parliament.

More obviously, the pro-Russian, anti-European party is using the bill as a ploy to rile up voters further, especially its hardline constituency, ahead of the European elections in early June.

So far, the party has come out clearly in favour of Bulgaria’s withdrawal from NATO but has no clear position on EU membership. Last month, a Vazrazhdane delegation visited the Kremlin at the invitation of Putin’s United Russia party, after which it announced that it had joined the conservative ECR group in the European Parliament and that it had started a partnership with Germany’s far-right AfD a year ago.

According to the latest sociological research, support for the party in the EU elections is expected to be around 13% with a turnout of 30%, while support at the national level is expected to be around 10% if early parliamentary elections are held with an expected higher turnout (around 40%).

Since the start of the year, the party has been trying to revive opposition to Bulgaria’s accession to the eurozone, which is expected in 2025.

The party is also trying to drum up opposition to new renewable energy projects, particularly plans to build large offshore wind farms in the northern part of the Bulgarian Black Sea shelf.

Source: Euractiv

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