Open Letter from Civil Society Organisations: Legitimizing Politicians Sanctioned for Corruption Cannot be a European Value


The Ambassador of Belgium in Bulgaria, His Excellency Frédéric Meurice

Абонирайте се за бюлетина на АКФ, за да научавате за най-новите ни разследвания и анализи:

С натискане на бутона потвърждавате, че сте запознати с Политиката ни за поверителност

Copy to the Ambassador of Austria to Bulgaria, H. E. Andrea Ikić-Böhm; the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Bulgaria, H. E. Irene Plank; the Ambassador of Greece to Bulgaria, H. E. Alexios Liberopoulos; the Ambassador of Denmark to Bulgaria, H. E. Jes Brogaard Nielsen; the Ambassador of Estonia to Romania, H. E. Aune Kotli; the Ambassador of Ireland to Bulgaria, H. E. Martina Feeney; the Honorary Consul of Iceland in Bulgaria, Mrs. Tsvetelina Borislavova; the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain in Bulgaria, H. E. Alejandro Polanco Matta; the Ambassador of Italy to Bulgaria, H. E. Giuseppina Zarra; the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in Sofia, H. E. Haralambos Kafkarides; the Honorary Consul of Latvia in Bulgaria, Mr. Alexander Popov; the Honorary Consul of Lithuania in Bulgaria, Mr. Racho Rybarov; the Ambassador of Luxembourg in Bulgaria, H.E. Ronald Dofing; the Honorary Consul of Malta in Bulgaria, Mr. Borislav Boyanov; the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Bulgaria, H.E. Simon van der Burg; the Ambassador of Poland in Bulgaria, H.E. Maciej Szymanski; the Ambassador of Portugal to Bulgaria, H. E. Ana Maria Ribeiro da Silva; the Ambassador of Romania to Bulgaria, H. E. Brândușa Ioana Predescu; the Ambassador of Slovakia to Bulgaria, H. E. Vasil Grivna; the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to Bulgaria, H. E. Nataša Bergelj; the Ambassador of Hungary to Bulgaria, H. E. Miklós Boros; the Ambassador of Finland to Bulgaria, H. E. Kristina Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos; the Ambassador of France to Bulgaria, H. E. Joël Meyer; the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to Bulgaria, H. E. Jasna Ognjanovac; the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Bulgaria, H. E. Miroslav Toman; the Ambassador of Sweden, H. E. Katarina Rangnitt

Copy to the Ambassador of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Bulgaria, H. E. Dr. Rob Dixon; the Honorary Consul of Norway in Bulgaria, Ms. Venceslava Yanchovska, the Ambassador of the United States of America to Bulgaria, H.E. Kenneth Merten, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Bulgaria, H. E. Raymund Furrer

Your Excellency,

We address you following the official announcement by the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) of a meeting, held on 9 May 2024 at your residence, and attended by a delegation led by the co-chair of the movement, Delyan Peevski. According to the announcement, you had welcomed the delegation along with high-ranking representatives of the embassies of several European Union (EU) member states.

As civil society organisations long committed to the establishment of the rule of law in Bulgaria, we declare the following:

Despite the EU’s continued criticism concerning the state of the rule of law and anti-corruption efforts in the Republic of Bulgaria, these two issues remain as problematic as they were ten or twenty years ago. Evidence of this is abundant, with the activities of several ad hoc parliamentary committees which took it upon themselves to investigate specific high-level corruption schemes representing the most recent example. These futile recent efforts serve as yet another indication of just how high up in the judiciary (and other branches of government) one should look for the main causes of the problems in Bulgarian justice and law enforcement.

That is precisely why the meeting, held a few days ago and organised by you, between ambassadors of EU countries and the MRF co-chair, Delyan Peevski, sanctioned for corruption by the US and the UK, is causing us great concern.

Such meetings, especially on Europe Day, and one day prior to the start of the official campaign to elect representatives to the Bulgarian National Assembly and the European Parliament, represent a legitimisation of the current status quo. Such actions do not help to solve the problems of corruption and disrespect for the rule of law in Bulgaria. On the contrary, they encourage feelings of impunity on the part of Bulgarian politicians, and this — with European consent.

We fully understand that diplomats face challenges balancing institutional cooperation and political integrity, especially in countries with chronic corruption problems such as Bulgaria.

However, for us, meetings with a politician like Delyan Peevski, who has been sanctioned by the UK and the US for engaging in corrupt practices and has become one of the symbols of corruption in Bulgaria, represent a red line and go beyond acceptable compromise. You can find further arguments in support of the above claim in the analytical work published by our organisations, as well as in numerous reports, published over the course of many years, by independent media outlets and civil society organisations.

Considering the widespread and ongoing Russian disinformation and propaganda campaign in Bulgaria, we consider it extremely important that the representatives of the EU member states defend and promote European values in the country.

The legitimisation of politicians sanctioned for corruption cannot be a European value.

What we are expressing here is not simply the opinion of a few civil society organisations. The personal political rating of politicians sanctioned for corruption clearly shows that this opinion is shared by the overwhelming majority of Bulgarian citizens.

In this situation, we consider it necessary to hold a meeting between the representatives of the embassies of EU member states and representatives of civil society organisations, to which we commit to invite you as soon as possible.

We extend our goodwill and wish you all success in the name of our common European future.



Anti-Corruption Fund Foundation

Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives

Institute for Market Economics

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

Danaya Foundation