Bulgaria MPs Reject Call to End Russia Sanctions

Bulgarian MPs rejected a proposal of the opposition Socialist Party, which would have tasked Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov with asking the European Council to remove Russian MPs from the EU travel black lists.

The black list was drawn up in protest against Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The proposal gained only 49 votes from the Socialist MPs and from representatives of the other pro-Russian parties, the left-wing Alternative for Bulgarian Revival, ABV, and the ultra-nationalist Ataka.

The Socialist MPs who filed the text, led by their former chairman, Mihail Mikov, called for "strengthened parliamentary contacts between the EU and Russia with the aim of a staged normalization of relations and creating unity of action against international terrorism".

The proposed resolution qualified the travel bans on Russian officials as "inexpedient and a breach of democratic rules".

According to the backers of the text, the EU travel bans on Russians have hampered important political, cultural and economic cooperation between Russia and the EU states.

However, 39 MPs opposed the initiative and another 39 refrained from voting. MPs from the Bulgarian Democratic Center did not show up at the plenary session.

During the debates on Wednesday, Socialist MP Valeri Jablianov said that if parliament supported his party's proposal, it would stop the government from continuously ignoring public opinion.

"The Bulgarian pubic did not support sanctions against Russia from the moment they were imposed. It is against aggravating relations with Russia," he said.

Mihail Mikov went further, calling the travel restrictions forced by the EU on Russian parliamentarians, a "nonsense", which had...

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