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Parliament Votes Down Left's Draft Resolution to Lift Sanctions against Russia

Parliament Wednesday voted down a draft resolution moved by BSP for Bulgaria on lifting the EU sanctions  against Russia. The motion was rejected by a vote of 60 against, 51 abstentions and 82 in favour.

The draft document was backed by the MPs of BSP for Bulgaria, four independents from the Ataka party, one MP of the United Patriots and seven MPs of Volya - The Bulgarian Patriots. The votes against came from 51 MPs of GERB and nine of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Those who abstained were 37 MPs of GERB
 and 14 of the United Patriots.

Besides calling for the lifting of the EU sanctions, the draft resolution assigned the National Assembly Chairperson to inform the European Parliament and the legislatures of the EU Member States of the decision.

Anton Koutev (BSP for Bulgaria), who presented the motion, stressed that the adoption of the document would not entail commitments for the Bulgarian government and that more than 60 per cent of Bulgarians also want the sanctions against Russia lifted. The Left described the sanctions against Russia as "ineffective", and the independents from the Ataka party concurred with them.

Plamen Manoushev (GERB) argued that while the sanctions concern 150 natural and 45 juristic persons, no one said anything about Russia's countersanctions of 2014, which affect Bulgarian producers of foods and fresh products. "Significantly, in 2016 Russia's former prime minister Medvedev urged against lifting them," said Vice Admiral Manoushev, asking why Parliament did not call for the lifting of the Russian countersanctions.

Toma Bikov (GERB) commented that the draft resolution was more consistent with the agenda of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) than with Bulgaria's agenda. "The problem is you do not suggest anything, you have embarked on your campaign, you want to state your position on Russia - obviously, this is a very important topic in your party," he said.

Bikov added: "Why today? Why not at the time of the caretaker government appointed by [President] Radev [in 2017] when the sanctions were extended? At that time the debate could have taken place at government level and in the EU Council whose meetings were attended by President Radev."


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