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Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric

Anti-Xenophobic Rhetoric President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev

On February 18, 2014, President Rosen Plevneliev stated that he is prepared to convene the Advisory Council on National Security to discuss civil peace. President urged politicians to “change the partisan approach and hate speech to tolerance”.

On February 20, President also stated, “deputies of BSP confirmed that, if necessary, they will support the convening of the Advisory Council on National Security to discuss extremism and hate speech. I will closely monitor the process and exchange information with political parties, and will convene the Council if necessary”. President expressed his categorical rejection of all forms of extremism, promising to “restrict it by any means.

On February 18, President and Prime Minister of Bulgaria R. Plevneliev and P. Oresharski made a joint declaration against xenophobia. “In recent days and weeks we have witnessed events dangerous for democracy and unity of our nation. Attempts to impose hatred and intolerance towards differences, setting up Bulgarian citizens against each other, playing around with ethnic peace and hate speech is unacceptable and must be categorically condemned… Efforts of all institutions, political parties, organisations, as well as their individual members must be directed at preventing the imposition of intolerance, calming the tensions and termination of divisions in society.”

On July 3, President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev stated that the flood in Bulgaria showed the solidarity of Bulgarians irrespective of religion or belief, and members of all religious communities and churches opened their hearts to victims. “People saw how Muslim refugees help restore Orthodox temples. This is happening here and now, in Bulgaria, and shows that solidarity is the universal value.”

On September 24, after meeting with American Jewish organisations in New York, President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev said that manifestations of xenophobia and anti-Semitism should not be tolerated, they have to be discussed by institutions and the civil society. Plevneliev stressed that hate speech and extreme nationalist rhetoric is completely unacceptable among political parties in the EU.

On December 16, President Rosen Plevneliev lit the first candle of Hanukkah in the Sofia synagogue. During his speech he said that hate speech cannot be tolerated. President also urged everyone to always remember the salvation of Bulgarian Jews in the Second World War, and in the recent years – Bulgarian firefighters who assisted in extinguishing fires in Israel in 2013.

On February 24, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry protested against Ukraine’s abolition of the Law on State Language Policy, stating that this is a mistake. Bulgarian authorities took immediate measures to clean the desecrated monument in Sofia. According to Parliamentary Speaker Mihail Mikov, this was done by volunteers. “Such hooliganism should not tarnish the general attitude of Bulgarians towards monuments of Soviet and Russian soldiers. Bulgarians remember and value what Russian and Soviet soldiers have done for Bulgaria, what they spilled their blood for.”

On May 20, during a visit to the Memorial "Yad Vashem" in Jerusalem, the Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said: "This place deserves a great bow for the memory of all the victims of the Holocaust. It obliges us to remember and to work to ensure that it never happens again".

On November 27, speaking at the National Assembly of Bulgaria, head of DANS Vladimir Pisanchev said that there is still a threat of radical Islamism in Bulgaria. “There is a growing conflict, a growing threat and we must pay very close attention to it,” he said. At the same time, he noted that there is no specific threat to Bulgaria.

On December 17, Chief Mufti of Bulgaria Mustafa Haji met with Vladimir Pisanchev and assured him that the Muslim administration is making every effort to avoid radicalisation of Muslims in the country. Head of DANS Pisanchev thanked the Mufti for the meeting and said that such meetings need to be conducted more often. He also said that the two institutions should work together and such cooperation has a lot of potential.

On March 13, Bulgarian politician of Turkish origin Tchetin Kozak stated his intention to appeal to ECHR if his country does not create conditions for the use of languages other than Bulgarian. He told journalists that “We want to have a clear response from the government, is the use of mother tongue a fundamental human right?”

In October 2019, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov called on former goalkeeper and Bulgarian Football Union president Borislav Mikhailov to resign after the referee temporarily stopped a match on Monday to address insults by fans against black English players during their Euro 2020 qualifier. According to Borisov, racism in sports is unacceptable and Bulgarian soccer's management should be held personally responsible for the fans' actions.

Borisov said.

On May 15, 2021, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev spoke out against the proposal to demolish the Soviet Army monument in Sofia. According to the press service of the head of state, Radev made his statement on Saturday, commenting at the request of journalists on another initiative to move the monument. "Every monument is a witness of its time. I am against the destruction of monuments," Radev said. The reason for the journalists' question was the aggressive statements of a small but active group of Bulgarian politicians who, on the days of the 76th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, again proposed dismantling the monument and transferring its remains to a museum of socialist art.

The day before, the Sofia City Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party also adopted a declaration against the idea of dismantling and moving the Soviet Army monument in the Bulgarian capital.

Disputes over the monument have erupted repeatedly in Bulgaria. The decision to dismantle it was made by the Sofia City Council in 1993, but due to protests by supporters of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the dismantling work was halted. Later none of the mayors of Sofia ever dared to carry out the Council's decision. At the same time, the monument is often a target for vandals.

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