Bulgaria. In October, investigative TV journalist
Viktoria Marinova was found raped and murdered in a park in
the city of Ruse. According to
Countryaah.com, Marinova led an investigative program
which included, among other things, corruption with EU
funds. In the first program, business peaks and politicians
were highlighted. A 20-year-old man was later arrested in
Germany and extradited to Bulgaria. According to Bulgarian
Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov, it is not possible to
say whether the murder is linked to Marinova's work as a
At least 15 people were killed and 27 were then injured
in a tourist bus in April driven by the highway near the
capital Sofia. According to new figures from the European
Commission, road safety in Bulgaria and Romania is the worst
in the EU, with about four times as many deaths per
inhabitant compared to Sweden (which has the best safety).
On the other hand, the European Commission notes that
European roads are the safest in the world. More than 25,000
people died in the European in traffic in 2017, which
corresponds to 49 people in 1 million residents.
According to a report published in September, the Swedish
clothing chain H&M failed to allow textile workers in the
supply chain to receive so-called living wage. This applies,
among other things, to subcontractors in Bulgaria.
At a speech in November on the 29th anniversary of the
fall of communism and dictator Todor Zhivkov, President
Rumen Radev harshly criticized the sitting right-wing
government. He said, among other things, that "the threats
to the foundations of democracy are now at a critical level"
and aimed partly at neo-Nazi forces in the country and
partly at the suspicions of widespread corruption.
In July, the National Assembly very quickly adopted a new
law on terror, which only weakly and in broad terms defined
"terrorist act". The law gives the president the right to
declare state of emergency - after parliament has approved
it - in the wake of a terrorist act. Under the state of
emergency, the authorities may arbitrarily issue general
bans on public voting, meetings and demonstrations. The law
also contained a number of administrative provisions,
including travel bans and the control of citizens' movement
and association activities, which could be used against
anyone suspected of "preparing or planning a terrorist act".
The November 2016 presidential election was won by Rumen
Radev. He got 25.4% of the vote in the first round against
22.0 for Tsetska Tsacheva. In the second round, he got 59.4%
versus 36.2% for Tsacheva. Radev was previously a commander
in the Air Force, independent but supported by the Social
Democracy. He was inaugurated as the country's president in
January 2017. Two days after the election, Prime Minister
Boyko Borisov filed his resignation petition when his party
GERB lost the presidential election. A new parliamentary
election was held in March 2017. At that, Borisov's GERB
advanced 11 seats and gained 95 out of Parliament's 240
seats. The Socialist BSP coalition passed 41 seats and
gained 80. Despite the decline, Borisov was able to form a
new coalition government with the Nationalist UP.
There is widespread suspicion that the Prime Minister and
GERB have links to the economic crime in the country.
In October 2018, investigative journalist Viktoria
Marinova was raped and murdered in Ruse in the northern part
of the country on the border with Romania. Marinova had for
some time worked on the detection of fraud with EU funds in
the country. She was the third EU journalist killed within a
year. The European Commission's Frans Timmerman called on
the Bulgarian authorities to make every effort to resolve
the murder. However, like the murders in Slovakia and Malta,
it is questionable if this happens, as the country's top
authorities were themselves involved in the criminal
activities investigated by the journalists.