Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ilhan Kyuchyuk submitted in writing questions to the European Commission (EC) about the measures it is taking against the rise of antisemitism and hate speech by public figures in Bulgaria.
“In recent years, Bulgaria has experienced disturbing surge in public hate speech and antisemitism. This trend is exacerbated by the pretext of freedom of expression, as populist factions persistently exploit this right to undermine tolerance and foster climate of hostility,” Kyuchyuk’s letter to the EC reads.
“The rise in hate speech has been cause for great concern and fears of the normalization of antisemitic rhetoric and behaviour. The latest examples are former Minister of Jewish origin being called a traitor and a photo-collage shared in the Telegram group of the Revival [Vazrazhdane] party, depicting another former Minister of Jewish origin, known for pro-Euro-Atlantic views, with accompanying text suggesting releasing gas on him for standing against Russian gas,” the letter reads.
The Bulgarian MEP is asking the Commission the following questions:
1 What measures is the Commission taking to tackle hate speech by public figures provided with high platforms and consistent record of antisemitic and antiminority expressions?
2 Have all measures envisaged by Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA with regard to public incitement to violence or hatred been effectively employed?
3 Under the first EU Strategy on Combating Antisemitism, Member States committed to prevent and fight antisemitism through national strategies, measures, action plans. How will the Commission ensure curbing antisemitism offline and online and provide protection from antisemitism in public spaces as pledged?
The letter, submitted by Kyuchyuk, is signed by 36 MEPS from Renew Europe, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and the European People’s Party. Among the Bulgarian MEPs who have signed are Emil Radev, Alexander Yordanov, Andrey Kovatchev, Tsvetelina Penkova, Elena Yoncheva and Andrey Novakov.