Borissov’s party shuns EU treaty opposing violence against women
SOFIA – Reuters
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has said that the ruling GERB party is withdrawing a European treaty designed to combat violence against women from ratification in parliament over opposition expressed by religious and political groups.
The center-right government, led by Borissov, submitted the Council of Europe convention for ratification last month but the move divided opinion in the European Union’s poorest country, which now holds the EU’s rotating presidency. The dispute overshadows Borissov’s efforts to present Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, as a progressive country during its first stint as chair of the bloc.
It also highlights widespread resistance among the more socially conservative countries of the former eastern bloc to the liberal values of wealthier western Europe. Speaking to Bulgarian television station bTV, Borissov said that GERB would not proceed with the ratification of the treaty, also known as the Istanbul Convention, due to lack of support from political parties, including the nationalist United Patriots, its junior coalition partner. A few days ago, Volen Siderov, one of United Patriots’ co-leaders, said that if GERB sought parliamentary approval for the treaty, this could lead to the fall of the government and early parliamentary elections.
“We will adopt the Istanbul Convention only if there is a consensus in Bulgarian society,” Borissov said during an interview on Feb. 14, three weeks after his party decided to delay the vote.