Bulgarian media in May: the EU's end is near

The Bulgarian president, Rumen Radev, feels good in Putin’s presence. Source: Facebook public page

In view of the upcoming Brexit and of the concern in many EU countries, in Bulgarian media are often noticed comments, analyzes and news regarding the disintegration of the alliance.

Тhe political scientist Ivan Krastev, a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times, explains the changes and tendencies in the EU and predicts future problems for the Union. In an interview for Deutsche Welle, Krastev says that the end of the current EU is near. Krastev also shares his opinion in an analysis for the French newspaper “Le Monde”. He says that Europe is afraid of the future and believes that the possibility of disintegration of the EU is real.

Of the same opinion as Krastev is Gergana Passy, former Minister of European Affairs in the government of Sergey Stanishev (he’s now the leader of the Party of European Socialists, back then he held the prime minister position with the support of the Bulgarian Socialists Party). “Europe today is very different from before. Now it consists of people and countries which don’t listen to one another. We saw a mini-version of this lack of understanding in Brexit”, explains Passy.

About this bad feeling concerning the EU future that people tend to have is also speaking Vesela Cherneva, director of the Bulgarian Office of the European Council for Foreign Policy. She analyzes a study conducted in 14 EU countries, study which examines the way people in Europe felt about the European Parliament elections. “A lot of the people have come to their senses, and the Bulgarians are no exception”, explains Cherneva in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio.

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, also refers to the problems that EU the has to deal with at the moment. “We don’t love each other and we’ve lost our collective libido”, says Juncker in an interview for the German Haldelsblatt, quoted by Politico and Guardian and also published in the Bulgarian media dnevnik.bg. Juncker also says that it gets more and more difficult for the EU leaders to convince the people that populism is no solution.

Russia, my love

All media in Bulgaria were extremely focused on the European Parliament elections held on the 26th of May.

Many newspapers, online portals etc published comments, columns and interviews given by politicians and various experts who do not support many of the the EU policies and therefor do not hesitate to express their opinion on that.

For Volen Siderov, the leader of the nationalist party “ATAKA” – as he tried to explain during a meeting (that took place in the Bulgarian Parliament) of the Bulgaria-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Group – some of the issues that prevent the EU and Bulgaria to get along are in regard to the sanctions against Russia: “Bulgaria needs to be bolder in its decisions and to clarify, in relation with Brussels, that our country is losing economically because sanctions were imposed to Russia.”

The leader of the Party of European Socialists and a mеmber of the European Parliament, Sergey Stanishev criticized the European People’s Party on the issue of “a huge misuse of the EU funds” and stated that this is scandalous.

Former vice prime minister of the current government of Bulgaria, Valeri Simeonov, who is also the leader of the nationalist political party “National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria” and a candidate (in May) for a seat in the European Parliament, is quoted in an interview for NOVA that the EU policy simply isn’t good for Bulgaria, due to the fact that the EU regulations are, in fact, just a set-back for the country who is under constant outside pressure.

The Bulgarian president, Rumen Radev, who is supported by the Bulgarian Socialists Party, is also usually expressing his opinion against the Bulgarian government and respectively is criticizing the EU policy. In a meeting with the Germasn Minister of the Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas, Radev stated that the EU needs more effective and working mechanisms to address the current challenges.

Stefan Tafrov, candidate for a seat in the European Parliament (supported by the “Democratic Bulgaria” party), also criticizes the EU, in an interview for NOVA. He believes that the EU is in crisis and the nationalist parties that become more and more popular are a consequence of Russia’s role in the EU policies.

The US – China trade war

One of the most commonly found topics in Bulgarian media in May is the US – China trade war. Many of the Bulgarian media outlets publish news and analyses every day on the subject.

24 chasa.bg has republished an analysis drafted by Virginie Montet, initially published by France Presse, according to which the price for the sanctions imposed by the US to China will eventually be paid by the American people.

Christine Lagarde, Chairman of the International Monetary Fund, has also shared her concerns about the US – China commercial issue: Lagarde warns that, should the Washington – Beijing trade tensions continue, the world economy is threatened.

The media outlet investor.bg has translated an article drawn up by an expert, Dan Kopf (initially published by the economic edition of “Quartz”), who argues that the US are going to be in trouble precisely because of the sanctions imposed to China. Kopf pointed out that the big problems is in connection with US imported goods, meaning that American companies, as importers, are to pay the tariffs, not the Chinese ones.

In May, the authors of this study examined 20 Bulgarian media outlets, the most relevant in terms of readership.

Most of the articles were provided by bnr.bg and 24chasa.bg (20 articles for each).

Dnevnik.bg is ranked on the second place with 18 articles.

On the third place is fakti.bg with 14 articles.

93 of the collected articles could be classified as “neutral”. 47 of those are news, the other 46 – analyses.

28 articles are labeled “biased” (17 of them are news, 11 are analyses).

The leader of the biased articles in May is fakti.bg (7 news and 7 analyses, both anti-EU and anti-US articles included). Right under fakti.bg comes nova.bg (6 news and 7 analyses, all of them anti-US articles).

Biased articles were also published by bnr.bg, dnevnik.bg, clubz.bg and baricada.org.

 

* The authors of this analysis/study divided the media articles into two categories (news and analysis), each classified as biased or neutral. A geographical criterion was also used to link the media articles to the EU and the US. According to this study, a piece of news is nothing more but a short article covering a fact or a statement whereas an “analysis” may be a column, an investigative piece or any other type of article that is based on several facts and statements that are premises for the conclusion that the author of the article wishes to make public. The neutral characteristic is attributed to those news and analyses that use actual quotes (and not made up or out of context ones), rely on fact checking and logical syllogisms, provide side relevant data (context) in order for the public to get the bigger picture. News and analyses are labelled as biased when, on the contrary, the journalist’s work is not compliant with all of the above: quotes are partial and/or manipulated/manipulative, there’s no vetting process, neutral context is not added (and when there’s some context provided, facts are selected to match the conclusion – which, in this sort of cases, is pre-set – and not the other way round).

 

Based on this report:

Антиевропейски настроения в медиите през май, свързани с евроизборите и търговската война САЩ-Китай