Residents of Bulgaria’s northwest region have started raising signatures for an independence declaration that would separate Vidin, Vratsa and Montana from the country, Nova TV reported, quoted by Novinite.com.
The separation would mean either the autonomy of the region or joining neighboring Romania, they said.
The separatists are unhappy with the corruption in Bulgaria and want to keep the region safe from it. “We should not be part of this corruption,” said Boris Kamenov, the movement’s initiator.
They also say Romania’s judicial system is more effective and the fight against corruption is better.
This week, Bulgarian president Rumen Radev rejected the anti-graft legislation passed by the country’s parliament, saying the bill did not offer the means to investigate corruption networks effectively, Reuters reported.
The legislation entailed the establishment of an anti-graft unit to investigate dignitaries and conflicts of interest. Pundits argued that the unit’s independence could be limited by a parliament-appointed management.
Issues of political interference into the judiciary were debated in Romania as well last year, as amendments to the justice laws and the criminal codes were made. Massive protests on these issues took place across the country throughout 2017.
Besides statements from several EU embassies and the US State Department, the Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) decided to carry out ad hoc urgent evaluations of the draft laws concerning the judiciary in Romania.
Part of northern Bulgaria used to be Romanian territory at the beginning of the 20th century. Between 1913 and 1940, the north-eastern Bulgaria region known as the Cadrilater used to be part of the Romanian Kingdom. It was ceded to Romania under the Treaty of Bucharest (1913), after Bulgaria’s defeat in the Second Balkan War. A castle of Romania’s Queen Marie, the wife of King Ferdinand I, was built and is still standing in Balchik, on the Black Sea coast.