On Friday Parliament discussed (more precisely - argued over) the legacy of the first one hundred days in power of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov's cabinet. Unsurprisingly, the main opposition party GERB called for a quick dissolution of what it perceives as a flawed coalition, followed by early elections. The radical pro-Russian party Vazrazhdana warned that it is launching preparations for mass protests against what it calls a "puppet regime". In other news:
Thousands gather at first mass pro-Ukrainian anti-war protest in the capital
An estimated 10-12,000 people gathered at the first mass rally in support of Ukraine and against Russian aggression on Thursday in central Sofia. The march attracted both Bulgarians and refugees from Ukraine, who crossed the Tsar Osvoboditel boulevard from the Presidency to Eagles' bridge to mark one month since the Kremlin ordered an all-out invasion of Ukraine. There are also marches planned for other cities for later this week, while Sofia will host an anti-war concert on Sunday afternoon at Slaveykov square.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces British troops will be deployed in Bulgaria
Just a day after NATO announced that it will boost its presence in four Eastern European countries, including Bulgaria, via the establishment of new battalion battle groups, the Prime Minister of the UK Boris Johnson promised "new deployment of UK troops to Bulgaria, on top of doubling our troops both in Poland and in Estonia". According to the Bulgarian President and Prime Minister, it is expected that the deployment would consist of "at least 150 troops". Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also said that his country is ready to bolster its troop presence in Bulgaria.
EU Prosecutors says construction material worth 6 mln euro seized in its first publicized Bulgaria operation
The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) announced on Friday it is investigating nine Bulgarian companies suspected of committing fraud to obtain EU funds. EPPO claims that on 22 March, 25 searches were conducted in Sofia and other cities in the districts of Sofia, Pernik and Montana, and 10 suspects were questioned by the General Directorate for Combating Organised Crime of the Bulgairan police at the request of the handling European Delegated Prosecutor and with the authorisation of Bulgaria's Specialized Criminal Court. "The people under investigation are the managers, owners and representatives of companies that had applied for and received EU funds under the 'Innovations and Competitiveness' operational programme They are suspected of participating in an organized criminal group and of presenting false documents and statements in order to illegally obtain these funds," EPPO said, adding that the investigations are still ongoing.