Nationalist Party MEP Roberta Metsola has received a torrent of criticism from Bulgarian nationals on social media – and a fair share of abuse – after moving amendments to a resolution focusing on rule of law concerns in Bulgaria.
The MEP presented the amendments as the European People’s Party coordinator on the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.
Many have, however, interpreted them as the EPP’s attempt to defend one of its own, populist Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who has been facing ongoing anti-government protests since July over allegations of corruption and state capture.
Metsola’s amendments were defeated, and the MEP insisted that they had been misrepresented.
But the damage was done. Her latest Facebook post – which was in Maltese – was flooded by comments from Bulgarian nationals, as was her Twitter account. The more offensive posts appear to have been scrubbed, but Metsola did highlight a vulgar, and abusive, message addressed at her at her mother. The MEP flippantly replied that she would let her mother know, subsequently adding on Twitter that she graciously declined the suggestion made.
Labour MEPs condemn PN counterparts on vote
In a statement, the Labour Party’s MEPs castigated both Metsola and her colleague David Casa for voting against the EP resolution, and criticised the amendments proposed by the MEP.
They insisted that the amendments served to dilute the criticism of the Bulgarian government which was included in the resolution.
The MEPs said that Metsola sought to remove references to the deterioration of the rule of law and democracy in Libya, as well as threats to media freedom and corruption.
They contrasted this with Metsola and Casa’s endorsement of resolutions which levelled similar charges against Malta.