Bulgaria-Overview

Bulgarian civil society has become more active and visible in recent years, with mass mobilisation against corruption and collusion between business and the state bringing thousands onto the streets. This increasing activism was reflected in a recent survey, which showed a relatively active citizenry, and strong interest in increasing opportunities for citizen engagement and direct democracy. Although societal dialogue is largely peaceful, tensions in some places have increased between Bulgaria’s sizeable Roma minority, resulting in some fractious public gatherings by anti-Roma groups. The Europe-wide refugee crisis has also led to an increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric in Bulgaria. While free expression is guaranteed in law, serious problems beset the country’s media sector, which is heavily influenced by powerful political and business interests.