Bulgaria's rotating presidency of the EU, in whose name many Bulgarians have to put up with the "stability" of the Boyko Borisov rule, suffered an ignominious setback at an youth conference, in April. The allegations were voiced by Luis Alvarado, the chairman of the European Youth Forum.
Alvarado described the Sofia conference as a "textbook example" of what an youth conference should not be like, and billed it "shameful" because it was conducted in a perfunctory manner, young people were not given the chance to get their opinions heard and so on and so forth. The panels did not include any young people, but all the participants were treated to a speech by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov who in his inimitable manner reminded them that their first task was to "procreate," citing the example of a German minister who had seven children. Borisov was speaking to an assembly of young people, some of whom in disadvantaged positions, whose purpose was to discuss ways to improve the welfare of the EU's youth.
The participants in the conference were made to pay for their own air tickets, but were treated to free hard liquor and a show of "semi-naked women dancing on tables." According to Alvarado, some of them were unable to perform properly on the following morning owing to their exposure to booze, possibly meaning they suffered bad hangovers.
Furthermore, the GERB participants in the conference were orchestrated to perform standing ovations to the prime minister. As everyone in this country knows, there are few things that the current Bulgarian prime minister enjoys more than standing ovations.
GERB's youth organisation was quick to respond in an official statement to "categorically oppose any speculation and provocation aimed at smearing the reputation of Bulgaria and the agencies of the EU."
The EU, which had provided a grant for the conference, responded that it had the right to audit the expenditure reports. It said it would pay for coffee and breakfast but not for the Rakiya.