In the last few years, Bulgaria has faced challenges regarding the civil society similar to those in some other countries of Central and Eastern Europe: smear campaigns against groups of CSOs, increasing anti-EU propaganda and actions stigmatizing human rights groups.
62 civil society organizations signed a letter to the European Commission representatives asking them to:
- Make a clear public statement on the importance of civil society;
- Urge the Bulgarian government to protect civic space and stand against hate campaigns questioning the need for civil society organizations;
- Meet with Bulgarian CSOs in order to discuss their concerns and support the organizations in reaffirming core EU values and principles.
In the meantime, the Advocate General in the European Commission v Hungary lawsuit concerning a law adopted by the country in 2017 (which obliges civil organizations receiving funding from abroad to be entered in a special register and present themselves as receiving financial support from abroad) published its opinion on the case. In essence, the conclusion states that this piece of Hungarian legislation contradicts EU law, namely to the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (as regards the free movement of capital) and fundamental human rights layed out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU (including the right to freedom of assembly and association).
You can find the Opinion of the Advocate General here. The EU Court of Justice is yet to rule on the case.