Bulgarians in Bulgaria have begun an unlikely but effective campaign to force the European Union to withdraw from a deal with Greece, calling on the bloc to pull back the cash they will provide for the bailout.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov announced Monday he will ask European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to reconsider his decision on the Greek aid package in a letter to the bloc’s president, Jose Manuel Valls.
Valls, a former Bulgarian prime minister, last month rejected the plan to offer the aid in a deal struck with Greece.
Bulgaria and the EU had agreed to extend the assistance through April 30.
The deal was meant to be a way to ease Greece’s financial burden in exchange for help with debt repayments and other reforms, including lifting capital controls.
The Bulgarian prime minster has said the aid package, which has been negotiated between Greece and its main creditors, would cost Bulgaria a minimum of 1 billion euros ($1.6 billion).
The EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank have pledged to match Bulgaria’s $1.4 billion payment to Greece.
But with the aid still unpaid, Bulgaria’s finances are in shambles.
The country is saddled with debt of up to 100 billion euros, which will grow with inflation and rising interest rates.
In an effort to get the aid deal approved, Bulgaria had to promise that it would cut its deficit to 4.2 percent of gross domestic product by 2019.
Bulgaria has already missed that target.
In a letter on Monday, Bulgaria said it was now considering “a number of options to withdraw the aid” if the bloc doesn’t act.
Bulgaria, with the third-largest economy in the bloc, is one of the countries in the EU that is the most indebted.
It also called on Barrosche to reconsider the aid and its financing, arguing that the bailout has been “bought and sold for years.”