A group of US senators, including Bernie Sanders, urged Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev on Tuesday to reconsider the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal with the US and European Union (EU) after the Bulgarian parliament approved a controversial bill that would restrict Bulgarian citizens’ right to travel abroad.
The bill, which will go before the country’s upper house, will also limit Bulgarian citizens from joining EU or US civil service jobs.
Bulgarian President Rosen said he would consider the legislation if parliament approves it, according to the state news agency, RIA Novosti.
The EU-Bulgaria trade deal has been stalled in Brussels after a European Parliament committee criticized the deal’s investor-state dispute settlement provisions, and said Bulgaria was in violation of EU rules on trade and investment.
The deal is one of the biggest international trade deals in history.
The EU is currently trying to hammer out a deal with other nations to join the pact in a bid to counter China.
Bulgarians are demanding the EU and US move to end TTIP and the bill is expected to pass both houses of the Bulgarian Parliament.
The legislation will allow Bulgarians to be barred from joining the civil service in the US or the EU, or even from travelling abroad, as long as they are not working for an EU or American company.
It will also prohibit Bulgarians from being able to move to the US on tourist visas and to receive medical treatment, according the bill.
The lawmakers in the Bulgarian lower house also passed the bill on a vote of 52-46, without opposition from any party.
The country is a member of the EU.
The controversial bill is part of a package of bills introduced by the ruling United Front for Freedom and Democracy (UFDR), which is backed by the government.
The government has said that the bill, called the “Law for the Promotion of Transatlantic Economic Partnership”, would be approved by the parliament if approved by a referendum, which is currently scheduled for December 18.
The referendum will be held under the auspices of the ruling Fudir party, which was elected in April 2018.
The Fudirs support the trade pact, but say that the measure would violate Bulgaria’s sovereignty.