When Standards are Dual

Bulgaria’s fiery summer of protests led to a stormy fall. Sadly, there is a bitter feeling of dual standards in the air.

The government is clearly uncomfortable with the protests, so it resorted to a shameful trick typical of autocratic regimes – violence. Sadly, the EU Commission chose to look the other way. You can read my article “Protests in Bulgaria: will the EU at least condemn the violence?” for The Brussels Times here.

In stark contrast to the nonchalance of the EU Commission, the EU Parliament took some interest in Bulgaria’s democratic backsliding. At a hearing of the LIBE Committee dedicated to the rule of law decay in Bulgaria, however, Commissioner Vera Jourova, whose portfolio includes values and transparency in the EU, was afraid to depart from her institutional point of view and maintained that Bulgaria had been making steady progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism which monitors the country in the areas of rule of law, corruption, and organized crime. You can read my article “On Coins, Parallel Universes and the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism” for the Verfassungsblog in which I showcase the pitfalls of this mechanism and the hypocrisy of the EU Commission.

The guilty silence of the EU Commission has led many analysts to wonder if dual standards are healthy for the EU. In September I talked to Carnegie Europe where experts are concerned why the EU is so vocal about the situation in Belarus, but so numb to the crisis in Bulgaria since there are so many similarities between the two countries. You can read the article “How the Citizens of Belarus and Bulgaria Are Held Hostage” in which I was quoted here.

Meanwhile, the LIBE Committee is pushing for a resolution on Bulgaria, but members of the European People’s Party are fully committed to defending Boyko Borissov despite his shortcomings. We are yet to see the final text which the EU Parliament will adopt.

If you follow me, you know I often write about Bulgaria’s rule of law decay.

You can find a list of my blog posts and some of my articles for the media here! You can follow me on Twitter @radosveta_vass!

PS. Photo credit: Atanas Spasov via Twitter.