An Explosive Summer

The mass protests in Bulgaria of 2020 will be remembered for many reasons – the persistence of citizens, the fact that right-wingers and left-wingers stand together against corruption and autocracy, the police violence, the arrogance and political games of Borissov’s government and his GERB party and, sadly, the silence of EU institutions.

In August, I published my article entitled “Protests in Bulgaria: EU values, wherefore art thou?” with New Eastern Europe. I showcase the ambiguous reaction by EU institutions towards the protests and the dual standards regarding the rule of law which become more and more visible.

I was also interviewed for the Talk Eastern Europe podcast in early August about the protests and the perspectives ahead. As the hosts noted, Bulgaria is rarely covered by international media, so few people abroad are aware of the gravity of the political disaster which struck. You can listen to my interview here.

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!

A Grand National Assembly or Grand Bulgarian Chicanery?

Earlier this month I was invited to comment on Boyko Borissov’s latest ideas for constitutional reform by the Verfassungsblog. Those following the decline of Bulgaria’s rule of law and those who have respect for constitutionalism will not be surprised by my conclusions. Borissov is abusing the Bulgarian legal concept of a grand national assembly to prevent fairer elections. GERB’s proposal for a new constitution lacks merit. It is largely based on the current Constitution. The few amendments it introduces are of questionable value: they are ill-drafted or designed to deliver a blow to parliamentarism. You can read my full contribution entitled “A Grand National Assembly or Grand National Chicanery?” here.

Paradoxes of Bulgaria’s Rule Of Law

Here are three articles on three different subjects which evidence the lack of rule of law in Bulgaria:

If you are interested in daily updates on Bulgaria’s declining rule of law, you can follow me on Twitter @radosveta_vass

The Rise of Modern European Dictatorships and EU’s Dual Standards on Human Rights

While most Western commentators focus on Brexit, something much more troublesome is taking place on the East end of the European Union (EU)—the rise of modern European “dictatorships.” Many former-communist countries, which are now members of the EU, are restoring the repressive practices typical of times gone by. In 2015, for instance, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker famously greeted Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban with “Hello, dictator.” Whereas Juncker was probably trying to demonstrate his famous awkward sense of humor, the joke is on millions of EU citizens whose fundamental rights are consistently abused by East European “dictators” like Orban. Paradoxically, nonetheless, these modern dictators have more tools in their arsenal for targeting political and economic opponents compared to their communist predecessors—European law and international treaties. In other words, you have failed democracies which misuse national and supranational legal instruments alike for political vendettas and often—purges.

While Hungary is one of the examples which is often discussed in the media, by far, it is not the only EU state, which suffers from a democratic deficit. Although contexts differ, democratic values are also challenged in Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, etc. What is striking and worrisome, however, is EU institutions’ dual standards on the rule of law and human rights, in particular. Read More