Reuniting Europe

When you’re in an air balloon and it looses altitude, you have to dump some ballast. Or when your boat risks capsizing, you throw in the sea whatever is at hand and is not essential.

The EU has enough problems handling the eurozone crisis. The eurozone crisis already made the EU look weak. In addition, the problems of democracy in Romania, in Hungary and the malfunction of the rule of law in Bulgaria make it look as a caricature.
In Romania, the situation got out of hand following the effective jailing of former Prime Minister Adrian Nastase. Up to now, the unwritten rule was that the political elite would not be touched, whatever happens. Now faith has been broken, and Ponta wants to send Basescu to jail, and pardon Nastase. And nothing else matters.
I have spent several years of my life in Romania, under Ceausescu. As a foreigner, a Bulgarian student, I was privileged and felt relatively free. More than 22 years have elapsed since the Romanian revolution, but it still remains a mystery. But the Ponta revolution also remains largely unexplained. Why is Romania shooting itself in the leg when it stood such good chances to obtain a lifting of the EU monitoring, just months ago?
Romania’s monitoring report revealed last Wednesday by the EU Commission is scathing, but having read all of them, I can assure that it has been sexed up to look bad.
Bulgaria’s report is also much more negative than previous editions, which makes me wonder along the lines of the title I just wrote.
Bulgaria, who has its own long-standing problems with organised crime, at least didn’t raise any outright democracy problem. Besides, its Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is EPP-affiliated, from the family of Commission President Barroso, although not a personal friend of his. Barroso has heard a lot of bad things about Borissov long before he met him. But maybe as a result of these family ties, Bulgaria got a ‘bonus’ from the report – there will be no monitoring report until the end of 2013. (While the next report for Romania is end 2012.) Bulgaria has elections in July 2013, so basically Barroso gives no ammunition under the EU monitoring to the opposition in Bulgaria ahead of the poll.
But on the negative side, Barroso knows that Borissov is not going to deliver in the meantime, and a year and a half will be lost. Also on the negative side, Bulgaria stands no chance to escape the EU monitoring before Croatia joins on 1 July 2013. Croatia will not be followed by a monitoring, therefore Bulgaria, who joined on 1 January 2007, faces the humiliation to be monitored even by a country that joined later.
I’m not optimistic about Romania, and not only with regard to CVM or Schengen. Bulgaria and Romania have always been seen as a couple. Bulgaria doesn’t appear to give any good argument to earn itself a better treatment. Their future in a changing Union appears uncertain to me. This worries me a great deal. Because outside the EU, I see no long standing future for my country, weak as it is, and exposed to such powerful regional players.
When Barroso appeared in front of the press to deliver a short statement on Bulgaria and Romania, I wanted to ask him something. But he didn’t take questions.

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  1. Mr Gotev I think you are right – the EU looks like it is incredibly badly governed – between debt problems (PIIGS) and governance problems (Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary) we are hearing about a different country’s problems every few months!
    I would like to hope that Romania is just in a bad phase right now, and that things will get better, but I don’t find it easy to be optimistic either…

  2. actually, it s romanians who are waking up from this eu madness/some call it dream.the best thing for us would be to get out of the eu altogether out of our own initiative!it´s an artificially created union beneficial only to the a romanian, i dont want to contribute to bail out any of the rich-er and corrupted countries, see italy, spain, etc.not to mention the eu interference (barroso and reding) in our internal business during these past months?what was that then?!God, who needs this phony circus (i.e. the eu)?!?give me one good reason why this has been in any way beneficial to the romanians?!?????

  3. I have certain doubts. The Eurozone is assumed to be the most forward part of the EU and if it has problems, there is no reason to abandon countries outside the Eurozone to solve its problems. Besides, all countries should have prime responsibility in solving their problems. The EU is not a super-state – and also according to Barroso’s state of the union message it shouldn’t be. So do not expect the EU to solve the problems of your country. It will only act on issues which disturb the other members and rightly does so (remember the anti-EU sentiment demagogues in Hungary – and I assume elsewhere – could create around the EU’s “intervention”. On the other hand, staying in the EU can help to stop things totally get out of control and as it is useful for other member states too, I have no worries unless the political leaders of a country want to get out not to be constrained.
    It was not by chance that Barroso also wanted some tools softer than the “nuclear option” if some countries do not comply with EU principles but as long as the Council has such a big power, it is an uphill struggle.

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