EC assessment is unsurprisingAndrey Kovachev , Brussels
The European Commission’s assessment of Bulgaria’s progress is positive and it comes as no surprise. First and foremost, the country has implemented all EC recommendations and secondly – we believe that the monitoring mechanism itself is discriminatory.
And the reason is that it was designed for certain Member States, not all of them. This is why we insist that a common European mechanism be put in place to monitor the judicial systems and rule of law in all Member States. No country is perfect, problems could arise anywhere. All EU nations should be equal, instead of a select few being singled out for special supervision. It is clear that the EC continues to have reservations about Romania. This is why I am pleased that Bulgaria’s efforts have been recognised. The Commission has decided that this would be its latest report on the country. However, it will want to hear what the European Parliament and the European Council have to say on the matter, although there is no established procedure in this case. This is the decision of the EC.
Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 with this mechanism and the country was obligated to implement the recommendations made under it. Twelve years later, the Commission notes that Bulgaria has done exactly that and there is no need for further reports. This does not mean that there will be no monitoring of EU countries in the future. So there should be no concerns in that regard. As you know, the reports were often used by some countries, especially the likes of the Netherlands, as an argument against Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area. I even emailed the last report to my colleagues. That argument can no longer be exploited and I hope that a positive development on the Schengen matter will soon follow.
The EC reports were also regularly brandished as weapons in domestic politics. In the past, every single document was interpreted to fit different interests. I hope that this one time everyone is pleased by the fact that the monitoring mechanism for Bulgaria is being removed. But as I said, let those who are worried by this move rest assured that we will strive for a common European mechanism to monitor all Member States.