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Bulgarian EU Presidency parks punishment for Poland for violating rule of law

The countries of Eastern Europe are confident that there will be a solution before they reach the suspension of voting rights

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Bulgarian EU Presidency parks punishment for Poland for violating rule of law

"We are friends of Poland; We share same past. " Bulgarian President Boyko Borisov welcomes European press at inauguration of EU's rotating presidency in building where his Council of Ministers, of unmistakable Soviet scent, meets. It is an open secret that opening of harsh procedure against Poland for violating rule of law has little to do: it would require unanimity, and at least Hungary-which passes through same dangerous path of legislative proposals that undermine separation of Powers — doesn't seem willing to push that nuclear button. Perhaps Berlin and Paris, Madrid and Rome, think differently, but Borisov and his team exhibited this Thursday clearly that re is little appetite in east for punishing Poland: "There will be a solution before we get to apply article 7 because it trigger suspension of Voting rights would be a very serious precedent. "

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"There must be two councils of ministers and two views of legal services of European institutions before moving on to next chapter: a possible vote on part of leaders would go beyond this presidency," added Bulgarian Minister Yordanka Fandakova. Free translation: With excuse of procedure, re will be nothing at least until July. And even for second half of year, "a vote at European Council would be a sleepless night and a bad idea: we will find a solution before," explained center-right prime minister, who governs with support of Bulgarian ultranationalists, who among Or issues have opted for hard hand against immigration. That is Europe that comes: in several countries, ultras are already in coalition governments. The presidency of EU, in hands of Bulgaria, is in hands of an executive who has found stability with that formula, which in some way implies a banalization of far right. And next Presidency (Austria) will have a government cut with same pattern.

Bulgaria entered EU in 2007. After a hop crisis, it now presents a number of great numbers: It grows by about 3%, has unemployment of just 6%, presents surpluses and a public debt of just 26% of GDP, among lowest in Europe. It has or problems: a per capita income that is still around 50% of EU average, a huge dependence on European funds and ugly levels of corruption (along with shortcomings in issues such as freedom of press). And 11 years later he faces his first presidency with a couple of hot topics: reform of euro (which can hardly participate, because it remains out of single currency but could call for accession to euro in just a few months), and East-west divide , which is summed up perfectly in strident Polish problem. Brussels punished Poland last December for its serious breaches of rule of law. The European Commission decided to press for first time so-called EU nuclear button, for time being in a low-intensity phase. This unprecedented measure now shifts pressure to Member States, which must decide wher Poland is violating EU's values and, refore, wher ir voting rights are suspended. After two years of doubt, Commission has activated article 7 of European treaty after Warsaw government culminated its controversial judicial reform, which jeopardizes separation of powers in eastern giant. Hungary travels same way, although it has not dared to go so far.

The late Tony Judt understood as few complex legacy that left implosion of communism in Eastern Europe and was right to see that those countries subjected to tyranny would have serious difficulties in adopting basic principles of liberal democracy. More and more voices are pointing in Brussels that EU ran too far with enlargement. Poland is most prominent example of this drift; He's still close to Hungary. Bulgaria is far from those positions, but it does not share hardness of Brussels to Poland. After a long tug of war, Commission has chosen to propose this harsh procedure. The President of European Council, Polish conservative Donald Tusk, has gone even furr in last few hours and has assured that if Warsaw loses (as it seems) European funds in next budgets could end up in a similar drift to British: "I Can Easily imagine a situation in which, if Poland is one day among taxpayers (net), Polish Government will decide that it is time to ask poles if y still want Poland in EU and n work hard to reach conclusion of That it is necessary to say goodbye to Union, "he assured in an interview to Telegraph. "Tusk should be more neutral," Borisov reproached him before Brussels press, invited in Sofia for start of Bulgarian Presidency.

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