EU’s credibility is at stake over Bulgaria, says reformist leader

EU’s credibility is at stake over Bulgaria, says reformist leader

Hristo Ivanov says Germany and the Commission have sold themselves too cheaply to ensure Borissov’s loyalty.

The EU’s credibility as a custodian of the rule of law is on the line over its failure to respond to a spiraling corruption crisis in Bulgaria, according to a reformist party leader whose anti-graft crusade has helped drive major street protests every night for almost five weeks.

Hristo Ivanov, a former justice minister who now heads the anti-corruption Yes Bulgaria party, insists that Brussels and Berlin have to take responsibility for helping deliver the Bulgarian judiciary and other key institutions into the clutches of an oligarchic mafia.

By going soft on supervision of judicial reforms, while simultaneously stoking the corruption with European funds, the EU has a lot to answer for, he argues.

“If the EU is unable to guarantee minimal standards of rule of law in a member state as weak … as Bulgaria, what is it good for?” Ivanov asked in an interview with POLITICO.

He added that the European Commission, which is supposed to act as a guarantor of the EU treaties, “wilfully closed its eyes to what is happening in Bulgaria,” even though European funds are the mafia’s lifeblood. “This level of state capture in Bulgaria was only made possible by the easy drug of EU funds,” he complained.

Bulgaria’s mafia has its origins in the Communist-era spy service, and has seized on the powerlessness of EU judicial oversight to extend its reach.

Hristo Ivanov

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