Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Borissov: After a Political Binge, Hangover Is Far Worse

Adelina Marini, June 30, 2016

All leaders are aware of EU’s weaknesses, one of which is that the Commission is not political enough at times. This was what Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on the second day of the summit, when all member state leaders got together, excluding British Prime Minister David Cameron, to discuss the post-Brexit European Union. The prime minister gave an example of a not-political-enough Commission using the case when European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager (Denmark, ALDE) sent out a request that Bulgaria sold its natural gas distribution company Bulgartransgas. Last year she sent a complaint to Sofia, for she believes the Bulgarian Energy Holding and Bulgartransgas in particular abuses its dominant position on the Bulgarian market. The EC procedure has been launched in 2013. 

According to Mr Borissov, however, the sale of the company would deal a “heavy political blow”. If Bulgaria does not do it, a fine follows. He believes everyone is aware of exactly what needs to change in the EU, so that it could function better. In a wider context, he said that he has noticed will in all leaders to overcome the crisis, born of the United Kingdom’s exit, but admitted this will not be easy, because we are talking about the world’s fifth largest economy. To him, it is far more worrying how the election campaign will go in Great Britain, because he believes it is possible it will once again be based on who can speak worse of the EU. In the UK, the Conservatives are in a bitter battle to choose their next leader and prime minister after David Cameron has resigned.

Boyko Borissov also announced that during the summit there were no discussions on the issue of Great Britain’s presidency of the EU Council, which is planned in the calendar for the second half of next year. Before the start of the summit expectations were that David Cameron will notify his colleagues that London gives up their turn, so that the Council could make a decision for the rearrangement of the calendar. This subject is put on hold until September, when leaders will convene for an emergency summit to discuss the way forward. It is expected that Great Britain will have a new prime minister then. To the Bulgarian PM, the easiest way would be to just pull forward in time of the Bulgarian presidency by six months. 

To him, it is completely illogical for Great Britain to preside the Union right at the time when negotiations for its exit will be held. “At least I myself am not prepared and able to explain it to Bulgarian citizens that those, who wished to leave the EU, right at the time when exit negotiations are held, will preside the EU”, said the PM. He was asked by a foreign journalist about Poland’s request that EC President Jean-Claude Juncker resigns because of his overly sharp reactions regarding Great Britain. “The last thing I would do in a situation like the current would be supporting any shaking of the EC whatsoever”, he said and added that everyone has their own manner of expression. Concerning rumours of his poor health, Juncker assured everyone in the European Parliament on Tuesday that he was neither tired, nor ill, and will continue fighting for the EU until his last breath.

Translated by Stanimir Stoev 

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