Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Who is disgracing Bulgaria?

Ralitsa Kovacheva, February 13, 2011

"Finally I just want to remind you this good Bulgarian proverb, saying that there are no guards around the Bulgarian cauldron in Hell, as we are capable enough to disgrace our state ourselves. You do this great, but I guarantee you that after all we have done under the CVM and the Schengen accession, we will join and will fulfill the criteria. Tell this to those who told you to ask these questions".

With these words, uttered with a negligently sarcastic tone, to everyone's surprise Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov closed the press conference with the EU Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Cecilia Malmström. Asked by a journalist whether he had in mind that that same press conference was disgraced, the Prime Minister answered monosyllabically "Yes" and declined to comment any further.

So it was not clear what provoked Boyko Borissov's acute reaction against the journalists. Ms Malmström answered all the question calmly and there was no tension in the hall at all. As could be expected, there were questions about the blast in Sofia that occurred on February 10th and about the wiretapping scandal, but it never became clear whether those were the reasons why the Prime Minister blamed the journalists of "disgracing the state”.

Commissioner Malmström seemed embarrassed by the unexpected end, moreover, she was looking desperately in a search of someone to tell her what was next and where she had to go. The Prime Minister told her only "Welcome" in Bulgarian and made a gesture with his hand inviting her to leave, but Ms Malmström appeared to be still confused of what had happened before that.

I don’t know about my colleagues, but I certainly did not understand what exactly the Prime Minister blamed the media of. His reaction was strange, especially against the background of the affection, demonstrated to him by Bulgarian mainstream media. And it appeared to be even more strange in the presence of EU Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström. What impressions will Ms Malmström get of Bulgarian media after this sarcastic statement of the Prime Minister? And of the Bulgarian prime minister, who dares to attack journalists in such a way? What will happen to the credibility of Bulgaria, for which she was talking so much about?

Yes, perhaps there are no guards around the Bulgarian cauldron in Hell, but we are capable to disgracing ourselves quite well, aren’t we?