Twinning and More?

The information about the project of the Bulgariam Prime Minister Stanishev for a new cooperation initiative with the other EU member states is scarce.

The new initiative is called “building up on cooperation in key areas of reform in Bulgaria”.

Up to now I find the most information in the weekly “Kapital”, where excerpts of the document presented to José Manuel Baroso are published. I also know from the media that this is not the final version of the document, but presents, however, some basis for analysis.

There are two levels of monitoring and control proposed in four thematic areas: justice and internal affairs, EU funds management, fight against the corruption and administrative capacity. The first level of control Is technical – comprising of Bulgrian administration officials, experts from the European Commission, and deputy ambassadors from EU member states. The second level – called “political”, is more interesting (comprising of four Bulgarian ministers and four EU member states ambassadors). It is proposed that the chairman of the political group – and member of the Bulgarian cabinet, should inform all member states about the progress in the thematic areas; and a EC commissioner is also proposed to attend these meetings.

This proposal is, as my colleagues would say, an institutional hybrid. It is easier to say what it isn’t, rather than what it is.

This is not a twinning project, for a twinning project aims “to deliver specific and guaranteed results and not to foster general co-operation”.

It is not a replacement  of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, since it includes areas outside of the scope of the mechanism, which means that one cannot use the legal basis in the Act on the conditions of accession. In fact the PM Stanishev himself denied the notion that this is an attempt to replace the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.

This is not a “political board” at least in the meaning that I imply (governance board) – without being an expert in the field. I think that we can talk about some form of “governance board” in the case of Kosovo.

From the viewpoint of Community law the proposed “build-up” has no clear legal definition. More, the question about the constitutional interpretation of the proposal arises, at least in respect to the assessment of the work of the judiciary. The reason that there is a Cooperation and Verification Mechanism is the Treaty of Accession, where other member states demanded that such mechanism be applied to Bulgaria and Romania, and we accepted it. I cannot see how such an undertaking would be legally justified unless the constitution is amended.

I think that the proposal cannot be supported.

Update: The European Union and Bulgaria: A new colonialism

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