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The European South has failed financially, the East politically

25 December 2013 / 13:12:08  GRReporter
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The last summit of the EU on 19 and 20 December 2013 has postponed the discussion on migration and asylum to next June. Apparently, no one wants to take clearer commitments regarding this sensitive issue before the European elections. During this time, it will not be decided by itself and will exacerbate. The crisis in Syria is not likely to be resolved either. Even if they sign a peace treaty tomorrow, the destruction there is of historic proportions and the refugee problem will probably last for years. However, if it destabilises one of Syria’s neighbouring countries (Lebanon is at the highest risk), then the wave will become even greater. The crisis in Syrian is not the only one. There are various crises across North and Central Africa too. NATO will withdraw from Afghanistan next year. The attacks in Iraq continue. The negotiations between Israel and Palestine have stalled. It seems to me that we have to live with the expectation of refugees.

It is clear that the problems they create favour the aforementioned extremist parties. If Europe does not find a working solution, it will face the risk of its southern flank becoming a sanitary cordon against migration from the Third World and the differences between it and the prospering part of the continent will deepen.

What is your forecast for Bulgaria for next year? Do you think it will hold early elections?

There will be European elections. If you mean parliamentary elections, the short answer is I do not know. On the one hand, the senior state institutions are totally delegitimized. The public confidence in the government is below 20%. In such a situation, early elections are the healthiest choice for a democracy. Today's rulers of Bulgaria do not show signs that they are particularly concerned about public confidence. This entirely corresponds to the political tradition of the BSP and recalls that it is the successor to a totalitarian party and that the old attitudes in it are still alive.

The government is making ridiculous attempts to cheer society with forecasts that economic growth will return next year and even more ridiculous Christmas gifts to the voters by reducing electricity prices through administrative pressure on the energy regulator and at the expense of the indebtedness of the National Power Corporation. The bill for this type of governing will have to be paid at one point. Even if there is a weak economic recovery, it is unlikely to reduce the dissatisfaction of the people against the background of the total ruin and poverty. Moreover, it will not restore the confidence that this government has irretrievably lost. And confidence is a fundamental resource of every government.

The BSP - MRF coalition will however stick to power as long as it can. Its chances to hold it have increased because two members of GERB have left it. The upcoming voting in the National Assembly will show whether this fact will save the government from its compromising and humiliating dependence on the Attack party, on the so-called "golden finger" of Volen Siderov, in order for it to have a quorum in parliament and whether this will allow it to have a majority in parliament.

There is no street pressure any longer either. The protests have subsided because their participants have found no leader; they have failed to establish an organisation with a clear programme and objectives. Nevertheless, this does not mean that frustration is gone. Social polls have categorically confirmed this. Another foul like the one with Peevski may raise it spontaneously any time.

It is important to understand the nature of this dissatisfaction. It is not against a particular type of policy. It is against policy in general. It is against the policy that exists in Bulgaria in the form of a cover of the oligarchy and corruption. This is not a crisis of a government and a parliament, this is a crisis of the political model, of the system. It needs to be fundamentally "reset". It needs an entirely new social contract between the parties and the voters. It needs "catharsis" followed by "disinfection" of the institutions. In particular, the investigation service and the prosecutor’s office must be cleaned with bleach, figuratively speaking. There must be depoliticised administration appointed by competition and with stability guarantees. There must be independent regulators in the fields of energy, communications and competition. The present ones are cartoons. Someone must finally break the incestuous union between the state (regardless of who is in power), a bank and some media.

The only elective political force that is declaring such intentions is the reformist bloc. Unfortunately, it is too weak to implement them.

In theory, it could implement them in a coalition with GERB but this would be a morally and politically problematic union if GERB does not repent for the mistakes it made while it was in power and if it does not take clear action to show the public that it has realized these mistakes. Do not forget that GERB was willingly benefiting from the services of that bank and that media group which are in a notorious symbiosis and which are now serving the current government. Do not forget that while GERB was in power, the police and the prosecutor’s office were used as political "batons".

Tags: PoliticsEuropean ParliamentPolitical extremesRefugeesMigrationElectionsBulgariaSergey StanishevAttackReform blocVeselin Zhelev
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