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Ilhan Kyuchyuk to “Monitor”: The EC mechanism is fair, I find it detailed

EP Plenary session - Presentation of the programme of activities of the Croatian Presidency

The idea of the report is to serve as a red light, he said.

MEP Ilhan Kyuchyuk commented to “Monitor” on the EC’s new mechanism and report on the rule of law.

Monitor: How the new report effects the rule of law for Bulgaria, which is valid for all EU countries?

Kyuchyuk: It shows that certain steps are being taken to reform the important sectors monitored by the European Commission. On the other hand these reforms should be continued over time without deviation from the basic principles.

Monitor: Do you see a retreat?

Kyuchyuk: The EC monitors a lot of components, they have their own methodology. It is very good that this time is not just for one country, but is a comprehensive monitoring mechanism for the rule of law, democracy and human rights and freedoms. So, there is something to be done in each country.

 Monitor: Where should we put more effort in this case?

 Kyuchyuk: Many times citizens have said that we must be a truly democratic country. Our 2007 EU membership alone is not enough.

Monitor: Where is our country compared to other EU countries?

Kyuchyuk: I could not say so easily what is the situation with other countries, because this is only a preliminary assessment. The methodology is to be further developed and approved at Council level, so we would be able to build clearer criteria and indicators later. We should not forget that in a period of 2.5 years all countries will go through a much more detailed analysis to monitor the principles set out in the comprehensive mechanism. On November 13 we will see the situation with Bulgaria and the other 4 countries

Monitor: And what is your assessment of the report and the comprehensive mechanism?

Kyuchyuk: We have supported the implementation of the mechanism because we believe that it is unfair to have a mechanism for cooperation and verification for only 2 countries. The old mechanisms have proved their ineffectiveness because they are very fragmented and they aim to consider  various indicators, which in many cases are opposed or overlapping. As there is a semester that monitors the economic and social development of countries, so there should be a mechanism for the rule of law.

Monitor: What do you think assessments for Bulgaria – objective, good, bad? How would you define them?

Kyuchyuk: Based on a methodology that applies to all countries, we should accept the assessment of the EC, there is an opportunity for dialogue. This is a process that is starting now and its ultimate goal is to have an interinstitutional agreement between European Commission, European Parliament  and the Council.

Monitor: What follows for Bulgaria from this report? Is there any recommendations that Bulgaria must implement, as it was before with the monitoring mechanism  and what are the consequences for our country in general?

Kyuchyuk: Of course, reports are written so that they can be read. When there is disagreement, the problematic moments should be cleared. It would be naive to expect the reports to be simply written on paper and no one comply with them.

Monitor: Until recently, corrections were made to the report and its presentation was once postponed, we expect to happen again. Was there a dispute within the EC about what to write in it?

Kyuchyuk: The reason was that on the 23rd the migration package had to be presented. And logically, from a communication point of view, not to present it and such an important mechanism as the one for the rule of law, in the same week. The EC chose to present the migration package first, and the new mechanism on the 30th.

Monitor : There was no dispute on the substance, but a technological issue?

Kyuchyuk: Within its competencies , the EC made this report. Ms Von der Leyen clarified two weeks ago, that the report would be presented by the end of September. The Mechanism and it`s report  were part of the EC work program.

Monitor: How do you see the findings in the report that Bulgaria has launched judicial reform and investigation of prominent figures?  At the same time commented on the media freedom, fighting corruption strategies , but it seems we need more efforts?

Kyuchyuk: There is always more to do in every sector of public life. It doesn`t  apply only to Bulgaria. The point is to have legislation, supervisory institutions and mechanisms. For example, for the freedom of the media and for the transparency of the media market, my parliamentary group in 2018 made a proposal for legislation, which was adopted.

Monitor: Which  EU country is most criticized in the report?

Kyuchyuk: Two countries standing out – Poland and Hungary, because for them the mechanism of Article 7 of the EU Treaty has been activated, which is the most difficult before the withdrawal of a vote from the Council of one country. The idea of the report is not to get there and to serve as a red light and much earlier for the Member States and the EC to start a dialogue in order to avoid the consequences. Otherwise, an additional dividing line is inserted.

Monitor: Does it mean that we can be optimistic?

Kyuchyuk: The mechanism is fair, I find it profound. But at the same time, all outstanding issues related to the rule of law cannot be resolved by this mechanism alone in the recent years. We need an active dialogue with both the European institutions and the national authorities. In order to reform one or another sector, it is not only necessary to point out the mistakes, but also a nationwide consensus between  systemic political forces in the National Assembly. And why not go further  and offer a broad form in which Bulgarian citizens have a direct participation. Unfortunately, there is severe opposition between the institutions.

Тази публикация е достъпна и на следните езици: Bulgarian