Five years after joining the EU and three years after electing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Bulgaria is Europe's poorest country, its judiciary and law-enforcement – discredited, its people, surveys say, in as little control over their lives as Iraqis.
It really does feel – at least at times - like you are living in a war zone - because of the nagging feeling of unpredictability and lack of concern for the cost in human lives. A feeling, which was only fueled last week, by the deadly suicide bombing on Israeli tourists in Burgas.
If that had happened in Iraq, we could say – in a cruel and sarcastic comment – that it is business as usual. But not in Bulgaria. Bulgaria's security services were caught completely off guard, revealing vulnerability, which was begging to be attacked. Cops are not good, because they can be good only if they feel the pressure of the society and at least one independent magistrate.
But this is not the case in Bulgaria as the European Commission report made it clear – yet again – last week. The scathing comments on the judiciary and corruption combat however were overshadowed by the suicide bombing in Burgas, an eerily lucky development for Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
I dare argue that these two particular events illustrate the vicious circle of Bulgaria's politics and economics.
Why? The European Commission gave last week a straightforward reply to this question, in stark contrast to its traditional flowery style. It said:
"Organized crime groups remain a fundamental challenge for the Bulgarian state and the society as they exercise considerable influence over the country's economy...
Organized crime in Bulgaria as unique in the EU to the extent that it exercises considerable influence over the economy which is a platform to influence the political process and state institutions...
The annual turnover of the twelve most important organized crime activities in Bulgaria is estimated at EUR 1.8 B or 4.8% of GDP annually."
Anyone who hasn't got sick and tired of EU calls on Bulgaria to press ahead with corruption and crime combat? I doubt it.
Could I have referred you back to the dozens of editorials we have published on Bulgaria's failure to combat organized crime and corruption and Brussels's efforts to create finger-wagging anxiety?
No, because this time even the prime minister was too shell-shocked to flaunt his usual gift of gab and see in these two major events a "Congratulations" card for him.
Both events may well prove to be a game-changer. At least they should.
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