Bulgaria is the first EU member to appoint itself a ‘board’ of senior well-respected politicians, which in theory should advise its EU Presidency, and be some kind of corrective.
Officially its name sounds North Korea style: “Supreme Political Consultative Board for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU”. And I quote from the PM Facebook website, which Bulgarian journalists use as a source much more than the clumsy governmental website.
Borissov appointed himself a board consisting of the following senior gentlemen:
- Hans-Gert Pöttering, former European Parliament President and long-serving EPP MEP;
- Erwin Pröll, an Austrian conservative politician (ÖVP – EPP), who by the way in 2000 supported a “black-blue” coalition with the Freedom Party (he changed his mind later);
- French former diplomat Jean-David Levitte, whose career peaked under two conservative Presidents, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy;
- former Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev (who although “depoliticised” as his function requires, attended a EPP pre-summit meeting in Vilnius in 2013);
- and Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who was Bulgaria’s child king after his father died in 1943, was forced into exile in 1947 and returned to his home country to serve as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2005, after a landslide victory at the parliamentary elections.
Except for Simeon, whose political force (now defunct) was ALDE-affiliated, all other senior gentlemen are affiliated or close to the European People’s Party, to which Borissov’s GERB party is affiliated.
The “board” could be seen as biased. There have been good people to serve as European Parliament Presidents also from the socialist side, and the only Bulgarian President who was re-elected, Georgi Parvanov, was before that leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
But the “board” or more correctly “the Supreme Political Consultative Board for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU”, is completely useless. It has no powers over the presidency, and not a single county has had anything similar in EU history.
Does this mean that Bulgaria, which anyway is under EU scrutiny under the so-called “Cooperation and Verification Mechanism”, wants to be scrutinised further, even when it is at the EU’s helm?