The EU-summit early December showed once again that the asylum question splits Europe into two parts. The former Iron Curtain seems to be back. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are a pain in the ass for Brussels since a couple of years.is.
The EU has a hard tome dealing with this topic. Europe is not, like the United States, a federal republic in which Brusssels has the final say. Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s vice-president, threatened Poland and Hungary with either a lawsuit or to take away their votes in the European Assembly. Quite tough measures, but it us the question whether Warsaw or Budapest will change their policy. Eastern Europe regained its selfconfidence.
The world was different in 1989, when communism collapsed in Eastern Europe. The world was beyond joy and happiness. Capitalism, market economy and democracy had, so it seemed at first sight, their finest hour. Brussels immediately offered the former East bloc countries the EU-membership, after they would meet a number of serious demands. Poland decided for a shock therapy, which gave amazing results. Bulgaria, on the other hand, had a very hard time overcoming its communist past and, after that, in meeting Brussels’ demands,
In 2004 eight former communist countries joined the EU – Poland, Hungary, the Czech republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In 2007 Bulgaria and Romania followed, in 2013 Croatia. For many decades they had been part of the Soviet empire, but les then one generation the joined the EU. Some people judged that as far too quickly.
The “old” EU made a failure in judgment. Germany and France, since the early days the leading European countries, have a modern, liberal economy. Society and politics reflect that. Poland and Hungary mat have a modern economy as well, but the society and politics are rather conservative. Parliament reflect that. The Polish PIS and the Hungarian Fidesz both have a comfortable majority in the national parliaments.
The EU-membership has given the former communist countries, despite huge differences between for example Poland and Bulgaria, the feeling that they completely and fully participate in Europe. Brussels would have expected that Warsaw and Budapest play by western rules. Eastern Europe, however, has regained its selfconfidence, and starts to set its own rules.
Finally – what would Levki’s opinion have been?
He would have agreed fully with Poland and Hungary. The Apostle of the Bulgarian freedom was disappointed in foreign interest in the Bulgarian liberation struggle. He therefore decided that the Bulgarians would need to free themselves, regardless of any foreign opinion.