It should be safe to assume that, with the exception of criminals, everyone wants effective action against crime in Bulgaria – and certainly not just for the sake of largely symbolic gain of admission to the Schengen visa zone.
The European Commission’s next report under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism, intended to bring Bulgaria up to scratch in EU standards on justice and home affairs, should acknowledge progress, for example in the fact that the special organised crime tribunal appears to be underway.
However, episodes such as the Mirovyane incident, in which a large squad of heavily-armed police descended on a family allegedly in possession of contraband cigarettes and, again allegedly, meted out police brutality, do no help at all. In police work, bad tip-offs happen; who knows what the police were expecting? But that is no excuse for excessive use of force.
Credibility rides on all arms of law enforcement acting appropriately. Bulgaria’s Government hardly needs to hand ammunition to its otherwise emasculated political rivals, and nor do this country’s taxpayers need to have to shell out money after European Court of Human Rights judgments.