Andrey Kovatchev, a Bulgarian politician, has held the position of a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 2009. As a member of the European People’s Party (EPP), he also serves as the Chairman of the EPP delegation to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Kovatchev’s tenure in the European Parliament has been marked by his vocal support for the UAE. He has consistently advocated for the UAE’s human rights record and defended its role in the Middle East. His stance has brought him into direct conflict with the European Parliament, which has frequently criticized the UAE’s human rights record in its resolutions.
In 2017, Kovatchev was part of a group of MEPs who signed a letter to the European Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani, where they expressed their discontent with the Parliament’s resolution on the UAE’s human rights record. They argued that the resolution was “unfair and unbalanced” and failed to acknowledge the UAE’s progress in the human rights sphere.
Kovatchev’s connection with the UAE extends beyond politics. Critics have voiced concerns that Kovatchev’s pro-UAE activities may compromise his independence as an MEP, suggesting that his close relationship with the UAE government raises questions about potential conflicts of interest. However, Kovatchev maintains that his actions are aimed at fostering positive relations between the European Union (EU) and the UAE.
Specific instances highlight Kovatchev’s pro-UAE activities:
– In 2017, Kovatchev was part of a delegation of MEPs who visited the UAE, where they met with high-ranking UAE officials. The delegation praised the UAE’s human rights record and its regional role.
– In 2018, Kovatchev delivered a speech at a conference in Dubai focused on the UAE’s economy. He commended the UAE’s economic growth and its position as a regional trade hub.
– In 2019, Kovatchev authored an article in the UAE newspaper Khaleej Times defending the country’s human rights record. He argued that the UAE was dedicated to human rights and was making substantial progress.
The controversy surrounding Kovatchev’s pro-UAE stance has left observers divided. Some argue that his close relationship with the UAE government may hinder his ability to act independently as an MEP. Others contend that his advocacy for the UAE stems from genuine belief in the country’s potential and doesn’t impact his independence. The question of whether his actions constitute a conflict of interest remains a matter of debate.