The unfreezing of blocked EU funding
€825 million of pre-accession funds were frozen. It was a response to its alleged failure to combat corruption, organized crime and misuse of EU funds. Funds worth up to €7 billion over the next six years were also at risk. The Bulgarian government turned to Alber & Geiger for help.
The voice of government in Brussels
An unprecedented challenge had suddenly come about from a new brand of mutual misunderstanding. The Bulgarian government did not ascertain optimally the expectations and way of thinking of the EU institutions. Similarly, the Commission failed to empathize for the processes of Bulgarian institutions. In the words of Professor Alber, the firm operated as a ‘communication belt’, channeling the correspondence of national with supranational institutions to prevent them talking past each other. Alber & Geiger’s multi-faceted approach was no public relations exercise. It involved sophisticated legal analysis calibrated through a dynamic, institution sensitive political communications strategy. It incorporated practical considerations like staff changes in the Bulgarian government as well as larger semantic and structural reasons for misunderstandings.