In fact, it is quite the opposite.
[...] of the 27 EU states, only 2 - the UK and Ireland - will have a total smoking ban*. So who is really 'in line' with the rest of Europe here?That was written on Tuesday, yet today Bulgaria emphasised the point even further.
* Italy, France, Malta and the Scandinavian countries all allow designated smoking rooms
Amendments aimed at qualifying the full ban on smoking in all public places in Bulgaria, due to come into force on June 1 2010, will be introduced by ruling party GERB, Bulgarian media said on February 18 2010.It looks like Bulgaria have viewed the incompetent carnage suffered in the UK and Ireland and decided it's not for them.
The full ban, it was believed, would undermine Bulgaria's tourism and restaurant industry. The amendments will be more flexible to enable restaurant and bar owners to comply with the ban.
According to the amendments, owners of bars and restaurants with an area of up to 100 sq m would be able to determine for themselves whether their premises should be non-smoking areas or not.
They are correct, of course, as blanket smoking bans are a proven disaster in public health terms. Coercion isn't welcomed, as illustrated by continual reductions in smoker prevalence where freedom of choice is welcomed, whilst Britain and Ireland continue to suffer risibly disappointing results.
They don't seem capable of learning from their mistakes in this arrogant corner of the continent.
The rest of Europe are showing that they are a darn site more clever than the assorted walking automatons who populate our derisory legislature. Bulgaria are just the latest, supposedly inferior, nation to exhibit a more acute grip on reality.
Of course, every nation has its swivel-eyed idiots, and in Bulgaria the most ill-informed of these appears to be Ivan Kostov.
News of the amendments, however, was criticised by one of the right-wing parties in Parliament, the Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria. The party's leader Ivan Kostov said that the amendments were "not a European thing to do".Look around Europe, Ivan. The 'European thing to do' is to offer choice, as 24 of your EU partners have decided is most effective.
Pursuing the blanket ban route is about as pan-European as morris dancers and leprechauns.