Foreign police is absent from this election campaign. In addition, voters hardly ask for candidates on this subject, except for relations with North Macedonia.
Representatives of “Démocratique Bulgaria“,” We continue the Change “, GERB,” BSP for Bulgaria“and” Get up BG! We’re Coming! ”Agree with this conclusion in probably the only public conversation to date on Bulgaria‘s international and European politics. It was organized by the European Council on Foreign Relations with the participation of Stefan Tafrov, Daniel Lorer, Ekaterina Zaharieva, Krum Zarkov and Maria Capon.
“In this third campaign, it seems that we are talking more about politics, but the truth is that the foreigner remains out of reach of most debates and meetings.
“People ask me mainly about relationships with North Macedonia, and when it comes to the European Union, it’s about what Brussels makes us do, which is extremely simplifying and gives a false impression of what the EU is, what Brussels is, who are the decision-making bodies “, shared the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva.
From Ruse, where he is a deputy candidate, Stefan Tafov added: “Every day, I meet people in the center of Ruse and no one asks me about foreign police, at most once every 5 days, someone says something about North Macedonia. What rekindles interest is when I say that Ruse is part of a large Euroregion, which includes Bucharest, with all the opportunities that the Romanian capital offers to the Bulgarian city, European cross-border cooperation for example. We need to rekindle this interest from below.
He added: “We deeply understand that foreign and European policy is something that we need. That is why people do not care about this subject before the elections. The reasons are the government of recent years and the populists who accuse Brussels. “
Maria Capone confirmed that Europe is present in her meetings with voters, but for them this is the subject of certificates. According to her, the reason is that for years politicians and populists have been telling Bulgarians that all the bad comes from Brussels, all the good comes from their party.
Daniel Lorer, the most recent of the five politicians, believes that European issues are completely absent from political dialogue and from the consciousness of voters. “Our feeling as Europeans is quite marginal. This is why it is important for us that Europe returns to the map of Bulgaria and that Bulgarians begin to form an opinion on regional, European or global problems that the EU will soon have to solve “, he added.
Hristo Ivanov, Democratic co-chair Bulgaria, spoke to Bulgaria Saturday for Darik Radio. According to him all this time Bulgaria tried to present themselves as a mediator, but in reality we are only serving the staff of the big brothers, which can prove to be risky in the long run. For him, over the past 30 years, the greatest achievement has been membership of the European Union and NATO, as well as the emancipation of Bulgarian society from Russian influence, however underdeveloped it may be. it still.
“A foreign police is as strong as the institutions and the ruling class, society must realize its interests. We have to grow as a country, to be full European members. Right now our main problem is our ultimate institutional and political immaturity, “he said on” The Week “.
The conversation focused on four topics which, according to the ECHR, could form the basis of Bulgaria‘s foreign police and security strategy – a document that Bulgaria has not had in recent years, but that could be drafted in the next legislature. The participants practically demonstrated that there is a consensus about them in a critical mass of parties likely to enter the new National Assembly.
1. Rule of law
The first of these points of consensus is that in the dispute between Poland and the European Commission on the rule of European law, Bulgaria must definitely take the side of Brussels. Speaking to current leaders in Warsaw and Budapest, the European Union should notably use a freeze on these countries, participants said.
“We have a double interest in preserving the principle of the primacy of European law over national law, because the struggle in Bulgaria because the rule of law is based on European law. Democratic Bulgaria will insist that the next government take a clear stance on this issue. “ said Tafrov. “We have no doubts in this dispute – Bulgaria must side with European law, a respect to which we are committed by all EU Member States. Poland cannot question this order – the foundation of Europe “, he added. .
Ekaterina Zaharieva recalled: “All countries have applied and accepted the part which is European and which is national law, and in Poland the accession was approved by referendum.” It takes patience (in this litigation), but you also have to show that it is running outshe added, noting that talks had already started in 2015 to launch a procedure to withdraw the Warsaw vote in the EU, which was triggered a year later. “I’m sorry, but I see no other choice in the current situation than the suspension of EU funds (as part of the recovery plan) for Poland”, she said.
According to Krum Zarkov, “it is important for us to participate in this debate, which is not only between the EC and Poland, but between all countries. “ He added: “The rule of law directly affects Bulgarian citizens and Bulgarians expect concrete help from the European Commission to tackle their chronic problem of corruption.
2. The Green Deal
The second point of consensus concerns the role of the European Green Deal. An impressive 85% of Bulgarians believe that climate change and global warming is an extremely important problem, and there is agreement between the parties on the role of the Green Deal. But people are saying en masse that they don’t know the Bulgarian position on this and should be better informed.
“Most Bulgarians don’t know about the Green Deal, because it has been presented by some as a scarecrow, by others as a panacea, and neither is it. The Green Deal is the way to overcome the real challenge, that no one can deny “global warming. We have to make it clear that there are funds and opportunities in the EU, and it will depend on the next Bulgarian government how much they will be used “, Krum Zarkov said.
According to Stefan Tafrov, the current government has not prepared a plan for the Green Deal, there is no strategic thinking. “There are ideas, there is no plan”, he said.
“Some political forces are playing with populist issues like the issue of mines. It is very important that we tell the truth. The green deal is a great opportunity,” he added. said Maria Capone. According to her, the climate issue and the agreement are not mentioned in the region of Stara Zagora, where there are coal mines that Bulgaria must close.
“I am happy that we are of the opinion that the Green Deal is unalterable. The transition must be smooth, fair and guarantee Europe’s energy security”, said Ekaterina Zaharieva.
3. North Macedonia
The candidates of the five parties agree on the European integration of North Macedonia, but relations with Bulgaria must not be based on hatred.
“The new government will have to engage in these talks which will show our Europeans and international partners that we know how to get out of the situation ”, Krum Zarkov said.
“I call on my colleagues from different political forces to understand that Bulgaria does not call into question the right of citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia to identify themselves as they see fit and to call their language as they see fit. This challenge is used by some fringe parties in Bulgaria as well as anti-Bulgarian circles in Skopje to attack Bulgaria, ” says Stefan Tafrov.
Ekaterina Zaharieva insisted that there was no Bulgarian veto, but a temporary disagreement with the negotiating framework. There is a way and it is not complicated to start negotiations – if they accept the 5 points proposed for this framework. But we must not close our eyes to what is going on in North Macedonia and the anti-Bulgarian rhetoric, which has become one of the factors of the last local elections, she added. According to her, the desire to have a result by the end of the year comes from the fact that in the first half of the year begins the French presidency of the Council of the EU and that the presidential elections are approaching, and Paris does not want to face to enlargement.
4. The euro zone
There is serious consensus on the positive effect for Bulgaria adoption of the single currency. In public speaking, there is a tendency to unnecessarily instill fear of a possible price hike when adopting the euro, it was said in the conversation. “We owe it to the citizens of Bulgaria to lead this campaign calmly and together – no matter who comes from which direction of the spectrum”, said Maria Capone.
“Thanks to the currency board, we already have a fixed exchange rate against the euro, but we do not have a representative at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. When we join, we will be around the table where monetary policy is determined “, says Stefan Tafrov.
“We are all united here to say that the euro is of great economic advantage for Bulgaria. There is no budgetary and monetary risk, because we are in a currency board situation. Once again , active communication with society is necessary, ”he added. Daniel Lorer said.
“We seem to forget that with the signing of the accession treaty to the European Union, we made this commitment. an instrument for Bulgaria, ” Krum Zarkov said.