Caught in the dilemma ”technocrats against populists”

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Technocracy is connected with finance in Western Europe, while in South-East Europe it is affiliated with justice (foto: Pixabay, CC0)

Shall the European elections in Bulgaria and Romania pass under the sign of the status-quo’s suitable dispute?

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 13 February 2019 on the Bulgarian section of the site ”The Barricade”. 

The forthcoming elections for the European parliament draw clearly the division lines in Romanian and Bulgarian politics. Just as it happens in other places, the traditional political confrontation between the left and the right is being supplemented by other nuances: pro-Europeans against eurosceptics, young/new against old, liberals/progressives against conservators, technocrats against populists. These are just some of the labels and contradictions, through which one can read what is going on in South-East Europe.

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In which domains Bulgaria does it better than Romania?

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(photo: Groubani, Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

According to the data, gathered by Wall-street.ro the answer is: taxes, spent European funds, tourism and, surprisingly, salaries

Anca Olteanu

This article was published on 1 February 2019 on the Romanian economic site ”Wall-street.ro” and is republished hear with the permission of Wall-street and with small modifications. 

Romania and Bulgaria have entered in the EU in the same year, but their roads have departed over time. If we often laud ourselves that our results are better than those of the neighbours, comparing ourselves with them constantly, the reality of statistics gives advantage to the country beyond Danube. In Bulgaria taxes upon salaries are lower, there is a budget surplus and more tourists. Bulgaria has overtaken Romania, but it looks like no one is interested to observe it.

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Why Romania hasn’t recognized Juan Guaido yet?

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The Romanian foreign minister Teodor Meleşcanu (photo: 

As president of the Council of the EU Bulgaria’s northern neighbour so far abstains from taking unequivocally side on the Venezuelan issue, upon which there is not common European consensus. It is a convenient motive to wait for the development of the ambiguous case

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 6th February 2019 on the site “The Barricade”. 

Bulgarians, who used to see the neighbour Romania as a standard of Euroatlanticism have probably been surprised that even though Bucharest has taken over the presidency of the Council of the EU it hasn’t recognized yet the self-declared “temporary president” of Venezuela Juan Guaido – a recognition for which the USA has been insisting and which has already been made by a number of leading countries in the EU, including by the Bulgarian government. What does Bucharest think about the case “Venezuela”? A lot of Romanian media ask the same question.

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For whom is the bridge “Vidin-Calafat” dangerous?

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The Bridge ”New Europe” between Vidin and Calafat (photo: Pixabay, CC0)

Transport means economy and geopolitics. There is no place for wars – everyone wins from the development of road connections

Eng. Simeon Evtimov

This article was published on 30 January 2019 on the site of the Bulgarian newspaper ”Sega” (Now) and is republished here with the permission of the newspaper.

Danube Bridge” 2 is dangerous, claims eng. Ivan Yakimov, quoted recently in an article by the ”Sega” newspaper. What I read there no only surprised me, but also insulted me personally, because I was honoured to work in the entity, which constructed and managed the project and conducted it for the greatest part of its existence. Is this bridge really dangerous? It is sufficiently telling that no one has paid attention so far to the worries of eng. Yakimov (who joined the entity in 2009 without formal competition for his position). In fact, the problem does not lie in technical risks or professional disputes, but in geopolitics.

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Romania – a student of excellence or poor learner?

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The relations between Bucharest and Brussels are not so bad (photo: YouTube, channel of Romanian government)

Bulgarian media narrative on Romania changed significantly. The recent wave of romanoscepticism in Bulgaria on the occasion of the starting presidency of the EU simply follows the mainstream of Bruxelles, but doesn`t help for the better understanding of what is going on in the region

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 12 January 2019 on the Bulgarian section of the site “The Barricade”.

The days before the official start of the Romanian europresidency, which began on 10 January 2019, came together with a wave of negative evaluations and comments in Western European media about the government in Bucharest and the Romanian political elite. Leading Bulgarian media also gave tribune to a number of analysts, who expressed their scepticism towards Romania, similar to the Western European, given that literally until the middle of 2018 Romanians were given constantly as example for successful reform in justice, economy and loyality to the West. The experts now sowed doubts that Romanian presidency will be successful. The analysts also reduced Romania of 20 million people to the person of the strong man in the Social Democratic Party Liviu Dragnea, who is criticised strongly in Western Europe and to the ironised prime minister Viorica Dancila.

The parallel with the Bulgarian europresidency, lauded for its tractability by Jean-Claude Juncker, is natural to be made. Until recently Romania was the country of excellence in the region, because of ”anti-corruption” and its ”awaken civil society”, which ”opposes the thieves in politics”. Now Bulgarians were to live their small media moment of glory as most loyal and responsible representatives of the EU in the region. This change was taking place while Romania was transforming itself into a country, which, according to the interpretations, ”is not looked at with credibility” in European institutions and in the other country-members. A possibility arose that the government in Sofia shines before the European partners, pushing itself away from Romania, with which it had been in tandem for the last two decades. It is expected that Bulgaria will be admitted to the Schengen space until the end of the Juncker commission, while no such announcements have been given to Bucharest.

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Vladimir Zlatarsky: On the Balkans distrust between nations is great, but today in a natural way Romanians and Bulgarians get to know one another without mediator

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The book ”The insincere ones” was published in 2018 (photo: Vladimir Mitev)

Interview with the researcher from the Institute for Research of History at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences about his book “The insincere ones”, which researches the relations between Romania, Bulgaria, Germany and Austro-Hungary on the eve of World War I and about the Romanian-Bulgarian relations today

Vladimir Mitev

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Vladimir Zlatarsky (photo: Vladimir Zlatarsky)

Associate professor doctor Vladimir Zlatarsky is a researcher at the Institute for Research of History at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He studies the history of Bulgaria from the end of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century through the prism of the international relations. He is a specialist in history of Bulgarian-German and Bulgarian-Austrian relations and in Balkan Studies. He is the author of the monographs “The Reich and the Kingdom. The German presence in Bulgaria (1933-1940) (published in 2014) and “The insincere ones. Bulgaria, Romania and the Central Forces (1913-1914) (published in 2018).

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Vladimir Mitev: The media “warming-up” to the Romanian europresidency shows spirit of competition, but we need more cooperation with our neighbours in the region

The founder of the blog „The Bridge of Friendship“ has given an interview to the Bulgarian National Radio on the occasion of beginning of the Romanian europresidency – about the perspectives in the following six months before the relations between Bruxelles and Bucharest, between the president Iohannis and the government of the social democrats, about the economic measures introduced in the end of 2018 and about the media reflection on the eve of the presidency

On 5th January 2019 the founder of the blog “The Bridge of Friendship” and editor of the Romanian section of the site “The Barricade” Vladimir Mitev was interviewed by Georgi Markov in the emission for international comments and analyses “Saturday 150” of the programme “Horizon” of the Bulgarian National Radio. The occasion for the interview is the start of the Romanian presidency of the Council of the EU. The beginning of the presidency was marked by a wave of negative evaluations and comments in Western European media about the government in Bucharest and the Romanian political elite. In the first days of the new year Bulgarian media have given tribune to a number of analysts, who showed scepticism towards Romania similar to the Western European one, given that literally until the middle of 2018 Romanians had beeng given constantly as an example for successful reforms in justice, economy and loyalty to the West. The media reflection towards Romania in the beginning of 2019 reminds of the one towards Greece, when it resisted the prescribed treatment of the debt crisis. Then Greeks were often described in European and Bulgarian media as irresponsible, because they resists and destabile the whole of the eurozone. But it wasn’t pointed out that the Greek debt actually rose as a result of the “treatment”. In this context Vladimir Mitev pointed out that we know vaguely our neighbours and we are tempted to compete with them who is more responsible and more European. However it is worthy if when we know our neighbours, we don’t remain limited to the satisfaction that we make one thing or another better, or to the pitifulness that we fail as people and institution in comparison to them. As a part of the EU we could need more cooperation in the European South-East. Not only competition, but cooperation is an European value.

Continue reading “Vladimir Mitev: The media “warming-up” to the Romanian europresidency shows spirit of competition, but we need more cooperation with our neighbours in the region”