Bulgarian foreign policy discussions after the Borissov era

Valentin Radomirski (source: Facebook)

Two veteran analysts commented on topics on which Bulgaria has been active in international relations – the Three Seas Initiative and Bulgarian-Macedonian relations

Vladimir Mitev

After long-serving Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov fell from power, a period of assessment of his legacy is underway. One of the fields in which it is being carried out is international relations.

Bulgarian foreign policy was non-existent for 12 years. It had dissolved into the European one. The Bulgarian Foreign Minister did not go to Brussels with a position to come back with a decision. He would get a decision there and come back to Bulgaria with a position.

This is how foreign policy analyst Lyubomir Kyuchukov described Bulgarian foreign policy under Boyko Borissov during the presentation of the book “Where is Europe Heading to?” at the Kanev Center in Ruse on July 1, 2021. Together with the former ambassador to the UK, the speakers were diplomat Biserka Benisheva and international relations lecturer Nina Dyulgerova.

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Ion Lixandru: The time has come for a large-scale Bulgarian-Romanian cooperation in infrastructure

Can Romania and Bulgaria cooperate in infrastructure development? (photo: Wikipedia)

The coordinator for Infrastructure and Transport at the Coalition for Romania’s Development has come out publicly with proposals for joint action between Romania and Bulgaria and infrastructure, which he outlines in this interview for “The Bridge of Friendship” blog

Vladimir Mitev

Ion Lixandru was born in Bucharest 61 years ago. He has graduated from the High School of Transport. He was a worker at the construction of the channel Danube – Black Sea in 1977 for three months. He comes from the family of heavy truck drivers (for internal and international transport).

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Vladimir Chukov: We need strong cooperation between Greece, Romania and Bulgaria

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Vladimir Chukov (photo: YouTube)

Interview with the foreign policy expert on his vision for regional cooperation in Southeastern Europe, which should be realised by Romania, Greece and Bulgaria and on the models of cooperation, which can inspire – Benelux and the Visegrad Group

Vladimir Mitev

Vladimir Chukov is an international relations analyst, who has specialised in the Middle East, the issues of Muslim religion, terrorism and security. He is born on 22 April 1960 in Athens, Greece. He has studied in a French college in Tunisia and graduates from the French language school in Sofia. He has graduated from the faculty of social sciences at the Damascus University, Syria. In 1998 he became associate professor, in 2005 – doctor of economic sciences, and in 2007 – professor. He teaches in a number of Bulgarian universities: the Free University of Varna, the University of Sofia, the New Bulgarian University, the University of Rousse and others.

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The regional cooperation in Southeastern Europe – nothing, but out of sincerity

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The Serbian president Alexander Vucic, the Romanian PM Viorica Dancila, the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov (photo: YouTube, Romanian government)

The quadrilateral meeting of Romania, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria in the Romanian resort Snagov and the Romanian-Bulgarian intergovernmental meeting in Bucharest in the end of March 2019 show that the euroatlantic solidarity in the region is slightly forced. Is it possible to have a cooperation, which comes from within?

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 31 March 2019 on the Bulgarian section of the site ”The Barricade”. 

The Bulgarian government with the prime minister Boyko Borissov at its front returned from Bucharest with modest diplomatic achievements. The joint session with the Romanian government led to the signing of one agreement – on cooperation in the domain of extraordinary situations, and two memorandums of understanding – on small and medium enterprises and on easing of ship navigation on the river Danube.

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Valentin Radomirski: I hope Bulgaria and Romania will manage to avoid being pushed into EU’s “2nd Tier”

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Valentin Radomirski (photo: Valentin Radomirski)

An interview with the former Bulgarian ambassador in Bucharest about the Bulgarian and the Romanian presidency of the EU, about the dangers before the two countries that come from developments in the Black Sea and Middle Eastern region, about the Chinese perspective and the possibilities for regional cooperation

Vladimir Mitev

Valentin Radomirski is a Bulgarian diplomat and a foreign policy expert. He has graduated from the Moscow State University of International Relations in 1974 (having studied ”International Economic Relations”). He starts work in the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Relations in 1974. He was a counselor on foreign policy and national security in the cabinet of the Bulgarian prime minister Sergei Stanishev between 2005 and 2009. He was the Bulgarian ambassador to Romania between 2009 and 2012. After that he has been ambassador for special assignments, who was responsible for regional cooperation for an year. He was an unaccredited ambassador in the Bulgarian embassy in The Republic of Moldova between October 2013 and June 2015. He retires in 2015. He is often asked to comment on international relations by Bulgarian media.

”The Barricade” approached Valentin Radomirski with questions about the situation in the regions of constant interest for Bulgaria and Romania – Western Balkans and Black Sea, about the dangers before both countries in the changing international relations, about the possibilities for regional cooperation and so on.

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How the Romanian government fell hours after the Bulgarian presidency of the EU was presented in Bucharest

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Mihai Tudose is no longer the prime minister of Romania (photo: gov.ro)

The prime minister Mihai Tudose resigned after a scandal with the internal minister Carmen Dan – a close ally of Social Democratic Party`s leader Liviu Dragnea, while tensions grew with the Hungarian minority. Echoes of the conflicts could be felt at the press conference that presented the Bulgarian priorities for leading the EU

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 17 January 2018 at the site “Baricada”.

„We`ll see each other exactly after a year again here for the presentation of the Romanian presidency of the EU“, said the Romanian foreign minister Teodor Meleşcanu at the end of a press conference in the representation office of the European Commission in Bucharest. The public laughed. The 76-old veteran of Romanian diplomacy expressed his expectations for the future, attempting to play a little bit with those present, only a moment after the director of the representation office of the EC in Romania Angela Cristea had closed the event. Apparently, Meleşcanu was happy with his meeting with almost 50 diplomats and journalists from 21 media. So he allowed himself to express confidence in the future.

At this moment no one in the conference room, even Meleşcanu (as it is witnessed by the quote) didn`t expect that only 11 hours later the premier Mihai Tudose will resign. There was an ongoing media scandal between Tudose and the internal minister Carmen Dan, who is a close ally of the Social Democrat Party`s leader Liviu Dragnea. The prime minister accused the internal minister in lying on the occasion of appointment of the chief of Romanian police and said that he can no longer work with her. However Dan refused to resign. Dragnea showed that he protects his ally. So Tudose had to resign.

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Teodor Meleşcanu: Romania supports strongly the Black Sea regional cooperation

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The Romanian foreign minister Teodor Meleşcanu (at the microphone at the front) explains Bucharest`s vision for the Black Sea regional cooperation (photo: Baricada)

The Romanian foreign minister answered a question of the blog ”Bridge of Friendship” at a joint press conference with the Bulgairan ambassador in Bucharest

Vladimir Mitev

This article was published on 16 January 2018 at the site “Baricada”. 

”The problems of Danubean and Black Sea regions should occupy a higher place on the EU’s agenda”, said the Romanian foreign minister Teodor Meleşcanu during a press conference in the representative office of the European Commission in Bucharest. The press conference took place on 15 January 2018. Hours after it the prime minister Mihai Tudose resigned as a result of a political crisis within the government`s ranks and a conflict with the strong man in the Social Democratic Party Liviu Dragnea. However press conference`s topic was not the political crisis, but the priorities of the Bulgarian presidency of the EU, which has just started. They were presented by the Bulgarian ambassador in Romania Todor Churov. The event was visited by almost 50 diplomats and journalists from 21 media, including the blog ”Bridge of Friendship”.

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A digital booklet about Romanian-Bulgarian relations explores the difficult interaction between both states

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The Bridge of Friendship (photo: Yavor Michev, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons)

Infrastructural projects and international relations are two domains, where Bucharest and Sofia look for collaboration, but don`t manage always to find reciprocity

Vladimir Mitev

The blog „Bridge of Friendship“ published a digital book in English, Romanian and Bulgarian language, called „The Difficult Cooperation: Romania and Bulgaria’s Foreign Policy Exchanges and Infrastructural Projects after a decade in the EU“. The document collects 11 articles, published on the blog in the last two years. A part of these articles is republished on blog with permission from media in Croatia (Bilten), Romania (Gândul, PS News, Ioniţa`s) and Bulgaria (A-specto, Baricada).

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Maria Grapini: Romania and Bulgaria must increase their economic, cultural and educational exchanges so that they could use the possibilities in EU

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Maria Grapini during the Romanian-Bulgarian forum in Rousse, Bulgaria on 20 October 2017 (photoo: Maria Grapini, EP)

The Black Sea macroregion is an initiative which will encourage the economic development of Romania and Bulgaria and means cooperation with all the states in the Black Sea zone to the extent that they respect the signed contracts with the EU

Maria Grapini is a member of the European parliament from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. She is the co-president of the Intergroup for small and medium enterprise. Among other activities, she is a part of the Delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly Euronest and is a part of the Delegation to the Parliamentary Committee for Association EU – Moldova. Before entering in politics, Maria Grapini was active as expert and manager in the textile industry in Romania. Between 2012 and 2014 she was a delegated minister for small and medium enterprise, business environment and tourism.

The blog “The Bridge of Friendship” presented the idea for the creation of a Black Sea macroregion of the EU through interviews with the member of the European parliament Georgi Pirinski and the foreign policy expert and former deputy minister of foreign affairs Lyubomir Kyuchukov in the spring of 2017. On 9 October 2017 the deputy minister of transport, informational technologies and comunications Velik Zanchev declared in the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the EU that one of the priorities in the project for programme for the Bulgarian presidency of the EU is ”an integrated macro-regional approach to the Black Sea region”. This means that Sofia will try to imporve the transport, communicational and infrastructural connectivity in the region. 

This interview was published on 26 October 2017 at the site “Baricada”.

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Alireza Pourmohammad: The research center IBCE wants to contribute to the mutual acquaintance of Iranologists in the Balkan and Central European region

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Alireza Pourmohammad (photo: Andrea Laura Kiss)

An interview with the Director of the “Center for Iran, Balkans and Central European Studies” on the occasion of the summer school of Iranian Studies which took place between 11 and 17 September 2017, about the goals, the achievements and the future intentions of this non-governmental organization

Vladimir Mitev

Alireza Pourmohammad is the Director of the “Center for Iran, Balkans and Central European Studies” (IBCE), which was established in Sofia in 2016 with the intention to contribute to the scientific communication and the development of Iranian Studies in Bulgaria and in the Balkan and Central European countries. He started teaching in the department of Iranian Studies in the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” in 2008, where he covers “Introduction in Mysticism”, “Persian language and literature”, “Tehran dialect”, “Oral Persian language”, “Introduction in the Persian mythology and epic”.

Alireza Pourmohammad has graduated from the Iranian University “Allameh Tabatabai”. The joint work of the IBCE’s Director and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ivo Panov, who is the head of the department “Iranian Studies” in the Sofia University and a president of “The Association of the Persian Language and Culture’s Friends in the Republic of Bulgaria” led to the organization of several international scientific conferences in Bulgaria, to the translation and the publication of books, dictionaries and volumes with scientific articles in Bulgarian language. In the middle of September 2017 the first summer school of Iranian Studies with lecturers from Iran, Hungary and Bulgaria took place. There were lectures about Introduction to the Old Persian and Middle Persian language, Persian Classical Literature, Contemporary Iranian Literature, and about Iranian philosophy and religion.  These lectures dealt also with the historical evolution of the Shi’a sects, Iranian mysticism, etc. The Persian language (Farsi) seminars contributed to the overcoming of some specific problems, connected with writing and speaking in Persian language.

After the end of the summer school a meeting of the heads of the academic centers and Iranian Studies courses from Poland, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Serbia, Kosovo, Iran and Bulgaria took place in the central building of the Sofia University. The main goal of the meeting was the mutual acquaintance and the search for possibilities for collaboration in the field of Iranian Studies research. IBCE’s activity became an occasion for the blog “Bridge of Friendship” to talk with the president of this regional center for strategic research.

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