The topic of Bulgarian foreign policy shines with its absence in the public debate, the topic is not among the leading ones in the election campaign either. Vice President Iliana Yotova expressed this thesis at the opening of the final course of the National Program “Management Skills” of the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitar Panitsa”, the press office of the head of state announced.
Bulgaria often tolerates foreign decisions and does not try to be a full-fledged part of the decision-making process at the European and global level, believes Yotova.
In her presentation, she examined Bulgarian foreign policy in the context of membership in the European Union and NATO. “Undoubtedly, as part of these unions, Bulgaria is an equal member and participates in decision-making. But our country must have a stronger and more decisive position, speak with a louder voice, and not implement foreign decisions,” the vice president pointed out.
Regarding European foreign policy, Yotova was adamant that it had long since turned from a policy of initiative to a policy of reaction. “This is especially visible in crisis situations when Europe prefers declarative diplomacy,” the vice president said, pointing to the war in Ukraine as an example of the EU’s lack of capacity to prevent and influence conflict management.
The vice-president pointed out that Bulgaria could have played a prominent role at the beginning of the conflict, and recalled President Rumen Radev’s proposal to be mediators for peace. “Instead, the war in Ukraine divided Bulgarian society and became an internal political problem. Instead of influencing and asserting positions abroad, the war influenced the internal political processes in our country,” said Iliana Yotova.
In her presentation, Yotova emphasizes the so-called economization of foreign policy, giving the example of energy dependence on Russia. “To what extent can foreign policy be conducted in the classical way, is this possible at all, or do economic interests and dependencies dictate international relations?! “We are about to allow Gazprom to become the biggest factor internationally,” the vice-president pointed out. According to her, in Bulgaria the gas supply crisis has turned into a political issue – “for” or “against” Russia, which, in her words, escalates during the election campaign, being used mostly by those who have nothing else to propose.
As the main aspect of the Bulgarian and European foreign policy, the vice-president singled out the political expansion of the European Union, in particular the European perspective of the Republic of North Macedonia and its relations with Bulgaria. Yotova emphasized again that everyone who wants to be part of the European family must understand that it is neither a bank nor a donor, but freedom and protection of human rights. “We want guarantees for the rights of the Macedonian Bulgarians, for true good-neighborliness, respect for history,” the vice-president pointed out and singled out as a success of Bulgarian foreign policy the defense of the Bulgarian position on the inclusion of Bulgarians in the Constitution of the Republic of North Macedonia. “This is an example of how we succeed when all institutions and political parties work together,” she said.
“The enlargement of the EU to the Western Balkans also affects another major issue – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo. This knot can be untied only with a clear perspective for these countries, and the sign must come precisely from the EU, otherwise they will always remain points of conflict,” stated Iliana Yotova.
Once again, the Vice President emphasized the need for strength and leadership among European politicians. She pointed out that the foreign policy is closely related to the security policy, and emphasized the subject of the migration policy of the EU, which has not been able to find an adequate solution for eight years.
The questions raised by the vice president became the subject of a lively discussion, the announcement also states.