President Plevneliev: Bulgaria Backs EU Decisions on Ukraine
President Rosen Plevneliev has emphasized the clear and unambiguous support of Bulgaria for all decisions of the EU and the European Parliament in an interview for Deustchlandfunk.
Asked to comment on the crisis in Ukraine, he noted that Russia's annexation of Crimea had questioned the very foundations of the system of international law.
Plevneliev insisted that EU member states had to stick together because all of them were weak by themselves but together they constituted a factor of global importance.
Bulgaria's head of state underscored that Russia's annexation of Crimea had to make the European Union seek answers about "something that happens for the first time in 60 years on our continent, namely a policy which brings us back to the 19th century, when the Great Powers made decisions on small countries."
"This policy must remain in the 19th century. In the 21st century we stick to human rights, democracy and the voice of the people. The future of Ukraine should not be decided by one or two Great Powers, but by the Ukrainian population," Plevneliev stated.
He claimed that the best solution for Ukraine involved allowing the Ukrainian people to decide their fate at the presidential elections on May 25 or possibly at a referendum.
He underscored the powerful attempts to destabilize Ukraine just before the elections, warning that the dangerous policy could affect other countries too.
Stressing that a positive trend for peaceful cooperation and economic development was discernible in Southeastern Europe, he remarked that the achievements could also be challenged by attempts at destabilization.
"Our analysis shows that the Kremlin does not want a war either, but they want a periphery policy, they want Yanukovych. We have seen what Yanukovych did for Ukraine in the sphere of economy, which is now almost bankrupt, as well as in the sphere of institutions, which are very weak, and also in the sphere of market economy, which is totally dependent on oligarchs. That's the problem. This problem exists in other countries too, although probably not as pronounced as in Ukraine. There are oligarchs in Southeastern Europe, as well as media outlets which are dependent on them, and propaganda too. We want to examine this model closely and to fight it," Bulgaria's head of state announced.
Plevneliev underscored that Russia's policy seeking to achieve a destabilization in Europe was propelled both by external and internal forces, citing the strong representation of anti-European parties and groups in the European Parliament.
Referring to the upcoming EP elections, he claimed that the EU had to understand that it had entered a new phase and that it had to decide whether it would go down the path of further delegitimisation of the EU project or aim at its reinforcement.
Plevneliev suggested that the efforts of Russia to destabilize the EU had to make it go back to its values and achieve a greater consolidation.
Asked about Bulgaria's energy dependence on Russia, he explained that Bulgaria had reduced its reliance on Russian gas supplies since the Russia-Ukraine gas crisis, citing the gas grid interconnection projects as an illustration.
He went on to say that he saw the achievement of energy independence, energy efficiency and a diversification of energy sources as priority tasks, adding that Bulgaria had taken the first steps towards these goals over the past two years and a half.
Plevneliev noted that the protest wave in 2013 had underscored the shortcomings of the system of government in Bulgaria, with civil society demanding an efficient fight against corruption, a real market economy which is independent of oligarchic influences, and media freedom.
"The people showed us that they want a better-functioning democratic state" he added.
Bulgaria's President said that during his upcoming visit to Germany he would try to draw attention to the positive developments in southeastern Europe and to express his concerns that the Balkan countries had been designated as periphery, while they were actually an essential part of Europe.
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