Bulgaria's President: Balkans 'Could Be Next Destabilized Region'
A negative development of the situation in Ukraine could turn the Balkans into the next "destabilized" region, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev warned in Berlin.
Plevneliev made his comments during a press conference titled "Southeast Europe and Bulgaria in the context of the Crimea crisis".
"No way is more certain to destabilize Europe than weak and disunited Balkans," the President was quoted by Dariknews.bg as saying. According to local German media citing news agency DPA, he added Russia was "creeping toward the Balkans".
He pointed "nationalists, oligarchs, corruption, propaganda and energy dependence" as the means to disintegrate Southeast Europe from the inside.
In his words it was very important to end the "center-periphery" division in Europe, to which "Russia's actions in Crimea" contributed.
He shared his belief that "everyone" must be important in the EU and that the bloc should take the lead on a global political level.
Europe, as he argued, is entering a "new stage" after the evens on the Crimean peninsula, which was incorporated into the Russian Federation in mid-March following a local referendum. He spoke in favour of a "third round of sanctions" if there is "need" of such measures.
Plevneliev also warned against the likelihood that a "strong anti-European group" could make its way into the European Parliament.
Repeating calls for an "energy union" in Europe, he urged media freedom as opposed to propaganda and dependence of information sources.
The Bulgarian President is on a two-day working visit to Germany, where he met his counterpart Joachim Gauck on Thursday and it also to have a conversation with government representatives such as Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Baden-Wuerttemberg Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann later on Friday. He will also attend Europe Day celebrations in Stuttgart.
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Our region is already destabilized. Just because Bulgarians sold out to the EU for a loaf of bread doesn't mean other nations will. What our government does doesn't mean the people support it. Here in Serbia we are mostly pro-Russian orientated and despise the idea of EU. But we're the type of people that keep quiet and quiet... and then we explode when we get fed up.
We haven't had a war in 15 years. The people are ready to fight for a better life, especially if we are joined by our brothers from other countries. And if Putin is going to be a justified leader to unite us, so be it.