Bulgaria Opposes Immediate EU Sanctions on Russia

Views on BG | March 17, 2014, Monday // 14:30| Views: | Comments: 6
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Bulgaria: Bulgaria Opposes Immediate EU Sanctions on Russia Bulgaria's Foreign Minister, Kristian VIgenin. Photo by BGNES.


From Euractiv

The Bulgarian foreign minister, Kristian Vigenin, has been instructed by his ruling Socialist party “not to haste with harsh measures” against Russia following the Crimea referendum, as EU ministers gather in Brussels in an attempt to impose sanctions on Moscow.

Vigenin, who was an MEP before he took the job of foreign minister last May, was harshly criticised by his fellow socialists for having declared that Bulgaria would not recognise the Crimean referendum and for having visited Ukraine and meeting with the country’s new leaders. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is the leading partner of the country’s minority government.

BSP leader Sergei Stanishev, who is also the president of the Party of European Socialists, said that Bulgaria “should not be among the hawks in the European Union” towards Russia.

“Besides the common position of the European countries we have our national interests," said Stanishev in comments reported by the daily Standart. "First, they reflect the fact that we have between 250 and 300 thousand ethnic Bulgarians in Ukraine. We are close geographically to the region. In case of destabilisation we would be the first to suffer," he said.

The BSP leader also remarked that that Bulgaria depended on energy supplies from Russia and of the income brought by Russian tourists.

“All this must be taken into account when forming the Bulgarian national position and behavior in this matter," said Stanishev.

Bulgarian socialists appear to be supportive of Russia’s intervention in Crimea. Alexander Simov, a journalist from the Socialist daily Duma who was sent to Crimea as an observer, said yesterday he believed that the referendum vote was legitimate.

"I am going to watch the whole process. To see ... that it is a legal referendum," he said. "So I think it is going to be very legal," Simov said, as quoted by the Voice of America. Simov’s name appears on the list of the BSP candidates for the European elections.

Square brackets

The news from Sofia puts in doubt the EU's ability to finalise a deal on sanctions against Russia as foreign ministers meet in Brussels today. Unanimity among the 28 EU member states is needed for taking a decision.

According to the draft meeting conclusions, seen by EurActiv, the most important element of the document is in square brackets, meaning it has not been agreed by ambassadors before the ministers' arrival.

The respective text reads: “The Council recalls the statement of the EU Heads of State and Government of 6 March which set out that negotiations between Ukraine and Russia needed to start within a few days, including through multilateral mechanisms, and produce results within a limited timeframe.

"[In light of the developments of last week, and in the absence of any such results, the Council has decided to introduce additional measures, including travel restrictions and an asset freeze against persons responsible for actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, including actions on the future status of any part of the territory which are contrary to the Ukrainian Constitution, and persons, and entities associated with them. The Council has furthermore decided to cancel the EU-Russia Summit scheduled to take place in Sochi in June this year.]”

According to press articles, Hungarian Foreign Minister J?nos Martonyi said on Thursday that if the European Union put in place the third phase of sanctions against Russia, a “long economic war” could ensue, with grave impacts on Hungary.

Asked whether this would mean that Hungary would oppose sanctions at today’s meeting, a Hungarian diplomat reminded EurActiv that his country, together with the Visegrad group, had likened the events in Crimea to the 1956 crackdown by the Soviet army of the Budapest uprising and of the 1968 invasion by the Warsaw Pact of Czechoslovakia.

The Visegrad or V4 group consists of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

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Tags: travel restrictions, European Union, energy supplies, Sergei Stanishev, Bulgarian Socialist Party, Kristian Vigenin, Referendum, Crimea, assets freezes
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» To the forumComments (6)
ardland - 21 Mar 2014 // 12:45:10

The Nuland-Oligarch illegal govt in Kiev is already trying to disarm the public especially the Nazis. Yats says give up your guns. I hope this shit starts to get real now and they go after the oligarchs.

The New York Times: ”Ukraine Sets Deadline for Militias to Surrender Illegal Guns” (March 20, 2014)


St Dimityr Basarbovski - 18 Mar 2014 // 15:45:27

What is this euractiv site? was it started up by a Romanian? afaik there was one Ro journalist a few years ago with this euractiv who used to write anti-bg stuff only. I have this "chilling" feeling that this piece was also written by a Ro, maybe the same one. Why? It's because it deals with Bg and Hungary only, Ro's enemies, accusing them that they are behaving like Russia's trojan horses inside the EU. Not a word about the attitude of Croatia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and so on and so forth and so "wider" (und so weiter). From this article however it is clear that Hungary will not oppose EU sanctions on Russia, neither it is certain that Bg will do that.

Optimistic - 17 Mar 2014 // 22:37:05

Sorry Agent Picadilly but Belgains are really boring, Poland would be more fun and the Polish politicians need a good slap right now!!!!

Agent Piccadilly - 17 Mar 2014 // 22:15:46

Now is the time for Bulgaria to renounce its membership of the evil EU and embrace our slavic Russian brothers by sending tanks into Brussels and annexing Belgium. The days of fascists imposing their imperialism on revolutionary socialist countries like Bulgaria is finally over!

Optimistic - 17 Mar 2014 // 20:50:09

Bravo Bulgaria, well done and the sanctions are useless crap anyway.

Creavyn - 17 Mar 2014 // 19:51:16

Why in hell did EU let Bulgarian in, this Russian trojan horse? No clue.

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