Alberto Navarro: Bulgaria Should Learn Unity from Spain

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | July 1, 2004, Thursday // 00:00
Alberto Navarro: Bulgaria Should Learn Unity from Spain Photo by Kameliya Atanasova (

Mr Navarro is Spain's Secretary of State for European Affairs. He graduated law in the University of Salamanca (1972- 1977). He has a diploma from the Hague Academy of International Law and a diploma in International Studies from the Diplomatic School in Madrid. His career began as Head of the Central America Desk at the Directorate General for Ibero-America at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From July 1980 to 1982 Gonzalez was Embassy Secretary at the Spanish Embassy in Honduras and between August 1982 and July 1985 he worked as Deputy Head of Mission at the Spanish Embassy to Czechoslovakia. Alberto Navarro Gonzalez's appointments also include Director General/ Head of the Office of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Head of the European Community Humanitarian and Office. Between October 1999 and August 2003 he was appointed Director of the Office of the High Representative/ Secretary- General for the CFSP of the Council of the European Union. He was Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Brazil from September 2003 till April 2004.

Mr Navarro spoke with Editor-in-Chief Milena Hristova

Q: How will Spain's new Socialist government change the priorities in the country EU policy?

A: We put Europe back on the Spanish agenda as the top priority of our foreign policy. The Spanish society underwent a complete change and modernized the country since its entry into the European Union. We want more Europe on the agenda and we believe in stronger Europe, which has become the main accent of the new Spanish government.

At the same time we want peace and prosperity in the rest of the world and the government is going to increase substantially the aid for third world countries. Spain's relations with Latin America and the Mediterranean will also be on the government's agenda but will be inferior to European issues.

Q: What prompted Spain to compromise in negotiations on the EU's first-ever constitution?

A: We did a compromise on the basis of accepting the double majority for decisions in the Council, which is a majority of states and 65% of the population. European citizens are very important for us and we believe in Europe based on states and also citizens. We reached a good compromise and it is good news for all Europeans.

Q: Are you confident that the citizens of Spain will back the Constitution in the upcoming referendum?

A: I have no doubt about that! I cannot give an exact percentage but I am positive that there wll be a very strong support when the referendum takes place in Spain in the coming months.

The EU Constitution will be signed in Rome on November 20 and afterwards I hope that all political parties will support a positive result in the referendum.

Q: Should Bulgaria hold a referendum on EU accession?

A: The main concern is Bulgarians' unity on EU matters. I was very positively impressed by seeing EU flags everywhere in Sofia, a city with a very European atmosphere. Whether to hold a referendum or not is a decision for the government and the political parties. I wish that Europe united the society and not divided it.

Q: What are your impressions from your meetings here in Sofia?

A: I held meetings with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg and Euro-Affairs Minister Meglena Kuneva. The government fully backs the entry of Bulgaria into the European Union and works with a lot of efficiency. Bulgaria sets a very good example for Romania and we hope that your neighbor will also conclude the pre-accession negotiations in the coming months.

Q: Bulgaria was blamed for quickly wrapping up EU talks and accepting the safeguard clause...

A: I admire the way in which Bulgaria held its pre-accession negotiations. Bulgaria will always get a lot of understanding in Europe for your positions. In the end you will be in a very comfortable position and will receive solidarity from all other member states. This has always been the case in Europe.

Q: Which is the lesson that Bulgaria should learn from Spain?

A: Bulgaria should learn that unity and work for Europe is rewarding. The society will change for the good, the country will be modernized and in the end you will see that it is worth doing this.

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