H.E. Arias Gonzalez: Bulgaria Follows Spain's Track, Sure to Join EU

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | December 27, 2005, Tuesday // 00:00
H.E. Arias Gonzalez: Bulgaria Follows Spain's Track, Sure to Join EU Photo by Kameliya Atanasova (Sofia News Agency)

H.E. Fernando Arias Gonzalez was appointed Spain's Ambassador to Sofia in November last year. Prior to his arrival in Sofia he served as Second Secretary at the Spanish Embassy in the Netherlands (1979), Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Spain in Romania (1983), Mexico (1990) and Argentina (1994). He was appointed Ambassador of Spain to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (1998) and the Republic of Mali (1999). In 2001 he took over the post of Director of State Protocol at the Prime Minister Office.

Ambassador Fernando Arias Gonzalez answered questions of Sofia News Agency Editor-in-Chief Milena Hristova.

This is the sixth interview in a series that will present to Sofia News Agency readers the views of EU member states ambassadors on Bulgaria's EU prospects.

Q: Which were Bulgaria's achievements and failures in 2005 in its efforts to draw closer to EU accession?

A: Bulgaria's main achievement in 2005 was the economic and political stability it attained. The country has sustained its economic stability for quite a while, which is a very good sign. With the political stability the country, the parties and the electorate have demonstrated that Bulgaria has reached a mature point in its economic development. In the summer we saw how the political parties were negotiating the formation of the new government. This has been a very good democratic exercise, which is the best example of what I say.

On the other hand in 2005 the Parliament worked hard and a lot of new regulations were passed. This is a demonstration of the political will of the Bulgarian government that they want to adapt the structures as soon as possible to incorporate the acquis communautaire to the legislation of the country.

Last but not least the signature of the treaty of accession to the European Union in April 2005 was a very special day we will always remember.

Q: What should Bulgaria do during the first half of next year to keep January 1, 2007 a feasible target date for EU accession?

A: Bulgaria has to go on working in the same direction and with the same intensity, keep the strong political and social will in order to accede to the European Union as soon as possible. Perhaps it will be necessary to make an extra effort to demonstrate the will to adapt everything to the requirements of the Union and especially in the reforms of the judiciary. Within the next few months it is also necessary to go on demonstrating that the country has real political stability.

Q: Spain unanimously ratified the EU Accession Treaty of Bulgaria and Romania in the middle of December. Could a delay in the complete ratification of Bulgaria's EU accession treaty by all member states deal a blow to the country's accession in 2007?

A: A delay in the ratifications of the Bulgaria's treaty of accession to the European Union would be very bad. Fortunately every month we have more ratifications.

Q: Bulgaria closed most of its negotiation chapters with the EU during the Spanish Presidency of the bloc and received the support of Spain in many critical situations concerning the so-called "sensitive issues." Now Bulgaria expects with fear and uncertainty the conclusions of the next report of the European Commission. How fatal could the report's criticism be?

A: Spain has been supporting Bulgaria throughout the accession process since the very beginning. I have the feeling that the report of the European Commission will be good enough. I have the hope that the EC will recognize the efforts and merits of Bulgaria.

Q: Thirty years ago Spain experienced difficulties in its EU accession only to prove later that the older member states' fears were unfounded. Can you draw parallels to Bulgaria's accession process? Can we expect a similar scenario?

A: The difficulties that Spain experienced during the accession process are normal. It was a long and difficult process in which the European countries were very tough and demanding with us. The pressure was positive to adapt efficiently our structures and form good teams of negotiators.

Bulgaria is following the same track and is making a very big effort to adapt and incorporate the acquis communautaire. One can draw parallels to Bulgaria's accession process - the essence is the same, though the background is different - Europe and the whole world have significantly changed since the beginning of the 80s. I believe that Bulgaria will become a full member of the European Union in a very short time.

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