EU Must Become Collective Member of NATO - Bulgaria's Ex Foreign Minister
The European Union must become a collective member of NATO as a way of fashioning a qualitatively new relationship between the two organizations, according to former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy.
In an exclusive interview for Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) on the occasion of the 6th year since Bulgaria signed its EU accession treaty and the 20th year since the founding of the Bulgarian Atlantic Club, its President Solomon Passy put forth his view that EU's potential collective membership of NATO would enhance greatly its bid to become a global actor, a goal stipulated by the Lisbon Treaty.
"We should start thinking in a qualitatively new direction which will contribute greatly to the "globalization" of the EU. What I mean is that it will be very beneficial for the EU and international politics as a whole if the EU decides in favor of becoming a collective member of NATO, and one day achieves this goal. This will bridge to a great extent the differences within the EU between the countries which are also NATO members and those which are not," Passy declared.
He pointed out that the EU has been struggling for months, maybe years, to get a special recognition through a UN resolution in order to earn the right to vote within the UN but that such ambitions will be much easier to achieve if it has the special status of being a collective member of NATO.
Passy, who is a former Bulgarian Foreign Minister (in the government of Simeon Saxe-Coburg in 2001-2005) presiding over the country's NATO accession and completion of its EU accession talks, and Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2004, also reiterated an earlier idea of his – the setting up of a NATO-EU Council similar to the NATO-Russia Council and NATO-Ukraine Council. He is convinced that such a council will become an important instrument for constant dialogue between the EU and NATO exactly the way the existing NATO councils work.
Passy further outlined two crucial goals that he sees as a must-do priority for Bulgaria and that the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria, an organization with a 20-year history, will work to help get achieved – namely, that Bulgaria should become one of the founders and first member states of the common EU defense, and that it should seek a membership in the global club of rich countries – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
"The Lisbon Treaty stipulates that the EU needs to create a common EU defense. I actually have some very good news in that regard. While giving a lecture on the occasion of the 20th birthday of the Atlantic Club in Bulgaria last week, the Speaker of the Bulgarian Parliament Tsetska Tsacheva accepted our idea to have the Bulgarian Parliament lend strong support to this process by encouraging the Bulgarian institutions to do what is necessary for Bulgaria to get involved as a founder and one of the first members of the common EU defense. Bulgaria has been applying to join various EU structures for a very long time. I think that we are now mature enough to become the founders of such structures. The benefits of the common EU defense – and, in the long run, of a common EU army - are countless – starting with the optimization of forces and funds all the way to global warming policies. In a nutshell, the benefits are worth trillions of euros," the ACB President explained.
As far as Bulgaria's potential aspiration to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development headquartered in Paris is concerned, the former Foreign Minister is convinced that it will automatically make Bulgaria behave in a way that will turn it into a rich country.
Passy believes that after Bulgaria achieved its goals of joining NATO and the EU, it is short of national goals that can mobile the energies of the state.
"The Atlantic Club is now ready with new ideas and message such as seeking OECD membership and Bulgaria's role in the common EU defense from its very beginning," he stressed.
With respect to Bulgaria's signing of its EU accession treaty 6 years ago, in which Passy took part as Foreign Minister, he is convinced that the Bulgarian negotiators' team back then managed to achieve the best possible scenario in the sense of getting the earliest possible – and simultaneously last possible accession date for a long period of time.
"Figuratively speaking, Bulgaria got into the last door of the last car of the last train of EU enlargement, and it grabbed it with only one hand while hopping on one leg. But we did manage to get on the EU train... We can now be satisfied that we realized the one good scenario for Bulgaria by signing the accession treaty on April 25, 2005, and joining the EU on January 1, 2007," he concluded.
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