How Bulgaria chose an EU President
Recently the European leaders nominated chose a President and a Higher Representative for the Foreign and Security policy of the EU. These are two key figures for Europe’s global ambitions. I have described elsewhere what the choice of van Rompuy and Cathrine Ashton might mean for the EU foreign affairs. Here I am discussing what it means for Bulgaria.
On the day after European Council’s decision (20 Nov 2009) there was barely any reaction from either the Bulgarian Council of Ministers or the Ministry of Foreigh Affairs. The media re-posted Rompuy and Ashton’s CVs and quoted Merkel, Baroso, Bildt and Sarkozy, but not the Bulgarian Foreign minister and Prime minister. Of course, Reuters, Belga and France Press were not queuing for an interview with them, but Bulgarian leaders have the obligation to inform the public about their decisions and the reasons for them. Especially considering the importance of who will be in charge of the EU foreign policy!
Despite the fact that news made a stir in media across the globe, the Foreign Ministry’s website featured the following news: ‘Celebrations for the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Belgium’. Very Exciting! I am sure the Belgian primer minister took it into considerations at the press conference. It should be noted as well, that the ministry does not sleep in the weekends. On Saturday it produced another news: “Ongoing consultations with the Indonesian vice-minister of foreign affairs”.
In other words, nothing happened. If the big event had taken place in Iran, Bulgaria would react the same way. I do not mean that the Foreign Ministry traditionally downplays what happens in the Middle East (and in the world in general). The problem is that choice of European Commission president happens with without Bulgaria’s participation.
Some time ago I commented that Bulgaria is late not only with nominating a commissioner and portfolio (something shared by the commissioner-nominee Jeleva herself) but also with its positions on the future roles at the Commission and the Council. (Besides everything else, the Council will have a new Secretary General). My hopes were at least to see an assessment of what happened in the European Council afterwards. Alas, it seems the government does not consider informing its citizens about such positions.
In this line of thoughts, I should acknowledge that the Prime Minister Borisov already gave an “A” to the important European selection from this week. After he himself participated in it, he stated: ‘This is a good choice for the EU and Bulgaria. ‘ Reminding that Ashton has been to Bulgaria as a UK deputy secretary, Borisov also pointed out that the excellent diplomat Rompuy was the Bulgarian candidate. Well, now we know. This may be the answer to the question what do the new appointments mean for Bulgaria. So let’s move to the next one: what do they mean for the EU?
Here the diplomants and security/defense experts have the say. I am waiting for the next week’s opinions before writing again. However, I cannot get rid of the feeling that Bulgaria is a voiceless country in the EU, and even worse, it does not even want to change that with more pro-active behavior.
Good Luck to the negotiations with Indonesia !