Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov predicted on June 21 that the Remain camp would win in the UK referendum on EU membership with 60 to 70 per cent voting to stay in the EU.
“The English are always saying that they are freedom-loving, but when the time comes to vote, remember when there were elections and everyone thought David Cameron would fall. He beat them at the first round,” Borissov told reporters.
“And now you’ll see, 60 to 70 per cent will vote to stay, that’s my view. Who wants to leave the huge common market and be unable to stabilise their systems for at least 10 years? What will happen to the City of London? It’s one thing to chatter, another thing to do it,” the Bulgarian Prime Minister said.
Keeping the United Kingdom in the EU is in the common interest, according to an official Bulgarian government policy position adopted on June 20 for next week’s European Council meeting.
The European Council meeting, on June 28 and 29, will begin five days after the UK’s referendum on remaining in or leaving the EU. The meeting was postponed from the initially-planned date because the British government chose a referendum date that coincided with the opening of the June European Council meeting.
The Bulgarian government’s council on European affairs noted that the European Council would be discussing the implications of the outcome of the UK June 23 referendum.
“Bulgaria is of the position that the United Kingdom remaining in the EU is in the common interest. In that regard and as part of efforts to promote a positive vote in the referendum, in February this year Bulgaria supported a new political agreement with the UK,” a statement on the government website on the council on European affairs’ decision said.
The leaders of Bulgaria, a country which became an EU member in 2007, have not made many overt statements about the Brexit referendum in the months leading up to the June 23 vote in the UK.
One of the more high-profile recent references was in head of state President Rossen Plevneliev’s speech to the European Parliament on June 8, in which he mentioned Brexit as part of the crises facing Europe.
“The EU is facing a record number of crises. Additional crises are on our radar screen, for example the possible Brexit, the rise of nationalists and populists, migration and others. We must not allow Europe to fall into a moral crisis – a crisis of lack of solidarity, a crisis of values,” Plevneliev told MEPs.
Later in his speech, Plevneliev went on: “The European Union is a daily plebiscite on our desire to live together. History shows that without constant efforts everything we’ve gained, can be lost. The debates on migration, Brexit, populists and Euro-sceptics, only reaffirm that conclusion.
“Today, more than ever, we need to bring back confidence in the vitality, in the lack of alternative of our European Project. We need to dispel the doubts of Europeans and reassure them we know where we are heading to,” Plevneliev said.
Bulgaria’s Finance Minister, Vladislav Goranov, said in a June 18 radio interview that he saw no major problem for Bulgaria in the long term from a possible Brexit.
Should the UK vote to leave the EU, short-term market confusion and panic actions were usual at a time of such an upheaval.
Goranov said that there would be a change for the EU budget, without what he said was the UK’s net contribution of between seven and nine billion euro annually. But, he said, he would bet that the UK would decide to remain in the EU, even though most of his colleagues were worried and were preparing for a negative scenario.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, interviewed on television on February 20 after EU leaders met in Brussels to agree on a new settlement for the UK in the EU, said that the EU was at a crossroads, because if Britain decided to leave, the bloc would not be the same.