Plamen Oresharski, appointed prime minister of Bulgaria as of May 29 in the socialist government, held his first official meeting with ambassadors of European Union and Nato member states on June 4, the government media office said.
At the meeting, also attended by Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin, Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev and Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ziniada Zlatanova, Oresharski presented the priorities and structure of the cabinet in the short and long term, the statement said.
The biggest challenge for Bulgaria’s government in the next at least one year, Oresharski said, was the restoration of normalcy and regaining investor confidence, so as to achieve the most important real priority, economic recovery.
“Dealing with all other priorities will be easier if we deal with the normalisation of conditions for doing business,” Oresharski said.
He said that in terms of relationships with the (EU) partners, there were two priority themes, justice and home affairs, as well as the efficient use of EU funds.
Another area on which the new administration would focus was what Oresharski referred to as the restoration of democracy and the state and prevention of any recurrence of attempts at soft dictatorship seen over the past four years. The main priorities here were to enhance the role of Parliament and an open dialogue with all members of civil society, he said.
The tasks of the government in the short term included the adoption of a package of measures to support the poorest Bulgarian individuals and households, including benefits for children, expanding opportunities for temporary employment, rationalisation of administrative services to make them faster and cheaper, improved revenue collection, greater accountability of government to Parliament, restoring the balances of powers between the Interior Ministry and State Agency for National Security, ending the practice of indiscriminate use of special surveillance and consultations on a draft agreement of partnership with the EU.
Oresharski said that there would be complete continuity in the foreign policy of Bulgaria and that all major energy projects would be evaluated solely in terms of their economic impact – the latter presumably a reference to the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s enthusiasm for the Russian-linked Belene nuclear power station project, on which the centre-right previous government pulled the plug but which the socialists want to see go ahead. A core issue in the Belene debate is criticism that it will burden Bulgarians with enormous debt for several generations to come, while its advocate counter that it will have economic benefits.