A growing number of politicians in Bulgaria want to divert the country from its Euro-Atlantic course of development, President Rossen Plevneliev said on September 1.
Plevneliev said that he followed this course uncompromisingly and with dedication because he believed that it was the correct one.
Addressing the opening of the academic year at Bulgaria’s GS Rakovski Military Academy, Plevneliev – whose term of office ends in January 2017 and who is not standing for a second term – said that in the November 2016 elections, all of the candidates should be clear about where they stand in terms of values, and should undertake specific commitments on how to deepen the country’s integration into the European Union and Nato, and how they will defend Euro-Atlantic values.
“We have not heard a single politician ask the question, what are these Euro-Atlantic values. I say this clearly – they are the values of peace, democracy, the rule of law. Is there anyone who can say openly that the Euro-Atlantic values are different from our national ideal?” Plevneliev said.
He said that the world had “lost its balance” and it would take a long time to create a new, sustainable world order.
“We are in a transitional period of a world order, established after the end of World War 2, which we have lost to a new sustainable world order, a multipolar world that we have yet to create. In this transitional period, we are living in difficult times of a record number of crises, conflicts, refugees, military manoeuvres, propaganda and cyber attacks and political conflict,” Plevneliev said.
In Europe today, opposite worlds faced each other – one of the Europe of the 19th century, of great powers holding sway over spheres of influence, the other the Europe of the 21st century, of peace and integration, human rights and the rule of law.
“Unfortunately, today some European and world leaders think in the categories of realpolitik 19th century – geopolitical spheres of influence, balance of power, aggressive nationalism, redrawing of borders by force, supremacy of the interests, not of law. For these leaders it is important to gain in the geopolitical game, not human rights and the rule of law.
“But we believe in a very different Europe – the Europe of the dignity and equality of all states, Europe, the rule of law, not of power and interests,” Plevneliev said.
He called for a rejection of realpolitik. “This is a cynical policy that led to two world wars, the Holocaust, the Gulag and Belene. Today there is a huge risk regarding what principles will be supported and what Europe will choose – the Europe of the 19th century or 21st century Europe,” he said.
He said that membership of the EU and Nato was the foundation of democratic development of Bulgaria and supported the initiatives for more integration and compatibility in European defence, sharing common resources for joint training and joint purchasing of equipment .
Plevneliev said the reaction of certain media and political circles after the Cabinet decision on joint guarding of Bulgaria’s air space by the air forces of Bulgaria and the United States raised many questions.
“Self-isolation of Bulgaria within its own airspace with its own and obsolete MiG-29s does not contribute in any way, nor helps improve compatibility or raising capability nor the acquisition of new fighter we want.”
He said that these politicians should recall that allied forced participating in a rotating basis in guarding the air space of Nato member states on the alliance’s eastern flank had been agreed at Nato’s Wales Summit and reaffirmed at the subsequent Warsaw Summit.
This was why Bulgaria’s National Assembly had approved amendments to the Defence and Armed Forces Act providing for oint missions guarding Bulgaria’s air space, in the best interests of modernization and interoperability of the Bulgarian military, Plevneliev said.
In the face of multiple crises in regions neighbouring Bulgaria, the country remained a predictable and reliable ally and a key factor for stability in South Eastern Europe, he said.
Bulgaria’s membership of Nato remained the strongest guarantee for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bulgaria, Plevneliev said.