Ambassador de Poncins: France Fully Supports Bulgaria Cabinet

Diplomacy | October 8, 2009, Thursday // 16:52|  views

The French Ambassador to Sofia, Etienne de Poncins. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The French Ambassador to Sofia, Etienne de Poncins, declared Thursday his country's readiness to offer full political and moral support to Bulgaria's new cabinet.

The Ambassador spoke during a meeting with the media where he presented the program of the upcoming visit of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, to Paris and stressed the good relations between Borisov and the French President, Nikolas Sarkozy, dating from the time when one was General Secretary of the Bulgarian Interior and the other France's Interior Minister.

The top French diplomatic representative in Sofia said France would not compete with Bulgaria over the EU Energy Commissioner post because they are interested in having a French person head the Internal Market and Services sector.

De Poncins also spoke how public tenders conducted by the former three-party coalition government were purposely turning away big foreign investors giving as example road projects. He added the new Minister of Regional Development, Rosen Plevneliev, had assured him this practice will be changed.

The Ambassador informed that in addition to infrastructure projects, France is interested in the Bulgarian nuclear energy production and the issue with the Nuclear Power Plant “Belene” will be discussed in Paris.

De Poncins further reported France was offering to help Bulgaria repair the second-hand frigates the country purchased from Belgium in order to expand the vessels' life by at least 10 years, pointing out the frigates were manufactured in France.

The French Ambassador reminded Bulgaria has purchased six navy helicopters scheduled to arrive in the beginning of 2010, but the country does not have any aircraft carrier on which they could land and said one of the ideas was to remodel the “Drazki” frigate.

De Poncins also touched on the deal with the two corvettes the French company “Armaris” planned to sell to Bulgaria for BNG 1 B, a deal that was blessed by Bulgaria's former government, saying France was still interested, but the negotiations are now on halt and could be resumed in the future.

Sarkozy first put on the table the corvettes' purchase in 2007 when he visited Sofia after his diplomatic triumph with the release of the Bulgarian medics jailed in Libya. The talks were renewed during the July visit to Paris of former PM, Sergey Stanishev, when the number of the vessels was reduced from four to two over economic hardship endured by Bulgaria.

In addition to Borisov, the Bulgarian official delegation to visit Paris on October 11 and 12 includes Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Foreign Minister, Rumiana Jeleva, her deputy, Marin Raikov, who is also former Ambassador to France, the Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, Traicho Traikov, and Defense Minister, Nikolay Mladenov.

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Tags: Etienne de Poncins, Nicolas Sarkozy, Boyko Borisov, corvettes


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