Schengen, Wiretapping, Contraband Inspire Bulgarian President to Summon Security Council

Domestic | February 8, 2011, Tuesday // 19:01|  views

Pictured: the shadow of Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov has proposed a convention of the Consultative National Security Council over crucial matters related to home affairs.

The proposed topic for the new sitting of the Council is "Current issues for the security of the Republic of Bulgaria in the context of internal security in the EU."

The Presidency has clarified, however, that the topics encompassed by this title are Bulgaria's bid to join the borderless Schengen agreement, the measures to combat contraband, and the use of special surveillance devices.

The underlying issues have to do with Bulgaria's expected failure to join the Schengen Area by the original deadline on March 2011 over some technical control issues on its border with Turkey, the need to fight smuggling, especially cigarette contraband, and "Tapegate", the recent scandal with leaked conversations of senior Bulgarian officials which have made scandalous revelations even though the authenticity of the tapes remains in question.

Bulgaria's Consultative National Security Council includes the President, the Parliament Chair, the Prime Minister, the Ministers of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Interior, and Finance, the head of the State National Security Agency (DANS), the Head of Defense (i.e. formerly known as the head of the general staff of the army), and the chairs of all parliamentary groups.

Council meets about once every three months, its last meeting being on September 17, 2010, when it approved the draft of the new National Security Strategy.

Bulgaria's Presidency traditionally announces the date of the Council sitting after it has been agreed upon with the Cabinet and the Prime Minister's Office; this time, however, the Presidency announced the fact that the President wants to convene the Council.

The head of the Presidency press office Boyka Bashlieva has denied that the President has resorted to a preliminary announcement of the National Security Council motion over concerns that Prime Minister Boyko Borisov might not support the initiative if it is not given publicity.

The government press service has announced that Borisov is going to make public his position over the motion to call up the Consultative National Security Council on Wednesday after the weekly meeting of the Cabinet.

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Tags: contraband, Georgi Parvanov, Bulgarian President, smuggling, Schengen, Schengen Agreement, Schengen Area, wiretapping, Tapegate, tapped, tapping, taped


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