Bulgarian Foreign Min Slams Germany, France for 'Criticizing Predecessors'

Diplomacy | July 11, 2013, Thursday // 14:58|  views

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin has criticized the Ambassadors of France and Germany, who urged the Socialist-led government to cut its ties with oligarchs earlier this week.

In a rare joint comment by foreign diplomats on Bulgaria's domestic situation, Germany's Matthias H?pfner and France's Philippe Autier expressed concern about the current state of affairs in the EU's poorest country, urging the government to abandon the oligarchic model and listen to the voice of civil society.

The statement came after more than three weeks of mass anti-government rallies, which have seen tens of thousands gather every evening in Sofia, shouting "Mafia!" and demanding the resignation of the government.

“Bulgaria, as a member of the European Union, expects that interaction with its partners would be carried out through the established mechanisms of dialogue and co-operation rather than through media reports,” Vigenin has said in a statement.

The Foreign Minister noted that “the issues raised by the Ambassadors have built up over the years.”

“Critical evaluations cannot be put forward regarding a government that has been in power for a month and a half,” he said.

“We understand that expectations for change are high, and we rely on the support, trust and expertise of our partners. In this regard, we see in this unusual and unprecedented act a signal of support for our efforts to stabilize the institutions and to carry out genuine action to strengthen the democratic foundations of the state and society.”

Vigenin believes France and Germany’s criticism has been triggered by the actions of the former center-right GERB government (2009-2013).

“Bulgaria is going through a difficult process of overcoming distortions that have assumed serious depth in the past four years. During this time, there have been several actions by the previous government, which have led to the strengthening of the oligarchy, the strengthening of monopolies, restrictions on freedom of the media, the undermining of democracy, the suppression of civic activism, and so on.”

The series of protests against the Socialist-endorsed Cabinet of Prime Minister, Plamen Oresharski, was triggered by the scandalous appointment of controversial media mogul Delyan Peevski as Chair of the State Agency for National Security (DANS).

Although the appointment was revoked, the people went on to demand that the cabinet resign collectively over ties with oligarchs.

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Tags: Kristian Vigenin, Matthias Hoepfner, Philippe Autie, French Ambassador, German Ambassador, protests, anti-government, Bulgarian Socialist Party, civil society, State Agency for National Security, DANS, Delyan Peevski, eu member state, oligarchs


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