Bulgaria Socialist Leader Urges 'Balanced' Policy ahead of Russia Visit

Domestic | April 9, 2016, Saturday // 15:53|  views

Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) leader Mihail Mikov. File photo, BGNES

The leader of Bulgaria's socialist party (BSP) has called for a "more balanced" foreign policy of the country, suggesting the government needs to adopt its position on the sanctions against Russia.

BSP leader Mihail Mikov has voiced his surprise at the fact that Bulgaria ais not working to improve ties with the Russian Federation, at a time that even the United States is seeking rapprochement.

"[US State Secretary] John Kerry has been to Moscow several times over the past months, whereas Bulgarian parliamentarians are limited in their contacts. Well, how should [bilateral] relations develop, then?" Focus Radio quotes him as saying at an event at his constituency, the northwestern Bulgarian town of Vidin.

Under Mikov's leadership, the BSP has systematically demanded that Bulgaria reconsider its stance with regard to the set of measures introduced on Russia by the EU in reaction to the developments in Ukraine. 

The socialist leader has also announced a forthcoming visit to Russia for the Seventh Congress of left-wing Spravedlivaya Rossiya ("A Just Russia") party.

Spravedlivaya Rossiya's website shows [RU] the congress is due on April 22-23.

Commenting on the migrant inflow into Bulgaria and the controversial EU-Turkey deal voted last month, Mikov has expressed his dissatisfaction with Turkey's ability to select Syrian refugees that will be sent to Europe and with the absence of Bulgaria in the agreement's wording.

Bulgaria had sought to be included in the final text, with guarantees no inflow of migrants will be allowed through its border with Turkey, the same way as the crossing from Turkey into Greece is regulated.

However, the agreement had no mention of either Bulgaria or Cyprus, another country which had raised concerns.

"Despite visits to the Turkish border by "my friend David" [a reference to how Bulgaria's Prime Minister Borisov calls his British counterpart] and Borisov being patter by "brother [Jean-Claude] Juncker, there are no results at all," Mikov has noted.

Mikov's comments come as his Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is due to have a congress in May to elect a new leader.

While Mikov is widely expected to run, he is facing challenge from candidates such as Korneliya Ninova, an MP who has served in the last several legislatures and who is said to have the support of key party members.

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Tags: Mihail Mikov, Russia, Bulgaria, sanctions, Korneliya Ninova, Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, John Kerry, Boyko Borisov


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