Bulgarian PM Borisov: Discipline Above All for EU and NATO Members
Dmitriy SEDOV | 03.08.2015 | OPINION

Bulgarian PM Borisov: Discipline Above All for EU and NATO Members

On July 23, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov opened the Foreign Minister's annual meeting with Bulgarian ambassadors abroad. The event made it appear that he was not a citizen of Bulgaria and had no interest in making the country prosperous. Looks like he has an implanted chip with a special program making him pursue foreign interests instead of serving his homeland.

The Prime Minister was ostentatiously showing off when he said that Bulgaria has emerged as one of the most loyal and disciplined members of the EU and NATO and a factor for stability in Southeastern Europe even paying the price of economic losses and deterioration of relations with Russia.

He noted that by strictly observing the sanctions Bulgaria has suffered huge financial losses and spoiled the relations with Moscow.

According to the Prime Minister, it serves the purpose to look at the deeds. Only facts can confirm the correctness of chosen policy, he says. It has always been taken for granted that the prosperity of nation is the main yardstick to measure the government’s success. That’s what people normally choose a government for. Now Bulgaria has come up with something completely new. According to the Prime Minister, a government is chosen to salute foreign bosses with national interests viewed as a matter of secondary importance, if any. 

Discipline is paramount and the contemporary Bulgaria serves as the best example of it to make its people proud of their country. The Prime Minister noted that, given the diverse national parliament and the complicated international situation, it is important that Bulgaria serve as a factor for regional stability and compromise. «We know how difficult it has been to put together a government in neighbouring Turkey. We also know that out there across the Black Sea are Crimea and Russia, and that there are quite a few problems in Macedonia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to say nothing of Greece, where the EU has been engaged for years and I am still unsure whether the right solution has been found», Borisov said explaining his rather unusual views.

He made clear that his government operates as an EU fire-brigade. If not for Bulgaria, the fate of European Union would be unpredictable.

According to Boyko Borisov, Bulgaria supported the European Commission and promised to strictly comply with the Third Energy Package. It put an end to the South Stream project. The gesture was appreciated by NATO. Bulgaria, being disciplined, has found itself confronting Russia head-on.

The North Atlantic Alliance partners welcomed the steps taken by Bulgaria. Under US pressure the government took a decision to close the Belene nuclear power plant with its construction nearing the end. As a result, the country had to face a crisis of unparalleled scale. In 2011 the US companies AES  and Contour Global acquired two Bulgarian thermal plants Maritsa Iztok 1 and Maritsa Iztok 3 investing accordingly $1.2 billion and $230 million into the facilities to make them operate at full capacity. The investments were to pay off. For this purpose the Americans lobbied the contract duration of 15 years. During this period of time the Bulgarians were to pay ever growing prices for the energy produced. The US did its best to avoid competition. Rumen Ovcharov, former Bulgarian Minister of Economy and Energy, said if Belene plant were built there would be no need for the US thermal plants in ten years. To the contrary, the withdrawal from the Belene project guarantees them a stable consumer demand. 

The policy has yielded immediate results. People started to use furnaces, there were cases of arson in the homes of pensioners living in cities. Boyko Borisov shies away from comments on these aspects of Bulgarian discipline, but economic realities speak for themselves. All told, these things do not make people happy, to put it mildly. Bulgaria's Minister of Economy Bozhidar Lukarsky said in an address to parliament that the trade turnover with Russia went down by 15,3% in 2014 as a result of anti-Russian sanctions. Last year Bulgarian exports to Russia slumped by 8,8 percent to $707,6 million while imports fell by 16,1% to $5,3 bln. Not a big thing on a global scale, but still…

Are Bulgarians grateful to their leader for such loyalty to the European Union and NATO?

According to the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, despite rising wages the majority of Bulgarians did not improve their living standards as the cost of housing services and utilities went up. Social upheavals provoked by growing energy prices brought down the government in February 2013. The economic situation in the country is stable, according international rating agencies. Somehow this description makes one imagine a private of Bulgarian army in WWI. With one hand he salutes a German Sergeant-Major while holding up his pants with the left one. His position is stable…for the time being.

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