SOFIA, June 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Bulgaria can be a worthy partner in the European Union and at the same time can have good relations with Russia, former Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, who occupied the post from 2002 to 2012, said with confidence. Relations between Sofia and Moscow are in crisis in the last few years and “are moving backwardly,” Parvanov said in an exclusive interview with ITAR-TASS.
“Even the fact that the Bulgarian prime minister had not visited Moscow in the last five years is quite demonstrative,” the former president recalled, noting that “For this period of time joint projects, particularly in the energy industry, were abandoned or brought to the periphery.” Parvanov noted that “this was not Russian, but European projects,” including South Stream gas pipeline and construction of Belene nuclear power plant. In his view, “far from an equal alternative” was found to some projects, particularly in the energy sector. For instance, “instead of nuclear power plant Belene” US company Westinghouse Electric intends to build a 7th reactor of nuclear power plant Kozloduy, Parvanov added.
“We should be interested in a powerful energy industry with nuclear projects and gas pipeline construction projects among which South Stream is the most promising,” the former president said, noting that “Therefore, I insist on Bulgaria to show the strength of its character in its European policy. We should show solidarity with European allies, but at the same time should protect our right for special relations with Russia, because we have not only historical and cultural ties, but also economic.” These ties “are mutual and Bulgaria would be able to gain thanks to them,” Parvanov said with confidence.
He said with hope that a next Bulgarian parliament and government “will stabilise relations between the two countries.” “We can be a worthy partner within the European Union, but this absolutely does not require to have cooled relations with Russia,” the former president noted.