site.btaBulgaria Will not Support Sanctions against Russian Nuclear Fuel, Will Seek EU Funding for Border Security, President Says
Bulgaria will not support sanctions against Russian nuclear fuel because it will impact directly the Bulgarian nuclear energy industry, President Rumen Radev told Bulgarian reporters in Brussels where he arrived for a special European Council. "If things come to that, Bulgaria will impose a veto," he said.
Regarding the aid to Ukraine, the President said that the caretaker government had fulfilled the task set by the National Assembly to provide arms from the reserves of the Bulgarian Armed Forces. "This is a bloody war. We hardly hear any voices for peace but we hear calls for victory without anyone being able to define what victory means," he added.
Radev also said: "Ukraine is the focus of all debates in the EU, but it is time, one year after the start of this bloody war, to focus primarily on measures to stop it and to resume all diplomatic efforts so that we seek a peaceful solution. Bulgaria will continue to support the Ukrainian people on the ground in their just struggle for the freedom of their country. Bulgaria will continue to support the Ukrainian refugees as much as it can."
The President said he will call on the EU to use all its clout "so that we can lead the debate in the direction of ending the hostilities".
The President will propose a pilot project for the protection of the Bulgarian border using EU funding. "Bulgaria is making a huge effort, we are investing a lot of our budget both for infrastructure along the border and for technical surveillance systems, and this is appreciated. But our resources are insufficient," he said.
He said further: "The protection of the external borders should not be our concern only, but the concern of all member states. We have presented clear estimates for the measures to protect the Bulgarian border. More and more leaders, as a result of our diplomatic efforts, back a stronger support for Bulgaria," Radev noted.
Furthermore, Radev is determined to raise the issue of relations with North Macedonia, the rights of the Bulgarians there and hate crimes against Bulgarian citizens. "I expect a strong institutional response from the authorities in the Republic of North Macedonia and immediate action to identify the perpetrators, investigate and adequately punish them. Unfortunately, at the moment I do not see the necessary political will. There is a disconnect between the ambitions of Skopje and its commitments to establish democratic norms in this country, on the one hand, and the reality in which the Macedonian Bulgarians live in this country, on the other hand".
Radev argued that denying the existence of a problem with the rights of Macedonian Bulgarians only prolongs these problems, leads to more violence and an atmosphere of impunity. "I will call very clearly on my colleagues for more solidarity and commitment to the rights of the Macedonian Bulgarians. I expect the EU to impose monitoring and guarantees for the respect of the rights of the Macedonian Bulgarians with the same vigour as they showed when we were being urged to step up the process of integration of the Republic of North Macedonia," he said.