Accession to Schengen, Eurozone and OECD Top Agenda of Bulgarian Foreign Policy, Foreign Minister Says

Accession to Schengen, the eurozone and OECD top the agenda of Bulgarian foreign policy, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel said Monday on the occasion of the Day of the Bulgarian Diplomatic Service, as quoted by her Ministry’s press office. On the occasion, she held an event that was attended by Parliament Chair Rosen Zhelyazkov, MPs, government ministers and diplomats, said the Foreign Ministry press office.

President Rumen Radev sent a congratulatory address.

Foreign Minister Gabriel recalled that on this day in 1879, Prince Alexander I issued a decree that made the first diplomatic appointments and put the beginning of diplomatic service. “On this day we pay tribute to the work of generations of Bulgarian statesmen and diplomats. They are the builders of the Bulgarian foreign policy,” she said.

She thanked the attending foreign diplomats and emphasized the benefit from having good bilateral relations and strategic partnership in various fields with the countries in the EU and beyond. She put a clear focus on public and cultural diplomacy.

The Minister said that diplomacy is one of the key symbols of statehood. “The foreign policy that it pursues, is formed as a result of a coordinated national effort for which the ‘Unity makes strength’ principle fully applies,” she said.

In conclusion, she spoke of the need to make the diplomatic service and foreign policy attractive for skilled and motivated young people who will have solid career opportunities as they work for Bulgaria.

In his address at the event, Parliament Chair Rosen Zhelyazkov said the government should pay more attention to Bulgarian diplomats. “Bulgarian diplomats are well prepared. They deserve to see the government pay more attention to its face abroad,” he said as quoted by the parliamentary press office. The Parliament leader also said that the role of Bulgarian diplomats is to help reach peaceful solution to conflicts and stand up for the national positions in international relations.

In 1879, Prince Alexander decreed the first diplomatic appointments and “the young Bulgarian diplomacy embarked on the big challenge of performing a balancing act among the Great Powers in its wish to rectify the injustices of the Treaty of Berlin”, to use Zhelyazkov’s words.

He further recalled that the first effort of the Bulgarian diplomats brought a success: earning the independence of the Bulgarian section of the railway between Vienna and Constantinople. “That was an extraordinary act, of which little is known but it was a real accomplishment for us. At that complex moment,  the Bulgarian leaders believed that diplomacy is the needed weapon, different from the armed conflict, for accomplishing the national ideals, including the topmost one of national unification.”