Bulgaria’s new president: What happens next?

On 13 November Bulgarians elected a new president – general Rumen Radev, the ex-commander-in-chief of the Balkan country’s air force, supported by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). In a runoff election the 53-year old Mr Radev secured almost 60% of the vote, 23 percentage points ahead of Tsetska Tsatcheva, the runner-up nominated by the ruling center-right GERB[1] party. The landslide defeat triggered prime minister … Read more…

Bulgaria goes to Warsaw Summit with Black Sea in mind

The 2016 summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, the Alliance) will begin in Warsaw on 8 July. The meeting of NATO heads of state is expected to address issues, which are seen as essential for the security environment in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in view of Russia’s perceived aggressive posture in the region. Some of those will include eastward force deployment in … Read more…

Bulgaria on course to diversify gas supply sources

Bulgaria has recently moved ever closer to diversifying its sources of natural gas supply. This time, it seems it may be happening with less geopolitical grandeur and fanfare. After years of flirting with Russia over its monster pipeline projects on the Balkans, a 182km long gas interconnector link with Greece may do the trick. The source? Most probably Azeri gas. On 17 May in the … Read more…

Bulgaria and Poland – an episode in Warsaw’s push toward the Black Sea?

It is common knowledge that more than two decades ago the European continent was mainly divided between two rival geopolitical blocs – “Western”, mostly the EU and the North-Atlantic club, and “Eastern”, dominated militarily and economically by the USSR. This Eastern Bloc occupied a geographical space spreading from the flatland of the Great East European Plain along the Baltic coast in the north to the Black … Read more…

War of Words: Why has the Russian Foreign Ministry recently scolded Bulgaria?

Moscow and Sofia have overnight exchanged rather acrimonious diplomatic statements over last week’s decision by the Bulgarian Parliament to set up a commission with the task to investigate alleged Russian and Turkish meddling in the country’s domestic affairs. It all began yesterday when Maria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, described Bulgaria’s decision as “absurd” and implied that it was reminiscent of “neo-McCarthyism”. Today, Bulgaria … Read more…

Bulgaria’s Turkish minority party: What went wrong?

News from Bulgaria’s domestic political scene seldom make it to the European mainstream. On one such rare occasion, in December 2015 Reuters reported the sacking of Lyutvi Mestan, the leader of Bulgaria’s Turkish minority party – the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF, or DPS as transliterated in Bulgarian). The general reader could have dismissed the event as trivial but such a view would have … Read more…

Is South Stream making a silent return?

There is no official document that shows the South Stream gas pipeline project has been cancelled, it has been “frozen” and could be re-activated if such need would arise, Pavel Zavalny, chairman of the energy policy commission in the Russian Duma, said in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio on Monday. The Ukrainian gas transit infrastructure is will be getting more and more unreliable in … Read more…

Bulgaria vs Nord Stream 2: Set the priorities right

Bulgaria will not be signing a letter of opposition to the Nord Stream 2 project, a planned expansion of the existing Nord Stream gas pipeline between Russia and Germany through the Baltic Sea, the country’s prime minister Boiko Borissov told reporters on 29 November. A few days earlier, media reports announced that ten EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) – Czech Republic, … Read more…

Vox Opinion on: “Bulgaria Military Intelligence to Open Up its Communist-Era Archives” by Sofia News Agency

Although a member of NATO and EU, Bulgaria is may be the only ex-communist country in the “Euro-Atlantic” club which is still lagging behind on reviewing and properly assessing its communist past. Therefore, this announcement should be given proper attention (Read full article: Bulgaria Military Intelligence to Open Up its Communist-Era Archives, Novinite.com). The Files Commission was founded in 2006 and since then is the main body … Read more…

A new pipeline is born on the Balkans – Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania will build a “Vertical Interconnector”

“The gas map of South-Eastern Europe is changing”. These are the words of the Bulgarian deputy prime-minister Tomislav Donchev at a working meeting on 22 April in Sofia. A three-side working group consisting of representatives from Romania, Greece, and host nation Bulgaria convened in the capital in order to initiate the construction of a “Vertical Gas Interconnector”. The project is designed to connect the three countries’ … Read more…