Bulgaria is a strong supporter of the universal democratic and humane values, and is guided by the idea of their safeguarding and promotion as a framework for its foreign policy. The EU membership of Bulgaria has created new opportunities for enhancing the country’s role and prestige in the international community.
Values and Principles of the Bulgarian foreign policy:
• A global approach and unity on the issue of security, from a global, continental and regional perspective, as well as within NATO and the EU, whose policy aims at attaining equal degree of security for all Member States.
• Effective multilateralism, pursuant to the policy within the EU applied through the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) instrument and in compliance with the competences of the respective institutions.
• Legitimacy of action in international relations: Bulgaria will demand a high degree of legitimacy as a first and invariable condition for supporting a specific foreign policy initiative.
• The principle of solidarity to be followed by the country’s involvement, within its potential as well as along the lines of promoting democracy, in the international development aid. This rinciple, which is also applying within the EU, gives us grounds to insist on its being applied in drafting the EU’s budgetary policy, in allocating EU funds, in undertaking commitments under the ESDP, etc.
Policy aimed at promoting peace and global security
The UN is keeping its unique role in these processes. Bulgaria is actively involved in the efforts to reform the world organisation to increase its efficiency and the further democratisation of the system of international relations.
At the same time, Bulgaria is making steady efforts to strengthen its national security for which the principal military and political guarantees stem from the country’s membership in NATO.
Stability in the regions of Southeastern Europe and the Black Sea is of special interest to Bulgaria. A reliable and predictable security environment conducive to the sustainable development of the countries in the region and promoting security and development of cooperation in a Euro-Atlantic and European context, is needed.
Bulgaria started its integration into the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) while still in its pre-accession period. The country supports the development of the ESDP and contributes to the achievement of its goals in compliance with its national potential, and the priorities and needs identified by the EU.
The work of Bulgaria in the OSCE aims at making more dynamic the Organisation’s activity in response to the changing challenges, and at guaranteeing three-dimensional comprehensive activity through a balanced and comprehensive approach.
Active role in the European integration process
Bulgaria is committed to the development of a united, strong, efficient European Union. It participates actively in the drafting of the new Reform Treaty of the European Union. Bulgaria is against the suggestions for the development of the EU at different speeds, for dividing the EU into core and periphery, and for the setting up of permanent different groups within the EU.
Some of the issues of immediate interest to Bulgaria are as follows:
To ensure a rapid and effective consolidation of the country’s capacity for absorption of the structural and cohesion funds, to make the country’s economic development ever more dynamic.
To meet the conditions for lifting of the conditional restrictions that have remained in force as from the pre-accession period and are identified in the Accession Treaty.
To meet the conditions for Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area by the end of 2009, and to the Eurozone, within a period suitable for the country.
To participate actively in the building of an integrated energy policy of the EU, aimed at guaranteeing the supplies and diversifying of the sources, a higher competitiveness of the sector and a maximum protection of the environment.
The EU membership of Bulgaria is not a substitute for the bilateral relations with the EU Member States. Quite the opposite, it broadens and enriches them. Bilateral cooperation covers practically all fields, with an emphasis on the political dialogue, trade and economic relations, and scientific and cultural exchanges.
The Transatlantic connection keeps its original significance in global politics. Bulgaria is in favour of intensifying the strategic partnership between the EU and NATO, and broadening of the Transatlantic dialogue. NATO and EU capabilities are, to a large extent, mutually complementary. The instruments at the disposal of the two organisations cover a wide range of military capabilities and potential in the field of stabilisation and reconstruction.
The direct EU-US dialogue is called upon to develop further in the interest of the consolidation of the Transatlantic link by harmoniously complementing the NATO-EU dialogue. Equally, Bulgaria perceives NATO as a principal forum for political dialogue and consultations on security issues between the allies from Europe and the USA.
The EU-US relations are directly related to the foreign policy of Bulgaria. In the context of the EU-US relations this includes some specific issues, notably abolishing the US entry visas for Bulgarian citizens.
The policy of Bulgaria in Southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region
Bulgaria has two allies from NATO and the EU in the region (Greece and Romania), one allied Member State in the EU (Cyprus) and one in NATO (Turkey). Bulgaria’s relations with them are based on shared values and cooperation through bilateral treaties. These relations are a key factor in regional security and stability. The European and the Euro-Atlantic prospects before the countries in the Western Balkans not only promote the building of sustainable institutions, the consolidation of the democratic processes and the development of the market economy, they are also a major factor for the security in Southeastern Europe. Bulgaria therefore actively supports the continuity in the efforts to achieve these goals.
For Bulgaria, cooperation with the countries from the Black Sea region enhances the chances of positive development through close interaction with the European and Euro-Atlantic integration process, focused as it is on the implementation of the economic programmes and infrastructural projects of regional and European significance.
The relations with the US feature prominently in the foreign policy of Bulgaria, which will continue to intensify the political dialogue and cooperation on all levels, broadening the contractual framework of its bilateral relations and enhancing trade, economic relations and cooperation.
Bulgaria is keen on continuing to maintain stable, friendly and predictable relations with Russia. Bulgaria aims at more active trade and economic relations with Russia, and an increased presence of Bulgarian business on the Russian market; it strives to assist the enhancement of the EU-Russia cooperation with a view to consolidating the energy security on the continent.
Bulgaria is developing active bilateral relations with the countries from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Australia.
Bulgaria’s interest in making relations with the countries from the Asia-Pacific region (APR) ever more active stems from the steadily increasing importance of the region in the global economy, politics and finance.
Last, but not least, protecting the rights of the Bulgarian citizens abroad, and the support for and interaction with the Bulgarian Diaspora is a key and unalterable priority of Bulgaria’s foreign policy. Nearly one million Bulgarian citizens live abroad, and there are hundreds of thousands of people of Bulgarian origin who are citizens of other countries. They constitute a considerable economic, demographic and intellectual potential, and it is essential to benefit from this situation in the name of the comprehensive development of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian nation.