Bulgaria’s coalition negotiations: striving to shape foreign policy

The most recent of a series of negotiations between the four potential partners of a possible future Bulgarian coalition government ended on November 27 after nearly seven hours of foreign policy talks in which talks on relations with Russia and North Macedonia tumbled.

The negotiations, convened and streamed live by the WCC party, also included the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party and the Democratic Bulgaria Coalition. Together they make “WCC + 3” and together they have enough seats in the newly elected parliament elect a government to office.

Regarding North Macedonia, there were expressions of intent for a constructive engagement, the continuation of the joint commission for the solution of questions concerning the common history, joint meetings of the governments of two countries and the establishment of new joint commissions.

With regard to Russia, the BSP, as expected, pushed for more cordial relations. It was suggested that Bulgaria’s relations with Russia exist in the context of EU-Russia relations, with BSP’s Kristian Vigenin arguing that this does not prevent Bulgaria from building on these relations on a bilateral basis.

The lengthy talks covered a wide range of issues, from relations with the United States, a stronger voice in the European Union, Bulgaria’s role in NATO, relations with Africa, Canada, other strategically important countries, a commitment to Bulgaria, joining the Schengen visa zone, the euro zone, the relations with countries from Ukraine to Moldova with a focus on Bulgarian ethnic groups in these countries, the continuation of the voting rights of the Bulgarian communities abroad, the reform of the personnel policy for professional diplomats, to good neighborly ones Relations with Turkey and policy areas – such as the issuing of visas – not necessarily in the area of ​​foreign policy. Only the Eurovision Song Contest was missed.

At the meeting of the working group on foreign affairs, WCC co-chairs Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev – whose party, as the winner of the largest seat in the newly elected National Assembly, is constitutionally entitled to first place mandate to form a government – worked hard on it to build consensus to arrive at a comprehensive coalition government agreement.

The consultations between the working groups on 18 policy areas are to be followed by talks with the leaders of the parties and coalitions in order to sign a coalition agreement.

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