Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Nikolay Mladenov is the new Bulgarian foreign minister, Zheleva - innocent

euinside, January 20, 2010

The Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov will suggest next week the National Assembly to approve the current defence minister Nikolay Mladenov to become foreign minister after the premier accepted the resignation of Rumyana Zheleva under the pressure of the, according to Borisov - the democratic party GERB. At its session today the government has approved Mladenov to take Zheleva's position. The cabinet will suggest structural reform for which there are no more details for the moment.

The prime minster explained his decision with the fact that in spite of his resistance to accept Zheleva's resignation, he took into account the position of his party later last night because this was a democratic political power.

Although he knew that this was the news journalists expected the most, he started his expose with the situation at the Bulgarian-Greek border by explaining that he had little time because he was to talk to the opposition leader of New Democracy in Greece to ask him to move the Greek farmers' protests inside Greece and not at the border. He was to talk to the opposition leader because this was the advice of the Greek prime minister Georgius Papandreu with whom Borisov also spoke today. The premier added that the problem of the Greek government was inherited by the previous one and he understood the situation but the crisis must be solved.

Then the prime minister turned to "the other pressing issue of the day, which I suppose you are interested in". "The current situation around her (Rumyana Zheleva) created a problem by forcing us to divert from the agenda of society and to spend a lot of resources to explain things which for me are obvious. And for me it was enough that, first the EPP and the Commission took the blame off her and firmly supported her. But with todays decisions and what I will propose in parliament next week I think that I will end this issue. And regarding her activities in the future - let us recover a little after all those attacks which we got and we will consider and take a decision".

With regard to his yesterday's determination to keep Rumyana Zheleva a foreign minister, Boyko Borisov again underlined that GERB was a democratic party - it was neither a leader-type party, nor a commander-type one and this was why he took their opinion into account.

Asked by euinside why the Bulgarians were forced to learn the news for Zheleva's resignation from Strasbourg and from the EPP instead of Sofia, the premier replied: "We had a firm agreement with Mr. Barroso. First, on Thursday at 5 o'clock pm Brussels time he will meet Kristalina Georgieva (the second Bulgarian nominee for a Commissioner), as the rules require - to meet, talk and then we will announce it. He said so and I committed to this", were the exact words of the prime minister.

Boyko Borisov also commented the nomination of the vice president of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva by saying that for almost a year she had advised the government and helped a lot in the decision-making process, especially in our financial and economic policy. "The idea was by the end of the year (2009) she to come as a deputy prime minister in the government. However her work in the World bank were extremely serious and she just could not finish what she has started. We had a lot of disputes and talks with her boss and we reached a consensus that she can return to Bulgaria in March or April. So, the current situation, firstly, forced us to swiftly prove to Brussels and our Euro-Atlantic partners that we have a nomination and a person that can do a lot of work to the European government and, second, an agreement that she could come as a minister to help me in supervising the economy and to directly influence the financial operations the government is making in order to balance the budget. And, together with the other ministers, I will offer a structural change - Mr. Ilian Mihov will come".

According to Borisov, Ilian Mihov* was among the first 500 economists in the world, he lectured from Paris to Singapore in the most prestigious universities. The premier refused to specify in what capacity Mihov would come into the government. He only explained that Ilian Mihov would replace Kristalina Georgieva in his plans for the government.

euinside remained from the press conference with the impression that the prime minister assumed that everything around Ms. Rumyana Zheleva's business activities is in order and that was why he insisted the case to be closed yet today. This is why we asked the prime minister how he would comment on her participation in the management of a company, according to the Trade Register, while she was a foreign minister which is in violation of the Administration Legislation. "She cannot be blamed for not being written off the Trade Register. I also had similar problems, you know - for years they did not want to write me off the register from the companies in which I took part before becoming a secretary general of the police. So, I will no longer comment these issues. I have taken, I think, the right decisions which are of benefit for the nation, for our international image and for the stability of the government".

*Ilian Mihov is a professor on macroeconomics in the French business school INSEAD. He graduated from the Princeton University and is a specialist in macro economy, econometric and financial economy. He was also mentioned as a potential participant in the initiative "The Bulgarian Easter", which fed the government of the ex tsar Simeon Saxecobourggotta with well proven Bulgarians abroad.