The National Security Council in the Bulgarian Presidency Brings Forth a Difference in Opinions

Yesterday, the President of Bulgaria held the fourth meeting of Consultative Council for National Security.

The fourth meeting of the Council was focused on matters of national security in the light of recent events like the bombings in Syria. 

President Radev wanted to address multiple issues - such as the relationship between two of Bulgaria's neighbours- Greece and Turkey, the solo campaigns of Turkey in North Syria, the bombings in the region that weren't coordinated with the UN. However, the meeting's contents were silenced by what one of the members of the Council had to say upon leaving the 5-hour-long sitdown with the President. 

Tsvetan Tsvetanov, leader of the Parliamentary group of GERB, never holds punches when it comes to criticizing the President. This time, his critique was stronger than ever.

He claimed that the President's stance on Bulgaria's national security speaks of an entirely pro-Russian bias and opinions that suggest Bulgaria should leave the EU and NATO.

Tsvetanov seemed to be outraged by the President's propositions and did not shy away from expressing his doubts. 

Although this story came out yesterday, today Tsvetanov was invited to bTV's studio to comment his interesting claims. According to the MP, the President's position corresponds with that of Russia and not with that of Federica Mogherini who said that there were attempts to use chemical weapons against the Syrian people. Tsvetanov was critical of the President's support of the "Grippen" planes. He stressed that NATO-members, including neighbours of Bulgaria, are looking for F-16's and F-35's. 

While Tsvetanov was adamant that Bulgaria was made aware of the military actions of the USA, the UK, and France, two Ministers did not confirm such claims.

Those were the Minister of Defense - Krasimir Karakachanov and the Minister of Exterior - Ekaterina Zaharieva. The leader of GERB's parliamentary group also alluded that the President's campaign was "in the dark" and that he had received controversial sponsorships. 

Tsvetanov's allegations were not left unanswered. The President's office was quick to reply and released the preliminary version of the President's stance. This draft is even more substantial than the official stance he offered during the meeting. Nowhere in the document does the President even hint at opinions contradictory to the EU and NATO. 

In the text, it is simply stated that the attack coordinated by the "ad hoc alliance" was not coordinated with the UN and that might lead to conflict in the region. A potential risk for the region are the constant violations of Greece's airspace. Today, the President decided to personally address the matter. He jokingly said: "It is no coincidence that I insist on a better education in Bulgaria. It seems that Mr. Tsvetanov cannot fully assimilate what he reads." 

Radev said that there is no point in people talking about Euro-Atlantic values without actually realizing what stands behind these words. Radev insisted that working with Bulgaria's partners and achieving a consensus between government and President is crucial. About the allegations regarding his campaign, Radev said that Tsvetanov is the one who has to worry about a shady past. Yesterday, the Vice President of Bulgaria, Mrs. Yotova ironically said that Tsvetanov's only job is to criticize the President and to sow doubt. 

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Vasil Manev

Vasil Manev is a student in Computer Science and an aspiring columnist, studying in Heidelberg, Germany.

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