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Mediterranean Quarterly 13.4 (2002) 1-10

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Bulgaria in a Changing World

Georgi Parvanov

The forms of international relations in the era after World War II have undergone radical changes during the past ten years. The Cold War has ended. Some established players in the international arena have disappeared, as new states with new interests and foreign policy objectives have emerged. The rapid advance of information technologies has shortened interstate distances. The mutual dependence among nations and peoples has grown considerably. We have been witnessing a globalization of the economy, trade, and investment. Awareness of the shared challenges has led to the conception and implementation of multinational projects, important infrastructure ideas, and common actions in the environmental and climate realms as well as sustainable development.

In other respects, the past decade has seen an exacerbation of regional conflicts, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, acts of religious extremism, disasters in the natural environment, and gross violations of human rights, even genocide. Important changes have occurred in the international security agenda, pushing forward issues of ethnic and religious intolerance, nationalistic outrage, acts of xenophobia, and human rights violations. Freedom and democracy are incompatible with any of these dangerous phenomena. None of them could be accounted for or justified by internal or foreign policy reasons; all of them should be fought relentlessly.

After 11 September 2001, antiterrorism has topped the world political agenda. The world has been changed since that date. The criminal terrorist blow at the heart of America gave evidence of the diversity and unconventionality of threats and risks facing international security at the dawn of the [End Page 1] new millennium. Moreover, these are universal, crossborder threats and risks, to which no country is immune and with which no state can cope single-handedly. This calls for new diversified approaches and instruments of security policy. The bloody terrorist acts against the United States have consolidated the international community in its efforts to eradicate terrorism worldwide.

The global coalition involving dozens of states is a new fact of life that must be reckoned with, especially by those who still rely on terror in pursuing their political, religious, or other goals. Acts involving arms and the use of force are not and cannot be a way of solving problems. Bulgaria has been and will continue to be a loyal ally of the global coalition against terror. Our antiterrorist activities match our perception of national security, our stabilizing policies in the Balkans, and our European and Euro-Atlantic priorities.

Bulgaria's Foreign Policy Priorities

In recent years, democratic Bulgaria has achieved major success in pursuing its key foreign policy objectives: accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union. All Bulgarian governments and presidents since the start of the democratic transformation have made their contribution to these ends. The greatest value is the consensus achieved among all important political forces in this country on the need to seek full membership in these two organizations.

In view of the new political realities in the Euro-Atlantic area, especially the role of NATO in building up the European architecture of security, including in the region of southeastern Europe, membership in that alliance has become a priority of Bulgaria's foreign and national security policy. Membership in NATO will help Bulgaria solve the problem of international, legally binding guarantees of its national security following a considerable and continuing security vacuum. As a member of the alliance, Bulgaria will be able to raise issues of its security at an early stage and exchange relevant information, views, and experience with other members as well as participate actively in decision making on European security, including in southeastern Europe. In a wider context, one may expect a fresh impetus to our country's relations with the advanced states, including economic, financial, [End Page 2] trade, and other contacts, and greater confidence among foreign investors and international financial institutions. This, in turn, will have a positive impact on the way we deliver on our commitments and responsibilities arising from membership in NATO and the EU.

At the same time, our accession to...


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