28 March 2012, 14:30 h, National Assembly, Sofia
On 28 March 2012, at 14:30 h, at the National Assembly, The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria and the Embassy of Ukraine in Bulgaria, with the support of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, organized an inter-parliamentary debate, entitled “Ukrainian-Bulgarian Relations: 20 Years of Friendship, Trust and Partnership”.
After the introductory speech of the President of The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria Dr. Solomon Passy, the Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria Georgi Pirinski addressed the audience with the appeal that Ukraine and Bulgaria developed their bilateral relations to a much greater extent than the one they had now.
The Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine underlined how important the relations with Bulgaria were for this country – both for the finalization of the process for joining the Association Agreement and for the future integration of Ukraine to the European Union. In this context, Bulgaria’s experience in the accession negotiations would be particularly helpful, taking into consideration the similarities between Bulgaria and Ukraine.
The first President of the Republic of Bulgaria Dr. Zhelyu Zhelev also gave a speech, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the relations between Ukraine and Bulgaria. He remembered with nostalgia the days during his mandate, when he was a witness of the decision for the declaration of the independence of Ukraine from the Soviet Union. Of course, he did not miss the opportunity to mention his hopes for a future intensification of the bilateral relations between the two countries and to wish luck to the Ukrainian representatives for the EU negotiations.
The Chairman of the Group for Friendship “Bulgaria-Ukraine” Mr. Pavel Dimitrov called the politicians of the two countries to put more efforts on initiating more joint projects, because not much had been done until that moment. Still, he added with delight that the friendship, the mutual trust and the partnership (according to the slogan of the inter-parliamentarian debate) provided the preconditions for future joint projects, which were lacking at the moment.
The former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Mrs. Lidiya Shuleva and other representatives of political and non-governmental circles also presented reports related to the topic of the debate.
After the official part of the debate was over, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Bulgaria H.E. Mikola Baltaji showed to those present an exhibition, which tracked the 20 years of friendship between the peoples of Ukraine and Bulgaria. The exhibition included numerous photos of meetings between the Bulgarian and the Ukrainian government, as well as photos of key buildings and symbols of the two countries. The event enjoyed huge interest from the media and young visitors at the National Assembly.