Interview with Angel Dzhambazki

Alvaro Peñas interviews Angel Dzhambazki, MEP and Vice President of IMRO (Bulgarian National Movement), part of the ECR group (European Conservative and Reformists). The Bulgarian MEP prepared the report for the European Parliament on the request of the Spanish Supreme Court to lift the immunity of the fugitives Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí. The European Parliament voted in favour of the Spanish petition on March 9. We also talk about Europe, the imposition of gender ideology, the green agenda and Turkey’s accession to EU.

What is your view on the agreement reached between Hungary and Poland and EU on European budget?

Hungary and Poland stood up against the European Commission’s idea to spend the money on “Green deal” and digital agenda. Unfortunately, they did not receive wide support in the Council of European Union. In the Parliament there were statements urging the Council to adopt the new MFF (EU long-term budget) by qualified majority. This is why Hungarian and Polish governments prefer to negotiate for better conditions and maybe more money for recovery.

Doesn’t the statements of Vera Jourova, Vice-President of the European Commission, stating that she already knows that the European court is going to give them the reason in their dispute with these two countries, leave European justice in a very bad place?

The European justice has been in a very bad place for a long time. The problem is that the treaties give the opportunity to prosecute member state for almost anything. This destroys the model of a union of sovereign states. As I have already mentioned, the narrow liberal majority in the European Parliament wants to get rid of the unanimity vote in the Council. This will be the death of common sense and democracy in the EU. At the end of the day, the Union is not a country, despite what the bureaucrats from the Brussels bubble would like you to believe. It is a union of sovereign nations and peoples and it was created to foster cooperation. It certainly was not created to point the finger at governments with diverging views.

Bulgaria also suffered a resolution from the European Parliament last October over this “rule of law” mechanism. However, when complaints are growing in France, on the left and right, that there is less and less freedom of expression, or when the country’s third party is systematically assaulted in Spain or Germany, there are no democratic shortcomings. Is there a double standard in the European Union towards the Eastern European countries?

There is double standard in the European Union and it is towards every country that goes somehow against the mainstream liberal idea. In the beginning bashing Poland and Hungary became the favorite hobby for European Commission and liberals in European Parliament. Then they added Romania. Then came our turn and you can see that in the resolution for the rule of law in Bulgaria, there are calls that have nothing to do with the rule of law whatsoever. A good example would be the calls for accepting Istanbul Convention, for policies towards minorities and about the politicization of our judicial system. The fun thing is that the most politically bound judicial system is in Germany. Again, it is not about the rule of law but about promoting ideas that go against our belief system. You will hear the liberals talk about “EU values”, however we seem to have a very different idea on what those are. I believe that European values are the ones based on Roman law, Greek philosophy and most importantly – Christianity. You can find a lot of examples for these double standards. I think that the more the Union is centralized, the more our countries will be treated like a second-class.

Bulgaria has not signed the Istanbul Convention, do you think gender ideology will be the excuse for putting pressure on Bulgaria?

Yes, as I mentioned this is one of the reasons for Bulgaria to be attacked by EU institutions. You have to understand that this sort of look-down on you attitude is not new to us in Eastern Europe. Having been part of the Soviet sphere of influence we know the risks of somebody in a far away capital telling you what to do. This is why we are particularly careful with further European integration as we believe that policies like this will be forced upon us.

In the latest plenary session, we even have an example for this, the calls to recognize same sex partnerships everywhere in the Union. However, such a legislation will be directly contradicting the Bulgarian constitution and the constitutions of a few other EU member states. This is obviously unacceptable.  

Within ECR you have carried out joint acts with VOX. What is your opinion of the Spanish MEPs in your group?

I’m very pleased to work with VOX and I’m very happy that they are part of ECR. I have good relations with all MEPs from the Spanish delegation. Mr. Buxadé Villalba and Mr. Tertsch were part of number of events organized by me in Bulgaria and I’m very thankful for their participation. It is pleasure for me to work with them.

The fugitive Puigdemont pointed out that there are two Bulgarians in his life, the footballer Hristo Stoichkov and you. Later he pointed you as a “fascist and friend of VOX who wants me to go to jail”.

I have suffered a filthy campaign by Mr. Puigdemont’s political force with all kinds of insults and disqualifications. I am not going to answer any of his statements, but he will be obliged to appear in court and prove his allegations because I am going to sue him.

The green agenda is another of the 2030 Agenda’s workhorses. How much ideology and how much reality are there in this green agenda? How would the implementation of these environmental policies affect Bulgaria?

The green agenda is not an ideology anymore, it is closer to religion, or a cult. This green agenda, the so-called “green deal” will lead to more than a crisis. It will be an economic suicide for the nations of Europe. Germany for example is already feeling the effects of the so-called green transition. They started shutting down their Nuclear power stations, but are now faced with the situation of having to import Nuclear energy from France and Belgium. For countries like Poland and Bulgaria this is also an issue. In my country, coal power stations amount to about 40% of electricity supply and another 35 % of the energy grid is supplied by our nuclear power stations. The Green Deal stipulates that we must shut them down. Well, this is not realistic by any measure.

On the European level this will lead to mass exodus of production and businesses. We can see that already our production is located in China or somewhere in the East. We are literally giving away our business to strategic competitors. It is not acceptable.

On 21 January, the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Cavusoglu, met with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. After the meeting, he spoke on social media about restarting Turkey’s EU admission process and von der Leyen noted that dialogue is necessary. After Turkish intervention in Armenia and threats against Greece and Cyprus, are there still politicians in the EU who are approaching Erdogan?

The EU suffers from lack of political leaders with political will to stop Erdogan. Unfortunately, Ms. von der Leyen and the coalition behind her will never admit that Turkey cannot be our partner. Turkey is a threat to European security and should be treated like one. Turkish foreign policy in the secular age was always reactive: waiting until something happened and then simply defending its own position. Since the end of the cold war, however, a process of rethinking has begun. It started with Ahmet Davutoglu’s proposed concept of a “grand strategy” for Turkish foreign policy called “Strategic Depth”. This doctrine is more commonly refered to as Neo-Ottomanism. The basic premise of Davutoglu is that Turkey should work to renew the political, military and economic influence of the Ottoman Empire. Cavusoglu is simply following this Grand Strategy.

Today, Turkey is actively working to achieve this goal. I believe that the EU has to undertake every possible measure to counter Turkish influence. Not only in the Mediterranean but also in the Middle East and the Balkans. We cannot afford to have an Islamist dictatorship intervening at every level in our neighbourhood and most certainly, we cannot have said dictatorship insinuating that it can ever become a member of the EU. The threats against Greece and Cyprus should have been used by the Commission to show us real European solidarity, but there was no political will for that.

What do you think of Viktor Orbán and Fidesz’s departure from the European People’s Party?  Do you think he’ll join ECR?

Well, any enlargement of our political family is most welcome. Mr. Orbán and his party certainly have other platforms of cooperation with our group, mainly through the V4 framework and the cooperation between the governments of Poland and Hungary. Whether this cooperation will continue in the European Parliament through Fidesz joining the ECR remains to be decided, but I will say that negotiations are underway.

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