For the first time in the last 3 years and for a second time since Bulgaria is a member of the EU, the president Gheorghi Parvanov will visit Brussels. On Monday his working visit starts in Belgium and Luxembourg until February 24th.
In Brussels the Bulgarian president will have meetings with the president of the European Council Herman van Rompuy, the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek. In the European Parliament the president will meet the presidents of the groups of the European People's Party Joseph Daul, the Progressive Alliance of the Socialists and Democrats Martin Schulz and the Alliance of the Liberals and Democrats in Europe Guy Verhofstadt. In his tough agenda are also included meetings with the Energy Commissioner Guenter Oettinger, the Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and Christalina Gheorghieva who is responsible for humanitarian aid and international cooperation.
"During the talks in the European institutions the Bulgarian head of state will discuss a broad range of issues from EU's agenda. An important place in the talks will have the preparation of Europe 2020 Strategy, Bulgaria's contribution for its development and mechanisms for its effective implementation on a national and European level. He will also discuss Bulgaria's role for the increase of the energy security of the region and Europe, including the construction of an adequate energy infrastructure. It is expected an exchange of opinions regarding EU's actions after the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. President Parvanov will outline Bulgaria's priorities on important for our country issues like the economic and social development after the crisis, the preparations of Bulgaria for membership in the euro area and Schengen. The priorities of the new European Parliament and the new Commission will also be touched and the dialogue with the president of the European Council will be continued", the press release from the Presidency says.
A review of president's visits in the last years shows that the West is not a preferable destination for him. In 2005 he made 12 visits in countries in Europe and the US but since then their number is constantly falling. In the beginning of 2009 the Bulgarian head of state visited Japan and Vietnam where he named an island after Orpheus and in February he was in Moscow where he presented for the first time his book "Bulgaria in the global world". Last year Parvanov also visited South Korea, Sri Lanka and Australia. For the latter visit the minister of finance Simeon Dyankov commented: "Visiting kangaroos in the Sydney zoo costs 1 mn levs (512,820 euro) to the Bulgarian taxpayer".
Maybe the most famous visit of president Parvanov was in Uzbekistan in November 2008 when local media reported that he hunted in a reserve and host dead a protected species of arhar. Then the Presidency commented only that everything that happened in Uzbekistan was according to the official programme. recently the Uzbek authorities confirmed the poacher's hunting.
The same year Gheorghi Parvanov visited Turkmenistan, Albania, Qatar, Argentina, Mexico, Egypt and Azerbaijan. The sports fans know very well that often president's state visits are related to games of national teams of football of volleyball.