New Bulgarian president calls for EU to reconsider Russia sanctions
The country's new president Rumen Radev made his first trip to Brussels after winning the election with an anti-migrant, pro-sovereign campaign.
He said he feared Donald Trump would smooth relations with Russia while the EU was left on the sidelines with a difficult road ahead.
In a swipe at EU’s own defence plans, he also reiterating an alliance with NATO was essential to the west.
I hope to establish pragmatic and mutually beneficial relations with the leaders of the USA, Russia and China
He said: "I have already stated in my speech to parliament that Bulgaria’s choice of the EU and NATO is strategic and should not be called into question.
"As for the sanctions [against Russia], I do not see what is the practical use of them, as the losses are obvious.
"I fear that the new US administration will restore the dialogue with Russia and the EU will remain hostage to the sanction war."
Mr Radev met Mr Juncker this week on his first trip to Brussels
Former NATO military pilot and air force commander Mr Radev, 53, won 59.4 percent of the vote in the elections that took place in November.
He campaigned on an anti migration pledge also announcing that he wanted to stamp out corruption and overhaul the country's justice system.
Now he says foreign policy is essential but that outside intervention on domestic matters will not be tolerated.
Mr Radev won the election in November he is a former NATO pilot
He added: "During my election campaign, I said many times that Bulgarian foreign policy should be formulated in Bulgaria and enforced in the outside world, not the other way around.
"In recent years, this has not always been the case.
"The existence of several geopolitical centres should be another incentive for the EU to seek to preserve its unity, because only a united EU can play on par with other major actors.
"As far as I’m concerned, I hope to establish pragmatic and mutually beneficial relations with the leaders of the USA, Russia and China."
Mr Radev who is set to introduce major reforms hopes to influence policy, veto legislation and sign international treaties he has said.
And he hopes that the interests of all 7.2m Bulgarian citizens are represented as the country gets set to take over the EU presidency in 2018.
He has previously welcomed US president Donald Trump's decision to warm relations with Russia.
NATO: Things you need to know
Tue, January 24, 2017
NATO – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4th April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
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One of the world’s major international institutions. It is a political and military Alliance of 28 member countries from Europe and North America. Photo shows: View of leaders of NATO, 1960.
He said after his election: "In his election campaign [Donald Trump], already elected, said clearly that he will work for a better dialogue with Russia.
"That gives us hope, a big hope, for a peaceful solution to the conflicts both in Syria and in Ukraine and for a decrease of the confrontation."