Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva defended holding live meetings of European foreign ministers on the grounds that, no matter how secure a video link is, “you never know who is listening to you.”
She said in an interview with Politico that she expected sanctions under the new human rights mechanism to be imposed on “both the Russian authorities and the oligarchs, but on the basis of concrete evidence.”
She said she did not expect any of her colleagues to oppose giving the green light for them to today’s Foreign Affairs Council.
The ministers met on Monday after a Russian court upheld the two-and-a-half-year sentence of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Zaharieva recalls that the new European law, such as the American “Magnitsky”, allows the EU to impose targeted punitive measures that have no effect on the population.
Until the end of last week, there was no clear signal whether this could be expected, even those familiar with the matter ruled out the possibility that oligarchs would be on the sanctions list.
Zaharieva also said she was not opposed to High Representative Josep Borrell’s trip to Russia, but said the EU should have been very clear in its assessment of the human rights situation there. According to her, the Union should learn a lesson and be better prepared, BNR reported.
Minister Zaharieva rejects the allegations that the veto imposed by Bulgaria for the start of negotiations with Northern Macedonia for EU membership is related to the upcoming parliamentary elections in our country.
“I do not think that anything can change until our friends are ready to implement the treaty of friendship and good neighborliness and to keep their commitments,” said Minister Zaharieva.
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