Establishing ‘Brand Bulgaria’ - the main mission of Bulgaria’s diplomacy
President Rosen Plevneliev gave the closing address at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a conference of diplomatic heads of mission abroad.
The Presidential institution will not be a rival centre of foreign policy and will work not in competition but in co-operation with the Foreign Ministry and Bulgaria’s diplomats abroad for an active and effective foreign policy. President Rosen Plevneliev said this in a speech to more than 60 heads of Bulgarian diplomatic missions abroad. In the presence of Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov, the Head of State gave the closing address at the two-day conference of Ambassadors, organized by the Foreign Ministry.
The President told the diplomats that Bulgaria’s key priorities were attracting quality foreign investments and finding new markets, as well as expanding existing ones, for Bulgarian products. The President expected of diplomats accurate, proactive and comprehensive information on trends in each country, their positions in international markets, their actions and results. Only in this way could Bulgaria be positioned strategically, the President said. He said that official visits abroad of Bulgarian statesmen should be prepared with the signing of specific agreements, not just with memoranda. Bulgarian diplomats should monitor and defend the state’s commitments, the President underlined.
President Plevneliev called for "active marketing" of Bulgaria abroad. “Brand Bulgaria” should be established, and this was the primary mission of Bulgarian diplomacy. "You can pay someone to fix your image, but you can not pay him to shape your reputation. Goodwill is the result of consistent efforts by many leaders, politicians and diplomats. Bulgaria’s reputation abroad will be shaped not by our new ambassadors, but will be the result of consistent efforts and work of us all, the President said. “Brand Bulgaria and the reputation that goes with it must associate us with something that is constructive, positive and successful,” he told the heads of diplomatic missions.
The President reiterated that in 2012 Bulgaria should have a consensual strategic development program for 2020 and diplomats needed to know to the priorities set out in it. “Bulgarian foreign policy cannot have any purpose other than the welfare, prosperity and success of the nation,” The president said. According to him, Bulgaria’s relations with advanced industrialized countries should be more dynamic and new markets should be sought in countries of the European Economic Area and in countries such as – among others – Brazil, Vietnam, India, Qatar, China, South Korea and Japan. He said that contacts with foreigners educated in Bulgaria were of particular importance, and the potential of these connections must be used to advance Bulgaria's position in local markets.
The head of state called for “honesty” in relations with Brussels and called for joint efforts so as to manage mechanisms to defend Bulgarian interests in European institutions. He said that active and continuous communication with Brussels is crucial. "We are not perfect, but if you have problems, it is better to show than to conceal them, and then they will respect us more," President Plevneliev said.
The President said that Bulgarian diplomacy must continue its targeted efforts in the Balkans and Black Sea region in pursuit of the implementation of regional projects. He highlighted the need to expand contacts and work with Bulgarians abroad.
We have to show the real Bulgaria, its success and its development, to emerge from the clichés about our country, and this is the mission of Bulgaria’s ambassadors, the President told the heads of missions abroad.