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Bulgarian Diplomatic Appointments Obscure

Date: 22.06.2010

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vesela Cherneva admitted Bulgaria's diplomatic appointments lack transparency

The process for appointing Bulgarian diplomats is not transparent, according to Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vesela Cherneva.

Cherneva gave a news conference Tuesday providing information about the strategic review of the structures and staff of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry.

In her words, upcoming amendments of the Diplomatic Corps Act will provide for a political quota of 20 % of all diplomatic appointments. Yet, there has to be a clear-cut mechanism for selecting diplomats even if they are from this “political quota.”

“The current procedure is nontransparent. Whenever there is any political appointment, there has to be a certain kind of logic based on the efficiency of the proposed person, their ability to answer the standards of the Foreign Ministry. These appointments have to be at least coordinated with the specialized directorates of the Ministry,” Cherneva declared while explaining also that the very term “political appointment” had to be defined in the legislation.

“There has to be a clear-cut procedure instead of deciding such appointments in some dark cabinet where two people are writing down names on a napkin,” said the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson.

“We would like to keep political appointments to the diplomatic corpse up to 20%,” she declared while refusing to reveal figures or venture a guess about how many Bulgarian diplomats hold their jobs thanks to political appointments. In her words, she did not have precise information and did not want to speculate on the sensitive topic.

Cherneva explained that a total of 70 people have been working since March on the strategic review of the structures of the Foreign Ministry divided in seven working groups – a review of the condition, goals, and priorities of Bulgaria’s foreign policy; a review of the organizational model of the institution; a review of diplomatic missions abroad; a review of the respective legislation; a review of the consular activities; of the human resource policies; and of information security at the Ministry.

The working groups have already presented their report on June 16. It is now to be approved by Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov, and after that it will be tabled to the Security Council and Administrative Reform Council of the Cabinet.

Cherneva shied away from presenting the conclusions of the report yet, but said that there will probably be recommendations for shutting down some of Bulgaria’s diplomatic missions. However, any such moves are to be coordinated with a number of other ministries as well.

She pointed out that the Ministry was trying to figure out a formula to simultaneously increase its efficiency while fulfilling the Cabinet requirement to reduce its expenditures by 15 %.


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