European Council on Foreign Relations

Messy elections in Bulgaria: An attempt for a read-out

For the first time in Bulgaria’s post-'89 history, eight parties will enter the 240-seat parliament. The complicated choreography of the negotiations necessary for building the government is still in the air, but one thing is clear: it will be messier than ever and will require more fortitude and political responsibility from the parties.

The biggest share of the exercise goes to the centre-right GERB of former Prime Minister (2009-2013) Boyko Borissov. Although he scored high – more than twice the votes of his main rival, the Bulgarian Socialist Party – Borissov will not enjoy a comfortable plurality. With only 84 MPs, GERB will be forced to strike a coalition with one or even two parties. A centre-right coalition with the Reformist Block (RB) would be ideologically the most logical one but appears increasingly difficult due to personality issues. The Block’s leaders declared they

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#HighRepCasting – join the campaign

The European Union is set to appoint a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – at a moment when the importance of a strong EU foreign policy couldn’t be clearer. Instead of the horse-trading and political calculations that will likely result in someone taking on the High Rep mantle – imagine if qualifications and strategic thinking drove the EU’s selection process. And imagine if the post to steer EU foreign policy was so coveted and high-profile, that the process received widespread enthusiastic attention.

ECFR is imagining such a world. We want to draw attention to the High Representative position and, by extension, EU foreign policy by exciting some debate around the position – and we want to have a little fun with it.

Join our campaign on twitter to shine some light on the future face of EU foreign policy. We have started a small twitter campaign

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A High Rep to create Europe’s World

This piece is part of a series on the casting of a new High Representative. For the full collection, click hereRead Josef Janning's introductory piece here

As next EU foreign policy chief, it looks like we are going to have the choice between a strongman with a disregard for the rules and a mild-mannered technocrat capable of steering the Big-3 states. And by Big-3 states, of course, I mean Texas, Florida, and New York because we Europeans seem undecided only about whether to outsource our foreign-policy decisions to Obama or to the maverick Putin.

It’s a shame we aren’t interested in defining our global role for ourselves. This was supposed to be Europe’s World – multipolar, with a declining role for the US and a growing demand for EU-style regionalism. All we had to do, it was always said, was lie back while the rest of the world nudged out America and adopted our model of

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The EU after the elections: what you see is what you get

This post is part of a series on the issues discussed at the ECFR Annual Council Meeting in Rome (12-13 June). You can find more content and audio from the council meeting here.

The financial crisis resulted in a fragmented, unequal and unpopular Europe, and - as demonstrated by the recent European elections - a significant number of people have turned their back on the EU. However, with the rise in eurosceptic populism and the lack of growth and jobs, the EU now more than ever requires active engagement from its citizens and political courage from its policymakers. The question now is not whether Europe should move ahead, but how.

In the interest of avoiding frantic activism, the participants of this panel agreed that a substantive analysis of the reasons for the mixed results is needed. They identified three major clusters:

1) Turnout: The overall turnout of 43.1 percent was

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What kind of HighRep does the MENA region need?

This piece is part of a series on the casting of a new High Representative. For the full collection, click here. Read Josef Janning's introductory piece here.

Audacious – at a time of unprecedented turmoil and transformations in a region that Europe cannot ignore, the High Representative will have to be more daring than in the past. Many on the other shore of the Mediterranean are already calling for more assistance from Europe.

Conciliatory – while showing audacity, the High Rep. will have to be a coalition builder with both southern countries and EU member states, in order to rebalance the concerns and focus, both political and financial, towards this neighbourhood.

Charismatic – in addition to robust networks and a good reputation among EU and world leaders, including the United States, the HR should be charismatic and project a stronger image of Europe as a credible foreign

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