I met Professor Michael Bar-Zohar for the first time in Brussels, in the European Parliament, in 2011. I participated in the launch of his book dedicated to the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews during the Second World War. As a MEP, as well as being a Member of the Committee of Culture and Media, I was also actively involved in the Delegation for Friendship with Israel, so the problems of Israel and the Jews are not unfamiliar to me. Moreover, in my native Plovdiv I grew up with Jewish friends, for whom I have always had the warmest feelings.
In the beginning of November, the European Parliament will welcome representatives of the Bulgarian communities that live abroad. The host of the grand scale conference is the MEP Emil Stoyanov. The conference ‘Policies for the Bulgarians living abroad’ is organized jointly with the vice-president of Republic of Bulgaria Margarita Popova and it is part of establishing a long-term strategy for Bulgarians abroad. Our compatriots, that live and work abroad, represent around 15% of all Bulgarians, where the largest communities are situated in the US, Spain, Ukraine, Moldova and Germany. Bulgarians abroad usually are well educated and enjoy a successful career in the countries they live in.
The European debate on Schengen was so intense and strategic for the common European future that it managed to at times push the story of the financial crisis in Greece, Portugal and Ireland to the inside pages.
In the late autumn of 1989, with the collapse of the communist regime, many of my former classmates and friends emigrated because they did not believe in the future of Bulgaria, or more precisely they did not believe that it was possible for Bulgaria to become part of the Western European community, a prospect which attracted them irresistibly.