Bulgarian voters should be forgiven their general lack of interest in European affairs, as they are no different from anyone else when it comes to the trend across the continent. Decades of bland bureaucracy have numbed Europeans’ interest to European politics. The trend however is changing and Bulgarian Members of the European Parliament (MEP) are at the forefront of familiarising Bulgarians with the decision making process inside the Euro-bubble.
Angel Dzhambazki, became interested in politics as a law student, when he joined VMRO, a political organisation created in the late 19th century with the aim to unify the Bulgarian lands that remained under foreign rule after liberation from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. Nowadays, VMRO is considered a political party promoting patriotism, traditionalism and conservatism. On the EU, the party stands on a platform of increasing democratic accountability and transparency whilst trying to achieve meaningful reform to the EU. In 2009 Dzhambazki was elected Vice President of VMRO.
After a 7-year long term as a city councillor of Sofia, in 2014 Angel Dzhambazki became Member of the European Parliament. Since then, he has achieved a formidable record as the most active* Bulgarian MEP. In the European Parliament, Dzhambazki defends the idea of European Union of sovereign nations and vehemently opposes any attempt of entrusting the European Institutions with additional powers. Currently he is a Member of the Bureau and Deputy-Chief Whip of the ECR Group, ECR Group Coordinator in CULT and JURI, Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-North Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee, as well as Substitute Member in AFET and SEDE.
Through his active work in the European Parliament, Dzhambazki has refreshed the debate about European politics in his home country. With the imminent European Parliament Elections in May 2019, the political deliberations in the country are more focused on the European Union than ever. Usually in past European Parliament elections, the focus of political disputes has been on national political issues. Dzhambazki, however, has used his and his party’s popularity to shift the focus towards the future of Europe. A future in which the EU is reformed to allow respect of sovereignty of Member States and where Europe is safe and secure.
Coming from one of EU’s external border countries, Dzhambazki is a strong opponent to illegal migration. According to him: ‘The open internal borders of the EU are the biggest asset that we have. It enables EU Citizens to travel freely and the single market to function unhindered. However, in order to keep the internal borders open, we have to be very clear about the defence of the external borders of the EU.’
Furthermore, Dzhambazki has been an active defendant of the EU integration of the Western Balkans. Prior to the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, he successfully managed to convince Bulgarian leaders in government to include said integration as Bulgaria’s top priority during its Presidency as Western Balkan integration to the EU will open new markets, promote security in the region and facilitate new infrastructural projects.
Many Bulgarians consider themselves patriotic and with traditional and conservative views. This gives high hopes for VMRO for the forthcoming European Parliament elections in May 2019 with Angel Dzhambazki being re-elected for a new term. Bulgaria needs MEPs like Angel Dzhambazki to defend the Bulgarian interests and position in Brussels and Strasbourg and to promote the need for EU reform.
* 1st among Bulgarian MEPs and 12th in the entire European Parliament. Information from 8th April 2019 from website www.mepranking.eu