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National Day  3 March

His Excellency Mr Marin Raykov
Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria
186-188 Queen’s Gate
London SW7 5HL
T: 020 7581 3144
F: 020 7584 4948
E: info@bulgarianembassy.org.uk


FOR BULGARIA’ S NEW Ambassador His Excellency Mr Marin Raykov, diplomacy is in the blood. “My father was an ambassador for many years, and my son is a diplomat. We are definitely a diplomatic family!” he declares. He arrived in London with his wife Mariana in May. “London is one of the globe’s great capitals. I have no doubt that my posting is going to be a very rewarding experience.”

A member of the foreign service since 1988, Mr Raykov’s highly distinguished diplomatic career abroad began in ex-Yugoslavia during the war; he describes his posting in Belgrade (1992-95) as hugely “interesting and professionally rewarding.” After the war, he vividly recalls the hard slog of establishing a working relationship with neighbouring countries, “and, of course, the efforts that we had to deploy in order to adapt the diplomatic service to this new European reality.”

His two postings as Ambassador to France (2001-05 and 2010-13) proved to be quite different experiences. The first focused on efforts to secure the preconditions for Bulgarian EU membership. “We had to establish communication with various institutions, which was a huge challenge because it required a radical change in the style of communication and the climate of our context with our French colleagues.” He continues, “All this was against the background of radical social, economic and political change in the country. Of course, the impact of political change is very direct on the diplomatic service.” The second time he assumed his mandate in Paris, he found himself already being a partner working on the European agenda. “It was very different looking from the inside,” he comments.

Mr Raykov served twice as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, during some “difficult periods in the region.” He notes that “Winston Churchill used to describe the Balkans as ‘the soft underbelly of Europe.’ Our firm commitment was to establish a very different climate in the Balkan region in the period after the war.” The first appointment was during the final stages of military confrontation in the region, the period right before the signature of the Ohrid Agreement – the peace deal signed by the Slav-Macedonian and Albanian political parties. “The Bulgarian ambition was to be part of the solution, so we had to find the right settlement to pending issues with all our neighbours in the Western Balkans, and we succeeded in order to secure their European perspective – including that of the Republic of North Macedonia with which we share historical memory, cultural and linguistic traditions.” He continues: “We have an ambitious national vision based on cooperation and sharing common goals with our allies in the region. So, my mandate at the time covered mainly Balkan-related issues, but also, Asia.”

While Mr Raykov was Ambassador-at- Large focusing on European Foreign Policy, Bulgaria joined the EU on 1 January 2007, one of the most memorable days of his career to date. Soon after, Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev appointed him caretaker Prime Minister and Foreign Minister for three months in 2013. “This was a short, but crucial time. It was a period of political crisis and challenges were everywhere.”

As Ambassador in the UK, his “efforts will be focused on securing a working relationship with Great Britain in the period following Brexit.” He continues, “With regards to our relationship, it’s not the end of the story, but rather the start of a new chapter. Plus, the start of a rewarding interaction in the economic field. We will continue to be allies in NATO and close partners. I am absolutely convinced we will be able to establish a working relationship that will be very close, mainly because we share the same values and challenges. After all, the background of our diplomatic relations is quite engaging – it goes back 140 years!”

What does he think is Bulgaria’s greatest diplomatic challenge? “To assume the role of an active, reliable and predictable member of the EU in our region, and a key partner in discussing the problems and challenges that we face in the neighbourhood. At the same time,” he says, “we must secure an economic relationship with other member states, and other European countries, among them, Great Britain. This requires a very active stand with the diplomatic service abroad, with countries like the UK.”

Here in London, Mr Raykov says he “must find a solution to the status of our 140,000 compatriots in the UK. This is a difficult issue, and from a purely administrative point of view, it will take a lot of effort.”


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