US ambassador to Bulgaria, H.E. Kenneth Merten: "Magnitsky" aims to stop people's problematic behavior

From what I have seen this year here, the Bulgarian political class understands that it has made the choice to be part of NATO, and this is to the benefit of the Bulgarians. This is how they take advantage of NATO's security umbrella - regardless of what is happening in a given country, people realize that NATO is of real benefit to the country.

This was said by the US ambassador to Bulgaria, H.E. Kenneth Merten before BTV.

It is important to remember that corruption exists in every country, including mine, in other European countries. It is important to have laws to find the guilty and ensure punishment. In recent months, the Bulgarian parliament has taken steps to fight corruption and to reform the judicial system. We are proud of the work done with various NGOs to raise awareness of the topic in recent years, Merten added.

All democracies face compliance challenges. Like other countries, Bulgaria is also looking for the best way to deal with this - in every society it is always said that some people don't care as much about the rules as they say on paper. Therefore we as a society make choices and decide what the rules are through them so that there is justice for all.

It is important that Bulgarians have confidence in their political system, in political leaders and the judicial system, it is also important to know that the laws that are voted in the EU are transposed here, the US ambassador to Bulgaria also said.

It is important for all of us as citizens to be aware of what is happening in our societies - seeing what is on social networks and media, Bulgarians are quite well informed, they follow what is happening in the country and outside it - this is important so that all parts can of society and the government to function normally.

Regarding the sanctions under the Magnitsky Act, Merten commented that the global law was passed by the US to have a way of supporting elements in countries who want to see specific steps in corruption. The law is for the real purpose of stopping the problematic behavior of people, to open a new page. We carefully monitor what is happening in different countries, including Bulgaria. We are talking about what opportunities there may be in the future, this is a way that is available and depends on the circumstances and the information provided to us, added the ambassador.

We do not interfere in the internal politics of Bulgaria or elsewhere. My job is to stand up to the authorities and the population in the country and encourage them to support policies that the US is proposing. We work with those in power, whoever they are, and I will work with whoever is elected to power here. We've talked to almost everyone here, and I think that's normal, Merten added.

When asked if politicians from the ruling majority seek advice from the Embassy, ​​Merten commented: "It is their duty. They need to sit down with their partners and look for a solution to the problems."

Sanctions against Russia are effective, we are constantly discussing how to make them even more effective, as Russia is constantly looking for ways to circumvent them. But we are constantly looking for new ways to fill the gaps and to make the sanctions more painful, explained the ambassador.

The US and other countries have much more limited influence in Russia, and conversations with people who do not support the government are kept to a minimum. We mourn Navalny, but his death is due to Putin, to politics and the regime that has been established in the country. No one should die in prison while serving a sentence, and the government in Russia tolerates that, Merten said.

Bulgaria has done a very good job in reducing its dependence on Russia. Westinghouse will build headquarters here - an excellent step towards energy independence. Regarding Lukoil, there are several American companies that have been in Sofia, but I am not in a position to say how seriously they seek to buy the refinery, the ambassador explained.

Bulgaria is a wonderful country, most of the ambassadors before me were delighted with your country and this was their favorite assignment, concluded Merten./BGNES