Bulgaria’s former Tsar, Simeon Saxe-Coburg, in a whirlwind of controversies
Although his life was never controversy-free, Bulgaria’s former Tsar and Prime Minister found himself in the midst of not one but several allegations recently.
Several Bulgarian officials threatened Simeon Saxe-Coburg with court actions because he had allegedly been given more than the double of compensation he was entitled to under the country’s restitution process. In 2003, the Bulgarian Parliament, which was controlled by Simeon’s party at the time, decided to return some of the assets of the former royal family. It was later alleged that the compensations included about 450 hectares of forest lands, for which, according to some politicians, there was absolutely no legal basis.
In an interview to Israeli “Maariv” newspaper, the former Tsar denied those assertions: “Who did the land belong to in the past 50 years? Certainly not people: those in power had them. And later, those properties were left without care and were in pitiful condition. What should have I done – spend money on them and their maintenance, or leave them without proper care? When in 1998 the court ruled that as a Bulgarian citizen I had a right to restitution, no one said anything against it. When we donated 90 hectares to Sofia city hall, no one argued we were in right to do so. But from the moment I entered the politics, my opponents have been searching for such things to blacken my reputation.”
In the same newspaper, Simeon Saxe-Coburg denied another allegation – that he’s a heavy gambler. The former Tsar said that he’s visited casinos only 3 times in his entire life, out of curiosity, and all 3 visits were documented. He added: “After I became Prime Minister, I was accused of being a gambler, a Russian spy, a greedy person, whose motivation to return to his motherland was merely to gain back former Crown properties: all those accusation are complete nonsense!”
Another controversy surrounding the former Tsar, although one he wasn’t directly involved in, was his possible nomination for the soon-to-be-created post of European Union President. Newspapers jumped on the idea after former Foreign Minister Solomon Passy said in an interview: “…there are few people in Bulgaria suitable for the post and Simeon Saxe-Coburg is certainly one of them. Even when he was still the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, a country that wasn’t a member of the European Union, he was called Mr. Europe. There were examples in past when Bulgaria nominated a candidate that would lead an organization of large number of nations (a reminder of unexpected election of Bulgarian Irina Bokova as UNESCO Director General).” However, Bulgaria’s current Prime Minister Boyko Borisov vehemently opposed the suggestion. It is no secret that the relationships between Borisov, who once served as a bodyguard to Saxe-Coburg, and the former Tsar are very uneasy.
The president of the European Union will be appointed by the heads of states of the Union which includes 27 countries as of now, after a new EU reform treaty is signed and ratified. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, former Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, former Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik and Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis are all among the prospective candidates.
To learn more about Royal Family of Bulgaria, visit this thread.Filed under Bulgaria
Tagged European Union, Government, Interview, Scandal, Simeon II of Bulgaria.