Brussels, March 25 (RFE/RL) - A Parade of Eastern
European officials passes through Brussels this week. And our
Brussels correspondent reports the events will stretch to the limits
The schedules of high-ranking European Union (EU) and NATO officials.
Belarus' Prime Minister Mikhail Chygir opened today's events as he
met European Ccmmission President Jacques Santer.
Bulgaria's President Zhelyu Zhelev visits NATO headquarters today,
and after a meeting with Secretary General Javier Solana, Zhelev
holds a news conference.
Latvia's President Guntis Ulmanis is meeting Italy Foreign Minister
Susanna agnelli, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
Also today, eastern european ministers responsible for research
projects consult EU ministers.
Tomorrow, Bulgaria's President Zhelev, Latvia's President Ulmanis
and Estonia's President Lennart Meri meet European Commission
President Santer. President Ulmanis will also deliver a lecture at
the Brussels-based "Center for European Policy Studies." Ulmanis then
meets NATO Secretary General Solana.
Wednesday, it is Estonia's President Meri's turn to address the
North Atlantic Council, and to meet Solana.
Presidents Ulmanis and Meri will also visit the headquarters of the
Western European Union (WEU), and the European parliament, where they
meet parliament chairman Klaus Haensch.
President Ulmanis is accompanied by a large group of ministers, who
will conduct separate meetings with colleagues in their fields.
Our correspondent reports that newspaper accounts of these visits
focus mostly on Zhelev. In an interview published today in "La Libre
Belgique," Zhelev blasts Sofia's socialist government, saying "after
one year of socialist power, the country hasn't made any progress."
"Look at the economy," Zhelev says, "no promise has been kept."
Zhelev also asserts that foreign investment has declined, land reform
is blocked, crime - especially organized crime - is rampant, and that
censorship and repression of the media is staging a comeback.
Zhelev said he believes the socialists are simply incapable of
governing Bulgaria in a democratic manner.
In an interview in today's "Le Soir," Zhelev says that by trying to
re-establish close ties to Russia, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov's
socialist government displays "a clear nostalgia" for the past. On the one hand, asserts Zhelev, "the socialists are still profoundly under the influence of their communist past; on the other, they are isolated on the international scene, and their contacts are with those in power in Moscow and Belgrade."