After the street demonstrations in November 1989 and the first free elections in 1990, Bulgaria embarked on a process of democratic opening and transition from the socialist to the free market economy. However, the profound economic crisis and the austerity measures adopted have also highlighted the limits of the development process. For Bulgaria 2017, please check mathgeneral.com.
On the international level, the country has pursued a moderately pro-Western policy which, while safeguarding traditionally friendly relations with Russia, led it to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1996, NATO in 2004 and to the European Union (Eu) in 2007. After 1989, relations with the USA also evolved positively, starting with the bilateral investment treaty of 1994 and some more recent cooperation agreements in the field of defense and security. Bulgaria is about 90% dependent on gas imports from Russia; however, due to the crisis in Ukraine and under pressure from the EU, the Bulgarian authorities have decided to stop the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline, used to transport Russian gas to central Europe, through the Black Sea and the Balkan country. At the same time, Sofia is pursuing her own energy diversification strategy to alleviate her addiction problems. The democratization process and the economic liberalization process went hand in hand and were supported by the Bulgarian path towards integration into the EU. Following the application for membership, submitted in 1995, Brussels has played a key role in promoting and accelerating economic reforms. Even after joining the EU in 2007, the European Commission continued to monitor some critical sectors, such as justice and security, deeming the measures taken by Bulgarian governments to fight corruption and organized crime inadequate. Besides the country,
With the beginning of the new century, Bulgaria concentrated its diplomatic activity on the development of good neighborly relations. After the disagreements of the first part of the twentieth century, Greece has become a firm supporter of the accession process of Sofia to the EU, while relations with Macedonia remain controversial. Despite having recognized the government of Skopje in 1992 and having entered into important trade agreements with the neighbor, tensions remain linked to the protection of Bulgarian minorities in Macedonian territory and to the alleged policy of appropriation by Macedonia of historical events and characters in order to reduce the image of Bulgaria. It is on the basis of these reasons that Sofia vetoed Skopje’s entry into the EU. Relations with Turkey remain equally complex:
Bulgaria is part of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (Bsec), together with other coastal countries, the Caucasian republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Moldova, Serbia and Albania.
The country is a parliamentary republic with a unicameral assembly elected every four years. The prime minister formally acquires the post from the president of the Republic but must obtain the confidence of the assembly to govern. The current premier is the conservative Boyko Borisov of the Citizens for European Development party of Bulgaria (Gerb), who came to power in the early elections on 5 October 2014 after yet another government crisis which involved the socialist Plamen Oresharski. Contributing to Oresharski’s resignation was not only the disappointing electoral result of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (Bsp) in the European consultations of May 2014, but also the economic-financial crisis of July of the same year which involved the major national credit institutions. Borisov ‘s victory, however, did not resolve the political impasse in Bulgaria. As already happened in 2013, Gerb’s narrow affirmation did not allow it to win an absolute majority in an increasingly fragmented parliament: the Conservative party was forced to create new and broad alliances to form a stable executive.
Internal political problems were joined by equally serious social problems represented by the constant influx of refugees and displaced persons, especially from Syria. In an attempt to contain the already significant amount of migrants arriving in the country via the so-called ‘Balkan route’ during the summer of 2015, the government announced a new widening of the wall that divides the country from Turkey.