The Republic of Bulgaria is situated on the Eastern part of the ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse Balkan Peninsula, covering about 22 % of its territory. The official language is Bulgarian and the capital is Sofia.
Bulgaria occupies a unique and strategically important geographic location. Since ancient times, the country has formed major crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa. The country borders Turkey and Greece to the South, the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia to the West, and Romania to the North. Bulgaria has an outlet to the Black sea and to the river Danube.
Considering its convenient location, the territory of Bulgaria was one of the first to be inhabited in Europe. Thracians, Greeks, Romans have taken advantage of the abundance of these territories for centuries, influencing the cultural heritage of Bulgaria.
The history of Bulgaria as a separate country began in the early Middle Ages. It played a crucial role in propagating the Christian faith, literature and culture among the European countries. The First and Second Bulgarian Empires served as cultural centers of Slavic Europe, but the land was also dominated by foreign states twice in its history, once by the Byzantine Empire (1018 - 1185) and once by the Ottoman Empire (1396 - 1878).
After the World War II, Bulgaria became a part of the Eastern Block and the communist regime was established. The parliamentary democracy in Bulgaria was restored in 1991 and since January 1st 2007 it became a member of the European Union.
|Statistics – 2008|
|Territory||110 933 km?|
- Per capita
BGN 66 728 Million
BGN 8 753 Million*
|BGN- Bulgarian lev|
EUR 1 = BGN 1.95583*
|Inflation||7,8 % in 2008*|
|S&P credit rating||BBB|
* Sourse: Bulgarian National Bank (BNB)
In spite of the prevailing opinion that Bulgaria is the poorest member of the EU, it remains the country with one of the most consistently developing economies. Currency Board, introduced in 1997, secures the stability of the Bulgarian economy; Bulgaria’s exchange rate is fixed to the euro at a permanent rate of BGN 1.95583 per euro.
One of the main advantages of investing in Bulgaria is the tax concession policy. The corporate tax in Bulgaria is established at 10 %, being the lowest in the EU. The government defines a series of other tax concessions aiming at ameliorating the economic situation in Bulgaria, attracting more foreign investors, and stimulating the national business. The government grants financial sopport for priority investment projects.
The current state of the Bulgarian economy is characterized by a permanent GDP growth (about 6%), leading to a budget surplus of over 3 % (in 2008). Moreover, being a member of the EU, Bulgaria benefits from the single market with the other members of the Union as well as a great number of possibilities to participate in various projects financed by the EU Structural Funds.
The economic development of the country is additionally accelerated by various EU-programmes for the time period 2007-2013. They provide for improvement of infrastructure and tranport, for enhancement of the Bulgarian competitiveness, for regional development, ect.
The government also favors foreign investments by the means suggested in the Investment Encouragement Act. There are no restrictions for the amount of the imported capital in Bulgaria.
Despite the fact that the credit rating of the country was brought down from BBB+ to BBB, Bulgaria remains an economically stable and prosperous country. According to the Bulgarian National Bank, the direct investments in Bulgaria in 2008 ran up to 18.1 % of GDP.
Another essential argument for the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy is the excellent quality of the human capital. Traditionally, Bulgaria sustains an above-average educational level. In addition, its quality keeps improving on the account of a great number of young experts, who complete their education abroad. The foreign languages make up an essential part of the education in Bulgaria. Most popular languages to learn are English, German, French, Russian, Spanish, and Italian.
Bulgaria has free-trade agreements with EFTA, CEFTA, FYROM, Turkey, Albania, Israel, Mexico, etc. Furthermore, Bulgaria has concluded the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements with over 61 countries.
In 2006 Bulgaria was at number 16 in the world for economic growth – 6, 2% per year. According to the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Bulgaria holds the second place among the most favorable business climates in Europe (Denmark being at number one).
Bulgaria is the most politically stable country on the Balkan Peninsula. The present constitution, adopted in 1991, proclaims Bulgaria a parliamentary democracy under a unitary constitutional republic.Bulgaria joined NATO on 29 March 2004 and signed the European Union Treaty of Accession on 25 April 2005, becoming a full member of the European Union on 1 January 2007. The country had joined the United Nations in 1955, and became a founding member of OSCE in 1995.
On the latest parliamentary elections, which were held on July 5, 2009, the previous coalition government was replaced by a relatively new centre – right party – Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB). The new cabinet will govern independently, without any coalition partnership.
The political platform of the CEDB puts an accent on launching urgent anti-crisis measures, on realizing projects for unblocking the EU funds and optimizing their assimilation, and on taking the due measures for a successful European development of Bulgaria.
Various international highways connect the territory of Bulgaria to Western Europe, Russia, Asia, the Black and the Adriatic Seas. Five of the ten Trans-European corridors run through its territory.
Bulgaria has two important sea ports on the Black sea (Varna and Burgas) and several river ports on the Danube (Russe, Vidin, Oriahovo, Silistra).
Bulgaria has six official international airports — at Sofia, Burgas, Varna, Plovdiv, Rousse and Gorna Oryahovitsa. Important domestic airports include those of Vidin, Pleven, Silistra, Targovishte, Stara Zagora, Kardzhali, Haskovo and Sliven.