Europe :: Bulgaria

Introduction ::Bulgaria

    The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

Geography ::Bulgaria

    Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey
    43 00 N, 25 00 E
    total: 110,879 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 105
    land: 108,489 sq km
    water: 2,390 sq km
    slightly larger than Tennessee
    total: 1,808 km
    border countries: Greece 494 km, Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia 318 km, Turkey 240 km
    354 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers
    mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast
    lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
    highest point: Musala 2,925 m
    bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land
    arable land: 29.28%
    permanent crops: 1.44%
    other: 69.28% (2011)
    1,046 sq km (2007)
    21.3 cu km (2011)
    total: 6.12 cu km/yr (16%/68%/16%)
    per capita: 821.8 cu m/yr (2009)
    earthquakes; landslides
    air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia

People and Society ::Bulgaria

Government ::Bulgaria

    conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
    conventional short form: Bulgaria
    local long form: Republika Balgariya
    local short form: Balgariya
    parliamentary democracy
    name: Sofia
    geographic coordinates: 42 41 N, 23 19 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    28 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast); Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Khaskovo, Kurdzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofiya (Sofia), Sofiya-Grad (Sofia City), Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Vratsa, Yambol
    3 March 1878 (as an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire); 22 September 1908 (complete independence from the Ottoman Empire)
    Liberation Day, 3 March (1878)
    adopted 12 July 1991
    civil law
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Rosen PLEVNELIEV (since 22 January 2012); Vice President Margarita POPOVA (since 22 January 2012)
    head of government: Prime Minister Plamen ORESHARSKI (since 29 May 2013) Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida ZLATANOVA (since 29 May 2013)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly
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    elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 23 and 30 October 2011 (next to be held in 2016); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) elected by the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly
    election results: Rosen PLEVNELIEV elected president in a runoff election; percent of vote - Rosen PLEVNELIEV 52.6%, Ivailo KALFIN 47.4%; Plamen ORESHARSKI elected prime minister; result of legislative vote - 120 to 97
    unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sabranie (240 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 12 May 2013 (next to be held spring 2017)
    election results: percent of vote by party - GERB 30.5%, BSP 26.6%, MRF 11.3%, Ataka 7.3%; seats by party - GERB 98, BSP 86, MRF 33, Ataka 23
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Cassation (consists of a chairman and approximately 72 judges organized in criminal, civil, and commercial colleges); Supreme Administrative Court (organized in 2 colleges with various panels of 5 judges each); Constitutional Court (consists of 12 members); note - Constitutional Court resides outside the Judiciary
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court of Cassation and Supreme Administrative judges elected by the Supreme Judicial Council (consists of 12 members elected by the National Assembly) and appointed by the president; member tenure NA; Constitutional Court members selected by the president, the National Assembly, and the Supreme Courts; judges appointed for 9-year terms
    subordinate courts: appeals courts; regional and district courts; administrative courts; courts martial
    Attack (Ataka) [Volen Nikolov SIDEROV]
    Blue Coalition [Ivan KOSTOV and Martin DIMITROV] (a parliamentary coalition of center-right parties dominated by UDF and DSB)
    Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Sergei STANISHEV]
    Bulgaria of the Citizens [Meglena KUNEVA]
    Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria or GERB [Boyko BORISOV]
    Coalition for Bulgaria or CfB [Sergei STANISHEV] (coalition of parties dominated by BSP)
    Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria or DSB [Ivan KOSTOV]
    Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization or IMRO [Krasimir KARAKACHANOV]
    Movement for Rights and Freedoms or MRF [Lyutvi MESTAN]
    National Movement for Stability and Progress or NDSV [Hristina HRISTOVA] (formerly National Movement Simeon II or NMS2)
    Order, Law, and Justice or RZS [Yane YANEV]
    Union of Democratic Forces or UDF [Emil KABAIVANOV]
    United People's Party or ENP [Maria CAPONE]
    Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria or CITUB
    Podkrepa Labor Confederation
    other: numerous regional, ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas
    chief of mission: Ambassador Elena POPTODOROVA
    chancery: 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 387-0174
    FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973
    consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador Marcie B. RIES
    embassy: 16 Kozyak Street, Sofia 1408
    mailing address: American Embassy Sofia, US Department of State, 5740 Sofia Place, Washington, DC 20521-5740
    telephone: [359] (2) 937-5100
    FAX: [359] (2) 937-5320
    three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red; the pan-Slavic white-blue-red colors were modified by substituting a green band (representing freedom) for the blue
    note: the national emblem, formerly on the hoist side of the white stripe, has been removed
    name: "Mila Rodino" (Dear Homeland)

    lyrics/music: Tsvetan Tsvetkov RADOSLAVOV
    note: adopted 1964; the anthem was composed in 1885 by a student en route to fight in the Serbo-Bulgarian War

Economy ::Bulgaria

    Bulgaria, a former Communist country that entered the EU on 1 January 2007, averaged more than 6% annual growth from 2004 to 2008, driven by significant amounts of bank lending, consumption, and foreign direct investment. Successive governments have demonstrated a commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but the global downturn sharply reduced domestic demand, exports, capital inflows, and industrial production. GDP contracted by 5.5% in 2009, stagnated in 2010, despite a significant recovery in exports, grew 1.7% in 2011, and 1% in 2012. Despite having a favorable investment regime, including low, flat corporate income taxes, significant challenges remain. Corruption in public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime continue to hamper the country's investment climate and economic prospects.
    $105.5 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    $104.7 billion (2011 est.)
    $102.8 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $51.02 billion (2012 est.)
    0.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    1.8% (2011 est.)
    0.4% (2010 est.)
    $14,500 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    $14,300 (2011 est.)
    $13,700 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    22.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    22.9% of GDP (2011 est.)
    21.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 72.1%
    government consumption: 7.8%
    investment in fixed capital: 21.4%
    investment in inventories: 2.4%
    exports of goods and services: 66.6%
    imports of goods and services: -70.3%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 6.4%
    industry: 30.4%
    services: 63.2% (2012 est.)
    vegetables, fruits, tobacco, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets; livestock
    electricity, gas, water; food, beverages, tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel
    1.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    2.585 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    agriculture: 7.1%
    industry: 35.2%
    services: 57.7% (2009)
    11.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    9.6% (2011 est.)
    21.8% (2008)
    lowest 10%: 2%
    highest 10%: 35.2% (2007)
    45.3 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    26 (2001)
    revenues: $17.71 billion
    expenditures: $17.97 billion (2012 est.)
    34.7% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    -0.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    16.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    16.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
    defined by the EU's Maastricht Treaty as consolidated general government gross debt at nominal value, outstanding at the end of the year in the following categories of government liabilities: currency and deposits, securities other than shares excluding financial derivatives, and loans; general government sector comprises the subsectors: central government, state government, local government, and social security funds
    calendar year
    3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    4.2% (2011 est.)
    0.03% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    0.22% (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) has had no independent monetary policy since the introduction of the Currency Board regime in 1997; this is BNB's base interest rate
    9.72% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    10.63% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $15.51 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    $13.91 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $37.68 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    $34.46 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $37.14 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    $35.54 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $8.253 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    $7.276 billion (31 December 2010)
    $7.103 billion (31 December 2009)
    $542.8 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    $502.2 million (2011 est.)
    $26.82 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    $28.12 billion (2011 est.)
    clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels
    Germany 10.4%, Turkey 9.1%, Italy 8.7%, Romania 8.2%, Greece 7.3%, France 4% (2012)
    $31.5 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    $30.86 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; fuels, minerals, and raw materials
    Russia 20.9%, Germany 11.3%, Italy 6.7%, Romania 6.6%, Greece 6.1%, Turkey 4.6%, Spain 4.5% (2012)
    $20.5 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    $17.27 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $50.54 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    $47.32 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $52.99 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    $51.19 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.923 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    $1.823 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    leva (BGN) per US dollar -
    1.5221 (2012 est.)
    1.4065 (2011 est.)
    1.4774 (2010 est.)
    1.404 (2009)
    1.3171 (2008)

Energy ::Bulgaria

Communications ::Bulgaria

    2.356 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    10.475 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    general assessment: inherited an extensive but antiquated telecommunications network from the Soviet era; quality has improved with a modern digital trunk line now connecting switching centers in most of the regions; remaining areas are connected by digital microwave radio relay
    domestic: the Bulgaria Telecommunications Company's fixed-line monopoly terminated in 2005 in an effort to upgrade fixed-line services; mobile-cellular teledensity, fostered by multiple service providers, has reached 150 telephones per 100 persons
    international: country code - 359; submarine cable provides connectivity to Ukraine and Russia; a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system provides connectivity to Italy, Albania, and Macedonia; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intersputnik in the Atlantic Ocean region, 2 Intelsat in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions) (2011)
    4 national terrestrial TV stations with 1 state-owned and 3 privately owned; a vast array of TV stations are available from cable and satellite TV providers; state-owned national radio broadcasts over 3 networks; large number of private radio stations broadcasting, especially in urban areas (2010)
    976,277 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    3.395 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 63

Transportation ::Bulgaria

    68 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    total: 57
    over 3,047 m: 2
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 17
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
    under 914 m: 26 (2013)
    total: 11
    914 to 1,523 m: 2
    under 914 m:
    9 (2013)
    1 (2013)
    gas 2,887 km; oil 346 km; refined products 378 km (2013)
    total: 4,152 km
    country comparison to the world: 40
    standard gauge: 4,072 km 1.435-m gauge (2,863 km electrified)
    narrow gauge: 80 km 0.760-m gauge (2011)
    total: 19,512 km
    country comparison to the world: 109
    paved: 19,235 km (includes 458 km of expressways)
    unpaved: 277 km
    note: does not include Category IV local roads (2011)
    470 km (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 84
    total: 22
    country comparison to the world: 93
    by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 8, liquefied gas 2, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 2
    foreign-owned: 14 (Germany 12, Russia 2)
    registered in other countries: 30 (Belize 1, Comoros 4, Georgia 1, Malta 8, Moldova 1, Panama 6, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Burgas, Varna (Black Sea)

Military ::Bulgaria

Transnational Issues ::Bulgaria

    major European transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and, to a lesser degree, South American cocaine for the European market; limited producer of precursor chemicals; vulnerable to money laundering because of corruption, organized crime; some money laundering of drug-related proceeds through financial institutions (2008)