The date 10 November 1989 marked the beginning of the democratic changes in Bulgaria. A new Constitution was adopted (1991), the multy-party political system was restored, economic reform, privatisation and restitution of the land and real estate expropriated after 1947 started. A new political force emerged - the Union of Democratic Forces, which won the parliamentary elections in 1991. In 1990 D-r Zhelyu Zhelev became the first democratically elected President of Bulgaria.
Bulgaria joined the World Trade Organization in 1996. In July 1998, Bulgaria became a full member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA).
The key priorities in Bulgaria's foreign policy became the membership in the European Union and NATO. As a result of the country's considerable progress towards meeting the criteria for EU membership, Bulgaria received on 10 December 1999 the invitation to start the pre-accession negotiations. The negotiations started in Brussels on 15 February 2000. On 1 December 2000, the Council of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs of the European Union decided to remove Bulgaria from the negative visa list and to allow its citizens to travel freely in the countries of the EU.
On April 6th, 2001 Simeon Saxe Coburg Gotha in a public address declared his return to the political scene. The National Movement Simeon the Second (NMSS) was founded. In June 2001, in a coalition with two other parties, NMSS won the elections for the 39-th National Assembly. The Mouvement acquired 120 seats in the National Assembly and Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was appointed Prime Minister. The key priorities of the Government are stable macroeconomic situation, rapid economic growth and employment.
Bulgaria in 2002-2003 served a 2-year term as a non-permanent member on the UN Security Council. Bulgaria has taken part in peace-keeping operations in Kambodge, Bosna and Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Bulgaria officially became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on March 29, 2004 after depositing its instruments of treaty ratification in Washington, DC.
Bulgaria has completed its EU accession negotiations at the end of 2004 and signed the Accession Agreement on 25 April 2005.
The full membership in the EU starts on 1 January 2007.