Bulgaria as a member of the EU
As a member of the EU, Bulgaria became actively involved in the preparation of Europe’s agenda and in the adoption and implementation of the political, economic, social and foreign policy priorities of the Union.
In this field, Bulgaria has the following key priorities:
- Active involvement in the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Bulgaria participates fully in formulating of the foreign policy of the EU and in the everyday decision-making process in this field. Bulgaria’s contribution to the CFSP predominantly focuses on: the enlargement of the European Union and of the European zone of security and stability; the Black Sea Synergy and the newly established Eastern Partnership; energy security; enhancing global security and stability; participation in the EU-led operations and missions.
Energy policy. Bulgaria supports the principal objectives of the EU Energy Policy: security of supply, competitiveness and sustainable development, in conjunction with environmental protection.
Building EU Common Space of Justice, Freedom and Security to enhance freedom of movement of individuals and the security in Europe; implementation of a Common Asylum System, further development of the EU Policy Plan on Legal Migration, external border management through introduction of the second generation of the Schengen Information System (SIS II); accelerated setting up of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Co-operation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex).• Implementation of the Lisbon Strategy. The first Bulgarian National Reform Programme covered the 2007-2009 period, and built on the policies and measures outlined in the country’s pre-accession Economic Programme for the 2005-2008 period.
Further enlargement of the EU. As a country of South-Eastern Europe and a new Member State, Bulgaria has a strategic interest in the continued enlargement of the EU towards the countries in the region, provided that they carry out the required reforms and not before they meet fully the membership criteria.
In this context, there is a substantial amount of work ahead for this country to help us to cope with the tasks arising from the medium term membership as follows:
Joining the Schengen area. Bulgaria is implementing, on a priority basis, the measures under the National Action Plan for the Adoption of the Schengen Acquis, as well as of the Strategy and Action Plan on Integrated Border Management.
Adoption of the common currency, the Euro. A Convergence Programme of the Republic of Bulgaria for 2006-2009 by the Ministry of Finance builds on the Pre-accession Economic Programme.
Chronology of the relations:
August 8, 1988 - Diplomatic relations established between Bulgaria and the European Economic Community.
May 8, 1990 - Bulgaria and the European Economic Community signed the Convention on Trade, Business and Economic Relations.
December 22, 1990 - The Bulgarian Grand National Assembly passed a resolution expressing the desire of the Republic of Bulgaria to become a full member of the European Community. The signing of an Europe Agreement with the European Community was regarded as a step towards this ultimate goal.
October 1, 1991 - The European Council decided to open preliminary talks with Bulgaria on signing a Europe Agreement.
December 17 – 20, 1991- A delegation of the European Community visited Bulgaria for preliminary talks on the holding of further association negotiations.
March 20, 1992 - The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a decision on the establishment of an Interdepartmental Commission on the Association of the Republic of Bulgaria to the European Community and appointed Ilko Eshkenazi, then Deputy Prime Minister, head of the Commission.
March 8, 1993 - The Europe Agreement for Bulgaria and the Provisional Agreement on Trade and Related Matters are signed. The Europe Agreement provided a framework for development of a profound political dialogue and for establishment of a free trade zone covering the trade between Bulgaria and the European Community.
April 14 – 15, 1993 - The political dialogue between Bulgaria and EU in the framework of the association process was started by the consultations of Bulgarian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Lyuben Berov with the President of the European Council and Minister of Foreign Relations of Denmark, Nils Helveg Petersen, and Foreign Relations Commissioner of the European Communities Hans van den Bruk.
April 15, 1993 - The Bulgarian National Assembly ratified the texts of the Europe Agreement and the Provisional Agreement on Trade and Related Matters.
October 27, 1993 - The European Parliament ratified the Europe Agreement for Bulgaria.
April 14, 1994 - The Government of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a declaration confirming the willingness of the country to become a member of the European Union.
February 1, 1995 - The Europe Agreement for Bulgaria entered into force.
December 1995 - The Bulgarian Government adopted a decision to apply for EU membership.
December 14, 1995 - The Bulgarian National Assembly passed a resolution for official application of Bulgaria for EU membership.
December 15 – 16, 1995 - The third meeting of heads of state and government during the European Council in Madrid was held. Javier Solana was given the application of the Republic of Bulgaria for EU membership. The European Council asked the European Commission to prepare an opinion on the membership applications of the associated countries.
July 16, 1997 - The opinion on Bulgaria’s application for membership was published in Agenda 2000. The Republic of Bulgaria was described as a candidate country, which was not sufficiently prepared to start accession negotiations. The European Commission adopted the Accession Partnership programme.
December 12 – 13, 1997 - The European Council in Luxemburg decided to start accession negotiations with Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Cyprus. In addition, the Council decided to accelerate the preparation for negotiations with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Romania by starting a screening of legislation.
March 23, 1998 – The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a National Strategy on Bulgaria’s Accession to EU.
April 27, 1998 – The multilateral screening of the legislation of Bulgaria has started.
May 1998 – The Bulgarian Government adopted National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis.
November 4, 1998 – The European Commission published the first regular reports on the 1998 progress of the candidate countries towards membership.
March 10, 1999 – The Council of Ministers of Bulgaria set up the Council of European Integration and working groups for coordination of the accession process.
May 1999 – An updated version of the National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis was prepared.
October 13, 1999 – The second European Commission regular reports on candidate countries’ progress were published.
November 29, 1999 – Memorandum on decommissioning Kozloduy NPP units was signed with EC.
December 10, 1999 – The European Council in Helsinki decided to start negotiations with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania and Malta.
December 1999 – The Council of Ministers of EU decided to update the Accession Partnership for Bulgaria.
January 2000 – The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria appointed the Chief Negotiator of Bulgaria, the core team for negotiations and set up work groups according to negotiations’ chapters.
February 15, 2000 – The first Intergovernmental Conference on Bulgaria’s accession has launched the negotiations for EU membership.
March 2000 – A Standing Committee “Council for European Affairs” was set up within the Bulgarian Parliament.
March 28, 2000 – The first work meeting at deputy level was held. Bulgaria presented negotiations’ positions on 8 chapters.
December 1, 2000 – The Council of Ministers on Justice and Home Affairs decided to remove Bulgaria from the negative Schengen visa list.
December 7 - 9, 2000 – The Nice European Council was held with the participation of the Heads of States and governments of the candidate countries. A formal decision for EU enlargement and the necessary institutional reforms was made.
October 9, 2002 – The Commission’s regular reports were published, recommending the accession of 10 new Member States. Bulgaria was recognized as a “functioning market economy”. The European Commission expressed its support for Bulgaria’s accession to the EU in 2007.
October 24 - 25, 2002 – The European Council in Brussels requests the Commission and the Council to prepare a “package” for Bulgaria and Romania to be presented at the Copenhagen meeting of the Heads of State in December 2002. The “package” should contain a detailed “roadmap” for accession of both countries and increased pre-accession assistance.
By the end of 2002 – Bulgaria opened all negotiations chapters.
December 2002 – The European Council in Copenhagen expressed its supports for Bulgaria and Romania in their efforts to achieve the objective of membership in 2007 and adopted roadmaps for both countries.
June 19 - 20, 2003 – The European Council in Thessaloniki supported Bulgaria in its efforts to achieve the objective of concluding the negotiations in 2004 and to become a member in 2007.
December 2003 – The European Council in Brussels states: “Welcoming Bulgaria and Romania in January 2007 as members of the Union, if they are ready, is the common objective of the Union of 25..... Bulgaria and Romania should continue energetically their preparations and make further progress on the ground, so that the accession negotiations can be brought to a successful conclusion in 2004 on the basis of own merits, and the Accession Treaty can be signed as soon as possible in 2005." ..
June 15, 2004 – Bulgaria provisionally closed the negotiations with the EU on all 31 chapters of the acquis communautaire.
December 17, 2004 - The European Council confirmed the completion of the accession negotiations with Bulgaria saying it looked forward to welcoming it as a member from January 2007.
April 13, 2005 - The European Parliament approved the signing of the Treaty of Accession. The report on Bulgaria passed by 534 votes in favour, 88 against and 69 abstentions.
April 25, 2005 – The Treaty of Accession was signed in Luxembourg.
May 11, 2005 – The Bulgarian Parliament ratified EU Accession Treaty.
January 1, 2007 - Bulgaria acquired officially the status of full member of the EU.