People's Republic of Bulgaria
The People's Republic of Bulgaria was the official name of Bulgaria, when it was a socialist republic. The People's Republic of Bulgaria existed from 1946 to 1990 and it was ruled by the Bulgarian Communist Party, which in turn ruled together with its coalition partner, the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union. Bulgaria was part of Comecon and a member of the Warsaw Pact and was allied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War; the Bulgarian resistance movement during World War II deposed the Kingdom of Bulgaria administration in the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944 which ended the country's alliance with the Axis powers and led to the People's Republic in 1946. The BCP modelled its policies after those of the Soviet Union, transforming the country over the course of a decade from an agrarian peasant society into an industrialized socialist society. In the mid 1950s and after the death of Stalin, conservative hardliners lost influence and a period of social liberalization and stability followed under Todor Zhivkov.
Varying degrees of conservative or liberal influence followed. After a new energy and transportation infrastructure was constructed, by 1960 manufacturing became the dominant sector of the economy and Bulgaria became a major exporter of household goods and on computer technologies, earning it the nickname of "Silicon Valley of the Eastern Bloc"; the country's high productivity levels and high scores on social development rankings made it a model for other socialist countries' administrative policies. In 1989, after a few years of liberal influence, political reforms were initiated and Todor Zhivkov, who had served as head of the party since 1954, was removed from office in a BCP congress. In 1990, under the leadership of Georgi Parvanov the BCP changed its name to the Bulgarian Socialist Party and adopted a centre-left political ideology in place of Marxism–Leninism. Following the BSP victory in the 1990 election, the first contested multi-party election since 1931, the name of the state was changed to the Republic of Bulgaria.
Geographically, the People's Republic of Bulgaria had the same borders as present-day Bulgaria and it bordered the Black Sea to the east. On 1 March 1941, the Kingdom of Bulgaria signed the Tripartite Pact, became a member of the Axis Powers; as a result of the German invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece in April, Bulgaria came to occupy large parts of these countries. In 1942, the Fatherland Front was formed from a mixture of Communists and Liberals. In 1944, with the entry of the Red Army in Romania, the Kingdom of Bulgaria changed its alliance and declared neutrality. On 5 September, the Soviet Union declared war on the kingdom and three days the Red Army entered north-eastern Bulgaria, prompting the government to declare support in order to minimise military conflict. On 9 September, communist partisans launched a coup d'état which de facto ended the rule of the Bulgarian monarchy and its administration, after which a new government assumed power led by the Fatherland Front, which itself was led by the Bulgarian Communist Party.
After taking power, the FF formed a coalition under the former ruler Kimon Georgiev, including the Social Democrats and the Agrarians. Under the terms of the peace settlement, Bulgaria was allowed to keep Southern Dobruja, but formally renounced all claims to Greek and Yugoslav territory. 150,000 Bulgarians settled during the occupation were expelled from Western Thrace. The Communists deliberately took a minor role in the new government at first, while the Soviet representatives held the real power. A Communist-controlled People's Militia was set up, which harassed and intimidated non-Communist parties. On 1 February 1945, Regent Prince Kiril, former Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, hundreds of other officials of the kingdom were arrested on charges of war crimes. By June and the other Regents, twenty-two former ministers, many others had been executed; the new government began to arrest Nazi collaborators. As the war came to a halt, the government expanded its campaign of political revolution to attack economic elites in banking and private business.
This strengthened when it became apparent that the United States and United Kingdom had little interest in Bulgaria. In November 1945, Communist Party leader Georgi Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria after 22 years in exile, he made a truculent speech. Elections held a few weeks resulted in a large majority for the Fatherland Front. In September 1946, the monarchy was abolished by plebiscite, which resulted in 95.6 percent voting in favour of a republic, young Tsar Simeon II was sent into exile. The Communists took power, Bulgaria was declared a People's Republic. Vasil Kolarov, the number-three man in the party, became President. Over the next year, the Communists consolidated their hold on power. Elections for a constituent assembly in October 1946 gave the Communists a majority. A month Dimitrov became prime minister; the Agrarians refused to co-operate with the authorities, in June 1947 their leader Nikola Petkov was arrested. Despite strong international protests he was executed in September; this marked the establishment of a Communist establishment in Bulgaria.
In December 1947, the constituent assembly ratified a new constitution for the republic, referred to as the "Dimitrov Constitution". The constitution was drafted with the help of Soviet jurists using the 1936 Soviet Constitution as a model. By 1948, the remaining opposition parties were either dissolved.
Boyko Metodiev Borisov is a Bulgarian politician, serving as the 50th Prime Minister of Bulgaria since 4 May 2017. He had held the post of Prime Minister on two separate occasions, from 2009 until 2013 and from 2014 until January 2017, he was the Mayor of Sofia from 2005 to 2009. Borisov plays as a forward for the football club FC Vitosha Bistritsa. In 2013, he became the oldest player to play for a Bulgarian professional club when he appeared for Vitosha in the B Group, the second division of Bulgarian football. Borisov was born in 1959 in Bankya to Ministry of Internal Affairs official Metodi Borisov and elementary school teacher Veneta Borisova. In 1977, Borisov graduated from Bankya's high school with excellent marks. Between 1982 and 1990, he assumed different positions in the Ministry of Internal Affairs as a firefighter and as a professor at the Police Academy in Sofia; as a National Security Office member, Borisov took part in the protection of crops and haylofts during the name-changing campaign towards ethnic Turks in the 1980s.
From 1985 to 1990, Borisov was a lecturer at the Higher Institute for Police Officers Training and Scientific Research of the Ministry of Interior. Borisov quit the Ministry in 1990. In 1991, he founded a private security company, Ipon-1, guarded “Bulgaria's communist dictator Todor Zhivkov after he was pushed from power in 1989”, as well as for Simeon II. Borisov has been claiming participation in karate championships since 1978, serving as the coach of the Bulgarian national team and a referee of international matches, he said to United States President Barack Obama that he has a 7th dan black belt in karate, but his coach argued this being not true, claimed that Borisov has never been a karate competitor, but only an administrator of the team. He is the chairman of the Bulgarian Karate Federation. Borisov has been a coach for the Bulgarian national karate team for many years. Borisov is divorced, but for a number of years lived with Tsvetelina Borislavova, head of Bulgarian American Credit Bank.
Borisov has a daughter, from his former marriage to the physician Stela. Borisov has a sister, Krasimira Ivanova. Borisov's great-grandfather was executed in the wake of the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944. Boyko Borisov was the Chief Secretary of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior between 2001 and 2005, with the rank of General. During that period he is famous for getting the notorious mobster. In the 2005 parliamentary elections he was a parliamentary candidate of the National Movement Simeon II. In 2005 he resigned from that post, instead standing as a candidate in the 2005 mayoral election in Sofia, he was succeeded Stefan Sofiyanski. He was re-elected in the 2007 mayoral election. Borisov founded a new conservative political party, GERB in December 2006. GERB won the first Bulgarian European Parliament elections on 20 May 2007, despite a low poll attendance and turnout of 28.6%, which prompted Borisov to voice his wish for early parliamentary elections. Following a party congress in January 2010, Borisov became the official leader of GERB, thus replacing Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who had served under Borisov at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as a vice-mayor of Sofia.
Form more information on the cabinet, see First Borisov Government. Borisov's party GERB won the parliamentary election on 5 July 2009 by collecting 39.71% of the popular vote and 116 of the 240 seats in parliament. Since 27 July 2009 Borisov served as Prime Minister of Bulgaria in a GERB-dominated centre-right minority government with parliamentary support from three other parliamentary groups, including the nationalist party "Ataka", he invited several non-party affiliated experts to the government, most prominent among them Simeon Djankov, a former high-ranking World Bank official, Rosen Plevneliev, manager of a large German subsidiary in Bulgaria. Borisov's stated policies were aimed at curbing corruption in the public administration and building an adequate infrastructure. One of the main goals in this direction was the expansion of the national motorway network, of which Lyulin was the first motorway to be completed; the government has approved a strategy for the development of the energy sector until 2020, which includes the completion of gas interconnectors with Greece and Turkey and expanding renewable energy capacities.
The Borisov government stopped the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The acquisition of European funds has increased from 2.6% to 20%. Specialised police actions have tackled corruption in the administration and a number of high-profile members of the organised crime have been imprisoned, though there has been little improvement in the rule of law. At the same time the government has received criticism from other EU members due to the erosion of media freedom, falling attractiveness for investors and continuing mafia activities; these criticisms have been leveled against Deputy Prime Minister Tzvetan Tzvetanov, formally under investigation for wiretapping members of the government and parliament. During his court trial, his actions were found to be justified. Media leaks raised suspicions. According to France24, “Once in powe
GERB is a conservative, populist Bulgarian political party established on 13 March 2006. The initials of the party герб/gerb translate as "coat of arms" in Bulgarian, it is Bulgaria's second-largest party by membership. GERB is headed by Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov, former mayor of Sofia, former member of the National Movement Simeon II, former personal guard of Todor Zhivkov in the 90s of the last century, they were close friends. The establishment of the party followed the creation of a non-profit organization with the acronym GERB — Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, earlier the same year; the name of the party is spelled in all caps nonetheless. In early January 2007, early February 2007, the party came second in public polls on party support with around 14%, trailing the Bulgarian Socialist Party which had around 25%, its stated priorities are fighting crime and corruption, preserving family as the cornerstone of society and achieving energy independence. GERB won the 2009 European Parliament election in Bulgaria with 24.36% of the vote.
The party elected five MEPs and joined the European People's Party-European Democrats Group in the European Parliament. On June 6, 2007 GERB applied formally to join as a member-party the European People's Party and joined EPP on February 7, 2008. GERB won the 2009 parliamentary elections, held a month after the European ballot, winning 39.7% of the popular vote and 117 seats. After the elections, a new government was formed, led by Borisov with GERB members and with 5 independent ministers around Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Djankov; the reformist wing was responsible for some of the most significant legislative victories, including a Constitutional reform to ban tax increases. On 20 February 2013, the government resigned after nationwide protests demanding it to step down. GERB's candidates for the 2011 presidential election, Rosen Plevneliev and Margarita Popova, won the elections on the second ballot with 52.6% of the popular vote. GERB won the 2013 parliamentary elections with 97 seats; this made GERB the first governing party to be re-elected in the history of the post-communist Bulgaria.
However, with lack of support from the other parties and designated to form a new government, Borisov refused the offer and so GERB went in the opposition. However, due to the collapse of the coalition government in 2014, GERB backed into power after the snap elections. Official website Official website GERB's page on the European People's Party website
Movement for Rights and Freedoms
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms is a centrist political party in Bulgaria. It is a member of the Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, is a liberal party, whose main goal are the interests of the Muslims Turks. However, its principal electorate are the Pomaks and the party relies on the biggest share of all the Romani voters 9 out of its 36 deputies are not of Muslim background. At the 2014 parliamentary elections, 3% of Bulgarian voters, 83% of Turkish voters and 44% of Romani voters voted for the movement, a record high share of Romani voters; the party won in Christian Romani villages and thus was alleged for trading with their vote. The party was established in 1990, but the official website of the party traces the roots of the foundation to 1983 when an illegal terrorist group Turkish National Freedom Movement was established, which committed over 50 fire-raisings, bomb attempts and murders on regular citizens until 1989 as a rebellion against the assimilation policies of Todor Zhivkov's communist regime.
After he had been set free out of the jail in 1989, Ahmed Dogan, a former member of the Bulgarian communist secret service, established the party. He headed it from its official establishment on 4 January 1990 until 19 January 2013, when a disgruntled Bulgarian Turk attacked him with a gas pistol. Ahmed Dogan has been recorded promoting changes of the international boundaries in accordance with the ethnic borders, clarifying that there are either peaceful and political means for this or military and aggressive; the ethnic or religious minority parties are not allowed according to Article 11, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution of Bulgaria, but the Constitutional Court denied to ban the party in 1992. On 19 January 2013, Lyutfi Mestan was elected as the second chairman of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Mestan was removed from power by the insistence of the founder Dogan because he had declared support for Turkey for the shot Russian airplane Erdoğan blacklisted Ahmed Dogan banning him from entering Turkey.
Mestan formed his own party, named Democrats for Responsibility and Tolerance. Starting in 1990 as the first political party of the Muslim minority participating in the parliamentary elections, in the first elections in 1990 after the end of the communist regime, which the Muslims had boycotted, the party won 6.0% of the popular vote and 24 out of 400 seats and became the fourth largest party in the parliament. In the parliamentary elections in 1991 it won 7.6% of the vote and remained with 24 seats in а 240-seater parliament. In the elections in 1994 it won 5.4% of the vote and its seats decreased to 15. In the elections in 1997 it won 19 out of 240 seats. From 2001 to 2009, the party was part of the government, first in a coalition with the National Movement Simeon II party and with the Bulgarian Socialist Party; the party had ministers in the Sakskoburggotski Government, Stanishev Government and Oresharski Government. It won in the elections in 21 out of 240 seats. Subsequently, for the first time the party joined a coalition government, led by the winner of the elections.
Under the control of the party were two out of the 17 Bulgarian ministries – the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and the Minister without portfolio, the other 15 remained under the control of senior coalition partner NDSV. At the 2005 elections it increased to 12.8% of vote and 34 out of 240 seats and was kept in power as a part of the coalition led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and National Movement Simeon II party. The ministries under the control of the Movement of Rights and Freedoms increased to three out of 18. At the 2009 elections it increased to 37 out of 240 seats. Following the election, the government was occupied by the decisive winner, the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms was еxcluded from the government and remained in opposition after having been part of coalition governments for the two consecutive preceding terms between 2001 and 2009. At the 2009 European Parliament elections the party won 14.1% of the vote and three MEPs out of Bulgaria's total representation of 18.
Two of the MEPs are ethnic Turks and one is ethnic Bulgarian. In the Bulgarian parliamentary election in 2013, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms decreased to 11.3% of the vote. The DPS won the elections abroad with 41.3% and the most polling stations and voters in a foreign country were in Turkey. The DPS won four MEPs in the 2014 European Parliament elections. On 8 October 1991, ninety-three members of Bulgaria's National Assembly — all of them affiliated with the former Communist Party — asked the constitutional court to declare the DPS unconstitutional citing article 11.4 of the constitution which explicitly bans political parties "formed on ethnic and religious basis". On 21 April 1992, the court rejected the petition and affirmed the constitutionality of the DPS. Though the DPS has been a part of Bulgarian political life since some Bulgarian nationalists the far-right National Union Attack, continue to assert that it is anti-constitutional because it consists of ethnic Turks. However, the statute of the DPS states quite that it "is an independent public and political organization, founded with the purpose of contributing to the
Municipalities of Bulgaria
The 28 provinces of Bulgaria are divided into 265 municipalities. Municipalities comprise multiple towns and settlements and are governed by a mayor, elected by popular majority vote for a four-year term, a municipal council, elected using proportional representation for a four-year term; the creation of new municipalities requires that they must be created in a territory with a population of at least 6,000 and created around a designated settlement. They must be named after the settlement that serves as the territory's administrative center, among other criteria; the council of a municipality is further permitted to create admininistrative subdivisions: mayoralties and wards or quarters. Mayoralties are overseen by elected mayors and comprises one or more villages or towns. Settlements are overseen by a manager appointed by the mayor of a municipality and thus have fewer responsibilities and less power than a mayoralty. Wards are overseen by elected mayors and must include a population of at least 25,000.
Like municipalities themselves and wards are designated administrative-territorial units, as they have their own elected officials. Settlements, are designated territorial units since their leaders are appointed. Bansko Municipality Belitsa Municipality Blagoevgrad Municipality Garmen Municipality Gotse Delchev Municipality Hadzhidimovo Municipality Kresna Municipality Petrich Municipality Razlog Municipality Sandanski Municipality Satovcha Municipality Simitli Municipality Strumyani Municipality Yakoruda Municipality Aytos Municipality Burgas Municipality Kameno Municipality Karnobat Municipality Malko Tarnovo Municipality Nesebar Municipality Pomorie Municipality Primorsko Municipality Ruen Municipality Sozopol Municipality Sredets Municipality Sungurlare Municipality Tsarevo Municipality Balchik Municipality Dobrich Municipality Dobrichka Municipality General Toshevo Municipality Kavarna Municipality Krushari Municipality Shabla Municipality Tervel Municipality ) Dryanovo Municipality Gabrovo Municipality Sevlievo Municipality Tryavna Municipality Dimitrovgrad Municipality Harmanli Municipality Haskovo Municipality Ivaylovgrad Municipality Lyubimets Municipality Madzharovo Municipality Mineralni Bani Municipality Simeonovgrad Municipality Stambolovo Municipality Svilengrad Municipality Topolovgrad Municipality Ardino Municipality Chernoochene Municipality Dzhebel Municipality Kardzhali Municipality Kirkovo Municipality Krumovgrad Municipality Momchilgrad Municipality Boboshevo Municipality Bobov Dol Municipality Dupnitsa Municipality Kocherinovo Municipality Kyustendil Municipality Nevestino Municipality Rila Municipality Sapareva Banya Municipality Treklyano Municipality Apriltsi Municipality Letnitsa Municipality Lovech Municipality Lukovit Municipality Teteven Municipality Troyan Municipality Ugarchin Municipality Yablanitsa Municipality Berkovitsa Municipality Boychinovtsi Municipality Brusartsi Municipality Chiprovtsi Municipality Georgi Damyanovo Municipality Lom Municipality Medkovets Municipality Montana Municipality Valchedram Municipality Varshets Municipality Yakimovo Municipality Batak Municipality Belovo Municipality Bratsigovo Municipality Lesichovo Municipality Panagyurishte Municipality Pazardzhik Municipality Peshtera Municipality Rakitovo Municipality Sarnitsa Municipality Septemvri Municipality Strelcha Municipality Velingrad Municipality Brezn
Bulgarian Communist Party
The Bulgarian Communist Party was the Communist and Marxist-Leninist ruling party of the People's Republic of Bulgaria from 1946 until 1989 when the country ceased to be a socialist state. The Bulgarian Communist Party had dominated the Fatherland Front coalition that took power in 1944, late in World War II, after it led a coup against Bulgaria's tsarist regime in conjunction with the Red Army's crossing the border, it controlled the Bulgarian People's Army. The BCP was organized on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle introduced by Russian Marxist scholar Vladimir Lenin which entails democratic and open discussion on policy on the condition of unity in upholding the agreed upon policies; the highest body of the BCP was the Party Congress, convened every fifth year. When the Party Congress was not in session, the Central Committee was the highest body, but since the body meets only once a year, most duties and responsibilities are vested in the Politburo and its Standing Committee.
The party's leader has held the offices of General Secretary. BCP was committed to Marxism-Leninism, an ideology consisted of the writings of the German philosopher Karl Marx and Lenin, introduced in 1929 by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in which the industries in Bulgaria were nationalized and a planned economy was implemented. In the 1960s, the BCP announced some economic reforms, which allowed the free sale of production that exceeded planned amounts. After Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev took power in 1985, the BCP underwent political and economic liberalization which promptly liquidated the party and dissolved the Bulgarian People's Republic completely. After the end of the BCP, the party was renamed to the Bulgarian Socialist Party in 1990, which retained connections with Russia; the party's origins lay in the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party, founded in 1903 after a split in the 10th Congress of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party. The party's founding leader was Dimitar Blagoev, the driving force behind the formation of the BSDWP in 1894.
It comprised most of the hardline Marxists in the Social Democratic Workers' Party. The party was sympathetic to the October Revolution in Russia. Under Blagoev's leadership, the party applied to join the Communist International upon its founding in 1919. Upon joining the Comintern the party was reorganised as the Communist Party of Bulgaria. Georgi Dimitrov was a member of the party's Central Committee from its inception in 1919 until his death in 1949 serving as Bulgaria's leader from 1946. In 1938 the party took the former party's name. In 1948 the BWP reunited with the Social Democrats to become the Bulgarian Communist Party once again. Following Dimitrov's sudden death, the party was led by Valko Chervenkov, a Stalinist who oversaw a number of party purges that met with Moscow's approval; the party joined the Cominform at its inception in 1948 and conducted purges against suspected "Titoites" following the expulsion of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia from the alliance. Suspected counter-revolutionaries were imprisoned.
In March 1954, one year after Joseph Stalin's death, Chervenkov was deposed. From 1954 until 1989 the party was led by Todor Zhivkov, supportive of the Soviet Union and remained close to its leadership after Nikita Khrushchev was deposed by Leonid Brezhnev, his rule led to an increase in living standards. The demands for democratic reform which swept Eastern Europe in 1989 led Zhivkov to resign, he was succeeded by a more liberal Communist, Petar Mladenov. However, events soon overtook him, on December 11 Mladenov announced the party was giving up its guaranteed right to rule. For all intents and purposes, this was the end of Communist rule in Bulgaria, though it would be another month before the provision in the constitution enshrining the party's "leading role" was deleted; the party moved in a more moderate direction, by the spring of 1990 was no longer a Marxist-Leninist party. That April, the party changed its name to the Bulgarian Socialist Party. A number of hardline Communists established several splinter parties with a small number of members.
One of these parties, named Communist Party of Bulgaria, is led by Aleksandar Paunov. The leaders of the Bulgarian Communist Party were: Dimitar Blagoev Vasil Kolarov Georgi Dimitrov Valko Chervenkov Todor Zhivkov Petar Mladenov Alexander Lilov Chairman Buzludzha Eastern Bloc politics History of Bulgaria
Foreign relations of Bulgaria
Foreign relations of the Republic of Bulgaria are the Bulgarian government's external relations with the outside world. Bulgaria has good foreign relations with its neighbors and has proved to be a constructive force in the region under socialist and democratic governments alike. Promoting regional stability, Bulgaria hosted a Southeast European Foreign Ministers meeting in July 1996, an OSCE conference on Black Sea cooperation in November 1995. Bulgaria participated in the 1996 South Balkan Defense Ministerial in Albania and is active in the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative. Bulgaria's main focus is the Euro-Atlantic integration since 1997 and the efforts of the governments since led to admission to NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007, its main allies are Greece and Romania, while it maintains good relations with Serbia and the rest of the Balkans. Republic of Macedonia is important state in Bulgarian foreign and internal policy due to the historical and cultural connections.
With their close historical and economic ties, Bulgaria seeks a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia, on which it is dependent for energy supplies. Sporadic negotiations are underway among Greece and Russia for construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline to transport Caspian Sea oil from the Black Sea port of Burgas to Alexandroupoli on the northern Aegean coast. Bulgaria's EU Association Agreement came into effect in 1994, Bulgaria formally applied for full EU membership in December 1995. During the 1999 EU summit in Helsinki, the country was invited to start membership talks with the Union. On January 1, 2007 Bulgaria became a member of the European Union. In 1996, Bulgaria acceded to the Wassenaar Arrangement controlling exports of weapons and sensitive technology to countries of concern and was admitted to the World Trade Organization. Bulgaria is a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. After a period of equivocation under a socialist government, in March 1997 a UDF-led caretaker cabinet applied for full NATO membership, which became a reality in April 2004.
Bulgaria and the United States signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement in 2006 providing for military bases and training camps of the U. S. Army in Bulgaria, as part of the Pentagon's restructuring plan; the HIV trial in Libya resulted in the release of Bulgarian nurses imprisoned by Muammar Gaddafi's government in Libya. French President Nicolas Sarkozy secured the release in exchange for several business deals. In November 2010, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov formally announced his team proposes to close seven embassies as part of a plan for restructuring and austerity measures. Thus, in 2011, Bulgaria will most shut down its diplomatic missions in Sudan, Zimbabwe, Thailand and Tunisia; the choice is based on a scrutinizing financial analysis and on the necessity to optimize the diplomatic corps, the Ministry says. The staff of the Bulgarian diplomatic corps will be reduced by 15 people in total. In June 2010, media reports claimed that Bulgaria considers closing a total of 30 of its diplomatic missions abroad.
Bulgaria has 83 embassies, 6 permanent representations, 20 consular offices, 2 diplomatic bureaus. The proposed closures have been backed by PM Borisov who described some of Bulgaria's embassies as useless. Bulgaria joined NATO's Partnership for Peace in 1994 and applied for NATO membership in 1997. During the November 2002 Prague Summit Bulgaria was one of seven former socialist countries invited to join the Alliance. Bulgaria became a member of NATO in March 2004; the country is working toward NATO compatibility in communications and training, has established a Peacekeeping Training Center. In 2003, Bulgaria was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, proving to be one of 3 closest U. S. allies during the Iraqi Crisis, together with the Spain. Bulgaria presided the OSCE in 2004. Major European transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and, to a lesser degree, South American cocaine for the European market. List of diplomatic missions in Bulgaria List of diplomatic missions of Bulgaria List of joint US-Bulgarian military bases Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs