The transformation process in Bulgaria [Elektronische Ressource] / Georgi Stoilov
245 Pages
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The transformation process in Bulgaria [Elektronische Ressource] / Georgi Stoilov

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Learn all about the services we offer
245 Pages


THE TRANSFORMATION PROCESS IN BULGARIAGEORGI STOILOV1TABLE OF CONTENTSIntroduction 61. Main Tendencies in the Transition of the ex-Socialist Countries from East and Middle Europe 202. Transformation to Democracy in Bulgaria 292.1. The Election Law, the Political Regime and the Political Institutions 292.2. Formation and Development of the Political Partiesand Party System in Bulgaria 312.2.1. Dynamics and development of the parties and party systems 312.2.2. Formation of the Political Parties in Bulgaria 402.2.3. The Political Parties in Bulgarian Society 452.2.4. Formation of the Party System in Bulgaria 482.3. The Bulgarian media environment in evolution process 592.3.1.Institutional frame 592.3.2.The assumptions of change 612.3.2.1.Chronology of change. Pure message 632.3.2.2.Media matière of past 652.3.2.3.Advertising images of freedom 662.3.2.4.The failure of changes as media article 672.3.2.5.Positions unclearness 682.3.2.6.The fault start of the reform and its information indemnity 692.3.2.7.Configuration of daily newspapers 702.3.2.8.Vulgarisation of media language 712.3.3.The situation in the electronic media 712.3.4. Media and power. The power of media 732.4. Political Culture 752.5. Demographic Development of the Present Bulgarian Society 772.5.1. Natural development of the population 772.5.2.Natality of the population 782.5.3.Population mortality 7922.5.4.Average life expectancy 802.5.5.Population migration 802.5.6.



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Published 01 January 2004
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Introduction 6
1. Main Tendencies in the Transition of the ex-Socialist
Countries from East and Middle Europe 20
2. Transformation to Democracy in Bulgaria 29
2.1. The Election Law, the Political Regime and the Political Institutions 29
2.2. Formation and Development of the Political Parties
and Party System in Bulgaria 31
2.2.1. Dynamics and development of the parties and party systems 31
2.2.2. Formation of the Political Parties in Bulgaria 40
2.2.3. The Political Parties in Bulgarian Society 45
2.2.4. Formation of the Party System in Bulgaria 48
2.3. The Bulgarian media environment in evolution process 59
2.3.1.Institutional frame 59
2.3.2.The assumptions of change 61 of change. Pure message 63 matière of past 65 images of freedom 66 failure of changes as media article 67 unclearness 68 fault start of the reform and its information indemnity 69 of daily newspapers 70 of media language 71
2.3.3.The situation in the electronic media 71
2.3.4. Media and power. The power of media 73
2.4. Political Culture 75
2.5. Demographic Development of the Present Bulgarian Society 77
2.5.1. Natural development of the population 77
2.5.2.Natality of the population 78
2.5.3.Population mortality 79
22.5.4.Average life expectancy 80
2.5.5.Population migration 80
2.5.6.Directions for leading an effective demographic policy 82
2.6. The Change in Minority Policies: The Bulgarian Ethnic Model 83
2.7. Social and cultural aspects of Bulgaria’s integration into the EU structures 87
2.7.1.Social and cultural dimensions of Bulgarian transition 87
2.7.2.Cultural industries and cultural consumption 89
2.7.3.Normative basis and legislative preconditions 92
2.7.4.The effects of integration 94
2.7.5. The State of Bulgarian Culture 95
2.8.Summary 96
3. The Socio-Economic Transformation of Bulgaria 98
3.1.The Difficult Shift to Market Economy 98
3.1.1.The Shock Therapy: pro and con 98
3.1.2.The Slow Privatisation 99
3.1.3.The Foreign Debt 102
3.1.4.The New Start of Radical Changes 104
3.2.The Military Complex conditions at the moment of the change 112
3.2.1. Production capacity and specialization 112
3.2.2. Trade partners 116
3.2.3. Trade size 117
3.2.4.Summary 129
3.3.The Bulgarian – German economic relations after 1989 135
3.3.1.Trade interrelations between Bulgaria and Germany after 1989 136
3.3.2. Investments 137
3.4.The present State of the Socio-Economic Transformation 141
4. The Adaptation of Bulgaria’s Foreign and Security Policy 141
4.1.The Political Reforms 144
4.2.Changing Bulgaria in Changing World 144
4.3.From Dictatorship to Democracy 149
34.4. The Transformation Efforts
in Bulgaria and the Isolation from the West 151
4.4.1.The Prejudice 151
4.4.2.The Cut Roads to the West 154
4.5. The European Objectives of Bulgaria and the Armed Forces Reform:
the Impact on the Society 155
4.6. Change in Foreign and Security Policies: Bulgaria’s Perception of the
New International System: Forces, Patterns, and Dynamics of Change 161
4.6.1.Overcoming the Satellite Syndrome 168
4.6.2. On the perspectives of the SEEC-Russian relations 170
4.6.3.The Foreign Policy of Bulgarian Governments After 1989. 171
4.6.4. Southeastern Europe Nowadays and Bulgarian Foreign Policy 180
4.6.5.The New Foreign Policy Priorities 189
4.6.6. Summary 195
5. Bulgaria and EU and NATO 201
5.1.Bulgaria and the West. The Challenges of the Enlargement 201
5.2.The strategy of Bulgaria for membership in NATO and European Union 203
5.3.The attitude of society towards the strategy for NATO and EU integration 207
5.4.How can Bulgaria’s membership contribute to the development of NATO
and EU 210
5.5.The price of the membership 211
5.6. Summary 214
Appendix 1 216
Appendix 2 217
Appendix 3 219
5.7. New start in proving the European identity of Bulgaria 219
5.8. The future of the European Union: a view from Bulgaria.
What is new in the EU model after Nice? 227
5.9. Conclusions and Perspectives 233
Bibliography 235
List of Abbreviations 244
4The changes that started at the very end of eighties in the former socialist countries
concern the total life of society and it is practically imposible, even for a much bigger
science work, to give a full picture of the historically unique transition. That’s why I have
tried to choose the themes in order to make the most full revision of the most
characteristic features for Bulgaria during the last 11 years. Thus the separate chapters of
the work are unified naturally by the trend to analyse the important events and processes ,
∗characteristic for the country transformation.

∗ I wish to thank Prof. Dr. R. Seidelmann for the valuable advices and the kind support, which made my
research in Germany very productive and useful.
Bulgaria has a long way to go in its transition to the market economy. By January 2001
official data and estimates show that a lot has been done and still more has to be done in
the coming years. In 1999 the private sector has produced value added (VA) which is
57.1 % of gross domestic product (GDP) or 65.4 % of gross value added (GVA). Some
downward corrections reduce this percentage to 45 % of GDP. These and other numbers
are very encouraging as they show the steady change in the economy due to privatisation
and new emerging businesses. In 1999 the private sector has employed 61 % of all the
employees. At the same time according to the Global Competitiveness Report estimates
the economic growth of the country in 2000-2008 (measured by GDP per capita) will
average 1.68 % per year which amounts to 18 % more with respect to 1998 but is still just
89 % of 1989 record. According to other estimates in 2000 the gross domestic product
per capita ($) has been $ 1890, the average gross monthly wage $ 105, the unemployment
rate 17.8 %, and the inflation rate 12.1 %. These and other economic readings mean that
the country is behind all other Eastern European countries (EEC) candidates for accession
to the EU, with respect to the number of its population, and has registered second highest
rate of unemployment.
After a decade of painful efforts and several governments being in power, the country
will have its next elections in midsummer. The vote is coming under the following
tendencies and current issues:
• The years of transition that have passed (1990-2000) clearly show that the political
and institutional reforms have had been leading in front of the economic reform.
Usual as it may be, it turned over time into a very serious problem because a sluggish
economic reform proved to have a markedly negative impact on the speed and the
overall quality of the socio-economic change.
6• The political system and the institutions have had begun to gradually lose their
connection with the economic reform in that they had being reproducing themselves
for the sake of the democratic process with no due impact on the speed of the
economic development of the country.
• With respect to the abovementioned, political structures capsulation and bureaucracy
have had emerged to such an extent that they have had highly reduced the efficiency
of the institutions.
• The lack of democratic tradition and the shortages of qualified and well-trained
experts and devoted to their duties new politicians coupled with the lack of political
will and due deeds (measures) have had appeared as one of the reasons for the slow
run of the Bulgarian economic reform.
That doesn’t mean that the country has no good quality records. Bulgarian society has
had already achieved a broad consensus on its foreign policy orientation, it is having a
financial (under a Currency Board since mid 1997) and a political stability.
Recently Bulgaria is going through a relatively new socio-political situation: As it has
been acknowledged, the time of the restrictive stabilization policy has already gone but
the time of the new economic growth policy - though generally declared by the
government - has not yet come. This, in fact an awkward, transition moment and the
disappointment of the electorate makes foretelling this midsummer vote results very
Whatever the new Bulgarian government, two things are out of question: the European
orientation of the country and its decided efforts on the road to the market economy. The
future new accents in the economic policy and whether it will be totally liberal are not
clear now. What is clear is that the elections and the new cabinet will guarantee the
ongoing ethnic model, which proved to be a successful one, and its good bilateral
relations with the neighbouring countries.
By now the new economic growth policy has been generally discussed. It is expected it
will reckon on selected sectors growth. And this has already been criticized for giving up
the total liberal market policy, favouring some branches and ignoring most of the others.
The likelihood of following such an approach means that Bulgaria will highly depend on
its international economic relations with the European countries - including its
7neighbours, Russia and Ukraine - as well as with USA. These several countries prove to
be the main import/export partners of the country.
The changes of the international system have changed the role of the independent
countries. They were an important element in the bi-polar world. Under the new
conditions arises the question “neutral towards whom?”
Switzerland is a unique example of an independent country. If the level of independence
can be measured, Switzerland for sure is the most independent of the independent
countries. It is hard to estimate the role of the independent states in today’s system. The
bi-polar Yalta system doesn’t exist anymore. Now there is one leading military alliance -
NATO. And the role of UN has obviously diminished.
Today’s world is neither bi-polar, nor hegemonic (though some people may call the USA
a hegemon). It resembles most to a multi-polar system, though one of the poles - the
USA, has clearly a leading role. The role of the independent states has changed with the
change of the system. But maybe it is early to say that their role will diminish. Maybe the
new trends will lead to something totally different from anything that we know and we
will witness a system in which the change of some values will make the voice of the
independent countries sound louder. Obviously the new international order will not be
free of conflicts. It will generate opportunities for the independent countries to continue
to execute their important structural functions in the insecure world. The international
organizations will need the good turn of experts from countries to which they could
confide. Their experience and capacity to provide positive impulses in the international
relations should not be neglected.
1This study is about transition in Bulgaria and its status on the European scene . The
complexity and diversity of the matter puts, however, natural limitations to it. On the one
hand, providing a comprehensive picture of Bulgaria’s transition would require the input
of a large body of scientists from all walks of academic life. On the other, in order to
clearly see the ways and trends in Bulgaria’s reforms and to reduce the uncontrollable
number of variables in the process, one would need to focus on powerful generalisations
rather than on peculiarities. Research has now past from the domain of general trends and
models to more fragmented case studies featuring various aspects of the transition
process. Nevertheless, the study revisits the former in the less ambitious attempt to
provide the readers with better understanding of where Bulgaria stands today and the
environment it offers for safer political and economic integration with its immediate
counterparts. Such an approach would increase the unpredictability risks as to the
conclusions inferred, but would equip those interested in Bulgaria’s recent developments
with practical tools to evaluate and judge them.
The hub of this presentation rests in the claim that mass impoverishment of the
population underlies transition in Bulgaria. This imminent feature of the country’s reform
process shapes up its driving forces and potential for re-integration into a common
European space, the rules of which are set up by a complex but single and mighty player -
the European Union. The main body of the introduction provides a brief overview of the
economic and political dimensions of Communist Bulgaria that served as the starting
point of transition. It then sums up the transition debate in Bulgaria in the context of the
wider international transitology discourse
and suggests insights for better understanding the major factors determining the character
and pace of reforms in the country.

1 The present Dissertation arose on the threshold of the second millennium during working on a sponsored
by the Volkswagen Foundatien international project researching EU, WEU and NATO and the Slovak
Republic, Bulgaria and Ukraine 1999-2001
9Bulgaria’s Communist Legacy - A Difficult Starter for Transition
As in other authoritarian states of the region, transition in Bulgaria, i.e., the fall of
communism, started in 1989 to signify that the country had already found itself at the
cross-roads of a deepening political and economic crisis. At this point, researchers turn to
statistics to make their case. However, it would be either useless or misleading to
whatever reliable data on Bulgaria’s world standing before 1989. Little was ever know
about the economic situation of a country strictly controlled by a small political elite. The
membership of the Bulgarian Communist Party (about 10 per cent of the population)
provided the ‘economic’ basis of this leadership. The economy bankruptcy of the regime
was delayed by way of accumulating foreign debts kept in secret from the people. The
redistribution of wealth was directed to the central and local elites - notably those in hold
of government offices. Bad, underdeveloped communications and other distorted public
networks secured isolation and fragmentation of the popular discontent and rendered the
public opinion easily manipulated.
Since in the communist states there are no real market relations, it is hard to talk about
economy in its most classical sense. One of the saddest misunderstandings of past century
is the inertia of talking about central economy in free market terms. Being a by-product
of an ideological foundation, the former communist economies were heavily dependent
on this very foundation. Explaining such a phenomenon in free market categories made
things seem totally strange and unintelligible. Let us take for example the annual
obligatory gathering of the agricultural crops by secondary school and higher education
students which they were to do almost for free. Let us add to that the high numbers of
village population at that time. On top of it, we can also add the perfect geographical
conditions for farming. In real economic terms the intervention of the students would
have meant unfair competition, to say the least compared to the farmers who did not get
such aid. But in spite of that, foodstuffs were in great demand all over the country. It
suffice to recall the early morning queues for yoghurt, the Bulgarian mundane national
food, the lack of toilet paper except in the main central shops in the capital city, the mass
buy-outs of potatoes and cabbages in late autumn for storing them in the winter months.
This is just the beginning of a long list of awkward happenings. The economic word for