Located in the southeast part of the Balkans, Bulgaria has a diverse topography. The north of the country is dominated by the vast lowlands of the Danube Plain with the river Danube defining the border with neighbouring Romania. The south of the country, by contrast, is dominated by highlands and elevated plains while, in the east, the Black Sea coast attracts tourists all year round.
The most important sectors of Bulgaria’s economy in 2014 were industry (23.5 %), wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (21.3 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (13.2 %).
Bulgaria’s main export partners are Germany, Turkey and Italy while its main import partners are Russia, Germany and Italy.
Geographical size: 110 370 km²
Population: 7 202 198 (2015)
Population as % of total EU population: 1.4 % (2015)
Gross domestic product (GDP): € 42.011 billion (2014)
Official EU language(s): Bulgarian
Political system: parliamentary republic
EU member state since: 1 January 2007
Seats in the European Parliament: 17
Currency: Bulgarian lev BGN
Schengen area member? No, Bulgaria is not a member of the Schengen Area.
Presidency of the Council: Bulgaria will hold the revolving presidency of the Council of the EU for the first time in 2018.
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Bulgarian government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Bulgarian presidencies:
More on the current presidency of the Council of the EU.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
Bulgaria has 14 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
Bulgaria has 12 representatives on the Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Bulgaria also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Bulgaria's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole.
Breakdown of Bulgaria’s finances with the EU in 2014:
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
The money paid into the EU budget by Bulgaria helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Bulgaria benefits from EU funding.