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Bulgaria

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REFERENCES

Commission Opinion [COM(97) 2008 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(98) 707 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(1999) 501 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2000) 701 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final - SEC(2001) 1744 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final - SEC(2002) 1400 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2003) 676 final - SEC(2003) 1210 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report COM(2004) 657 final - SEC(2004) 1199 - not published in the Official Journal]
Commission Report [COM(2005) 534 final - SEC (2005) 1352 - Not published in the Official Journal]
Treaty of Accession to the European Union [Official Journal L 157 of 21.06.05]

SUMMARY

In its July 1997 Opinion, the European Commission considered that, in the context of its accession, Bulgaria would not encounter any major problems in the area of education, training and youth.
The November 1998 Report confirmed this initial evaluation and noted a certain amount of progress in the sector.
The October 1999 Report noted that some progress had been made in this area, particularly following the adoption of a new law on education levels and the curriculum which introduced European standards.
The November 2000 Report noted that Bulgaria had made considerable progress in this field, but that efforts needed to be made to continue to reform this sector, particularly with regard to the reform of the education and training system. Funding also needed to be increased significantly.
The November 2001 Report stated that further progress had been made in this area following Bulgaria's involvement in the second generation of the Leonardo, Socrates and Youth programmes. In order to improve the Bulgarian system of education and training, a group of experts had been set up by the ministry responsible. However, no progress had been made concerning the implementation of the Directive on the education of the children of migrant workers.
The October 2002 Report noted that further progress had been made. Bulgaria should, however, have improved its financial management of participation in Community programmes, strengthened coordination between the bodies concerned, effectively applied the Directive on the education of the children of migrant workers and fully reformed its vocational education and training system.
The November 2003Report stated that some progress had been made and that Bulgarian legislation generally complied with the acquis. Bulgaria should, however, persist in its efforts by means of increased investment in education, reform of the education and training system and effective application of the Directive on the education of the children of migrant workers.
The October 2004Report notes steady progress in this field and stresses that Bulgarian legislation is still in line with the acquis. However, Bulgaria's efforts should focus on building up its administrative capacity in the fields of education and training in order to be able to pursue reforms in line with economic needs.
The October 2005 Report notes that Bulgaria should be able to apply the Community acquis as soon as it joins the European Union. However, the operational capacity of the national bodies that run Community programmes should be improved further. Regarding the education of children and migrant workers, Bulgaria should complete its preparations in order to apply the acquis.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 25 April 2005 and accession took place on 1 January 2007.

COMMUNITY ACQUIS

The EC Treaty provides for:

  • the contribution of the Community to the development of quality education including a European dimension, supporting and supplementing the action of the Member States while fully respecting their cultural and linguistic diversity (Article 149, ex Article 126) for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems;
  • the implementation of a vocational training policy which supports and supplements the action of the Member States (Article 150, ex Article 127), with the aim of facilitating adaptation to industrial changes and integration into the labour market.

These provisions are mainly implemented via three main action programmes: Socrates I, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth for Europe, which were recently updated with the introduction of a new generation of programmes: Socrates II, Leonardo and Youth.

EVALUATION

In the context of the planned reorganisation of the Youth National Agency, any possible new structure should ensure a clear delimitation of functions and responsibilities between the Agency and the national authorities which monitor it.

Following the measures taken to improve the operational capacity of the national agencies responsible for the Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci programmes through appropriate financial support, the 2004 Report considers Bulgarian legislation to be satisfactory in this field. However, the 2005 Report insists on the need to strengthen the national agencies' implementation capacity in order to deal with the considerable increase in activity after accession.

In order to implement the European Directive on the education of the children of migrant workers, implementing legislation has been disseminated in the 28 regional education offices in the period since the Regular Report for 2003. Contact points have been set up within these institutions in order to facilitate the introduction of the Directive. The 2005 Report stresses that Bulgaria must complete its preparations in order to apply the acquis as soon as it joins the European Union.

Reform of the education and training system will make for a more effective response to the needs of the market economy. The 36 national education standards adopted in July 2004 aim to ensure transparency and comparability of qualifications with European standards. The creation of a new department for continuing education programmes will enable a link to be maintained between the traditional vocational training system and continuing training programmes. The act governing higher education has been amended in order to take on board the details of the Bologna process, and to improve the efficiency of the national evaluation and accreditation agency.

Bulgaria should nevertheless increase the resources earmarked for education and vocational training in view of the need for modernisation in these areas. The act of January 2002 improved the situation only partially by providing for financial assistance to employers who take on and train unemployed persons. Reforms should be geared to economic needs while enhancing cooperation between the training schemes of the various ministries. The report also recommends closer cooperation between schools and businesses.
Improved access to continuing vocational training and continuing education, as well as an outline of an overall strategy in these fields, are essential and should be regarded as a major priority.

Bulgaria has been making steady progress since the Commission's Opinion of 1997. Negotiations on this chapter have been closed for the time being (see the 2002 Report). Bulgaria has not asked for any transitional arrangements in this area.

This summary is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document.

 
Last updated: 19.01.2006
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