European Union




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Political system

Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. The head of government - the prime minister - holds the most powerful executive position. The head of state - the president - primarily holds representative powers as well as limited veto powers. Bulgaria is a unitary state with a centralised structure. It consists of 27 provinces and a metropolitan capital province (Sofia-Grad). The regional governors are appointed by the government.

Location on the EU map

Trade and economy

The most important sectors of Bulgaria’s economy in 2016 were industry (23.8 %), wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (22.2 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (14.1 %).

Intra-EU trade accounts for 68% of Bulgaria’s exports (Germany 14%, Italy 9% and Romania 9%), while outside the EU 8% go to Turkey and 2% to China.

In terms of imports, 67% come from EU countries (Germany 13%, Italy 8% and Romania 7%), while outside the EU 9% come from Russia and 6% from Turkey.

Bulgaria in the EU

European Parliament

There are 17 members of the European Parliament from Bulgaria. Find out who these MEPs are.

European Parliament office in Bulgaria

Council of the EU

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.

Presidency of the Council of the EU

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:

Jan-June 2018

Presidency of the Council of the EU

The following link is a redirection to an external websiteCurrent presidency of the Council of the EU

European Commission

The Commissioner nominated by Bulgaria to the European Commission is Mariya Gabriel, who is responsible for Digital Economy and Society.

The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".

Commission representation in Bulgaria

European Economic & Social Committee

Bulgaria has 12 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.

European Committee of the Regions

Bulgaria has 12 representatives on the European 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.

Permanent representation to 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.

Budgets and Funding

How much does Bulgaria contribute and receive?

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 2017:

  • Total EU spending in Bulgaria: € 1.896 billion
  • Total EU spending as % of Bulgaria’s gross national income (GNI): 3.76 %
  • Total Bulgarian contribution to the EU budget: € 0.379 billion
  • Bulgarian contribution to the EU budget as % of its GNI: 0.75 %

More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:

EU-funded projects in Bulgaria

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.

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