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   About candidate countries
European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Area 110,993 sq. km
Population approximately 8 million citizens
Capital Sofia
Borders To the north with Romania and the Danube river, to the east is the Black Sea, to the south are Turkey and Greece, and to the west - the FYR of Macedonia and Yugoslavia.
Life expectancy at birth total population: 71.2 years
Ethnic groups Bulgarian 83%, Turk 8.5%, Roma 2.6%, Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Gagauz, Circassian, others (1998)
Religions Bulgarian Orthodox 83.5%, Muslim 13%, Roman Catholic 1.5%, Uniate Catholic 0.2%, Jewish 0.8%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 1% (1998)
Languages Bulgarian, secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Country profile


The largest part of the population is urban. 85% of Bulgarians are Christian Orthodox, whereas 13% of the population profess Islam. The Bulgarian ethnic group represents 5.8% of the population. Other major ethnic groups are the Turks (9.7%) and Roma (3.4%). The Bulgarian landscape is highly diverse. The vast lowlands of the Danube plains dominate the North and in the south there are highlands and elevated plains. Along the Black Sea coast there are 130 km of excellent vast beaches. Bulgaria has a moderate continental climate with average annual temperatures of 10,5oC. There is a marked Mediterranean influence in the climate in the southern parts of the country. Bulgaria is one of the most ancient states on the European continent. It was founded in 681. Its rich historic heritage, coupled with beautiful natural scenery is most conducive to the development of tourism. The country is famous for its Tracian Gold Treasure. It also boasts nine cultural monuments and natural reserves featuring on the UNESCO list, among which the Rila Monastery, the Boyana Church, the Madara Horseman, and the Pirin National Park.

Besides its Black Sea coast and beautiful mountains that attract tourists all the year round, Bulgaria is also famous for its Rose Valley. The rose oil produced here is a precious ingredient in Bulgarian and world perfume production. Bulgaria’s main exports are light industry products, foods and wines, which are successfully competing on European markets. Bulgaria is world famous for its folk music. A Bulgarian folk song was recorded on the Gold Record that was sent in outer space.


Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. The Constitution is the supreme law of the country. The latest Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria was adopted in July of 1991 and features all basic principles of modern constitutionalism. It provides for a multi-party parliamentary system and free elections on the basis of universal suffrage. The three branches of power in Bulgaria are the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

The 240-seat National Assembly, or Parliament, is invested with the legislative power. The Members of Parliament are directly elected to a 4-year term on the basis of proportional representation. Parties and electoral coalitions need 4% of the popular vote to qualify.

The President serves as Head of State, and is directly elected once every 5 years for a maximum of two terms. The Vice President is elected on the same ballot as the President.

The President is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria and appoints and dismisses the senior command. He appoints the Prime-Minister designate to form a government, schedules the elections and sets the date for national referendums, and countersigns, together with the Prime Minister or the respective sector minister, decrees for the promulgation of the adopted laws.

The Council of Ministers (the Government) chaired by the Prime Minister is the principal body of the Executive Branch. The Prime-Minister-designate is nominated by the largest parliamentary group and is given a mandate by the President to form a cabinet. The National Assembly elects the proposed Council of Ministers. The activity of the Council of Ministers is under the direct control of the National Assembly.

The judiciary is an independent branch of power and is based on a three-instance procedure.

Economy - overview

Since the 1996-97 crisis, the country has achieved macro-economic stability and has a stable currency board, low basic interest rate, and substantial foreign-exchange reserves. Real economic growth significantly accelerated from 2.4 percent in 1999 to 5.8 percent in 2000, and this trend has been confirmed by the latest 2001 data (4.5 percent in the first quarter.

Reports on drugs situation

National Reports

Other documents

Disclaimer © European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2002
The texts, reports and publications in this section have been provided by the candidate countries' national focal points. The findings, conclusions and interpretations in these documents are those of the authors alone and do not represent the policy of the EMCDDA, its partners, any EU Member State or any agency or institution of the European Union or European Communities.

documents in English     documents in national language

Related Websites
  1. European Commission: Enlargement: Candidate Country: Bulgaria - This page provides an introduction to Bulgaria's country profile, an overview of of key documents related to enlargement, press releases and interesting links.

NGO web-sites with Programmes


Sites on drugs

  5. Balkan Bridge for Drug Prevention - share the best practices in the Balkans region and set up a network for drug free Balkans.

Inquiry questionnaire “pro and contra” drugs / encouragement of their use


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