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Bulgaria country profile

27 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 24 May 2012

Founded in 681, Bulgaria is one of the oldest states in Europe. Bulgaria became a Member State of the European Union on 1 January 2007.


Located in the heart of the Balkans, Bulgaria offers a highly diverse landscape: the north is dominated by the vast lowlands of the Danube and the south by the highlands and elevated plains. In the east, the Black Sea coast attracts tourists all year round.

Founded in 681, Bulgaria is one of the oldest states in Europe. Its history is marked by its location near Europe’s frontier with Asia. Some 85% of the population are Orthodox Christians and 13% Muslims. Around 10% of the population are of Turkish origin while 3% are Roma. Similarly, its traditional dishes are a mixture of east and west. The most famous Bulgarian food is probably yoghurt, with its reputed gift of longevity for those Bulgarians who consume it regularly.

The Bulgarian National Assembly (the single chamber parliament) consists of 240 members who are elected for a four-year period.

Bulgaria's main exports are light industrial products, foods and wines, which are successfully competing on European markets.

Bulgaria is famous for its folk music. A Bulgarian folk song was recorded on the Voyager Golden Record which was sent into outer space by NASA. Famous Bulgarians include philosopher Julia Kristeva and Elias Canetti, Nobel Prize winner for literature in 1981 and Christo Javachev ("Christo"), the creator of many unorthodox outdoor sculptures.

Official name: Republic of Bulgaria

Area (km2): 111 910

Population: 7.04 million (July 2012 est.)

Capital: Sofia

National holiday: 3 March

Currency: Lev

Date of joining: 01 January 2007

Head of state: President Rosen Plevenliev (elected January 2012)

Head of government: Boiko Borisov of the conservative GERB party, since July 2009

GDP (millions €): 34 118 (2008); 35 219 (forecast for 2009)

GDP per capita in PPS: 10 100 (2008); 9 700 (forecast 2009)

Real growth rate of GDP: 2.2% (2011); 0.2% (2010)

Unemployment rate: 8.8% (2011 est.); 9.5% (2010 est.)

National debt as % of GDP: 17.5% (2011 est.), 16.3% (2010 est.)

Inflation: 4% (2011), 2.4% (2010)

Public deficit/surplus as % of GDP: -2.9% (2011 est.)

Source: Eurostat, CIA - World Factbook




Head of State:

Head of Government:

Foreign Minister:



Map of Bulgaria



Source: European Commission, Spanish EU Presidency


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