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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2003
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2003.

This page was last updated on 18 December, 2003

Map of Bulgaria

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Bulgaria
Definition Field Listing
The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Bulgaria regained its independence in 1878, but having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, it fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. Today, reforms and democratization keep Bulgaria on a path toward eventual integration into NATO and the EU - with which it began accession negotiations in 2000.
   Geography    Bulgaria
Definition Field Listing
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
43 00 N, 25 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 110,910 sq km
water: 360 sq km
land: 110,550 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,808 km
border countries: Greece 494 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia and Montenegro 318 km, Turkey 240 km
Definition Field Listing
354 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Definition Field Listing
temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers
Definition Field Listing
mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Musala 2,925 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 39%
permanent crops: 1.8%
other: 59.2% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
8,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
earthquakes, landslides
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia
   People    Bulgaria
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7,537,929 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 14.2% (male 549,142; female 520,057)
15-64 years: 68.8% (male 2,551,548; female 2,632,978)
65 years and over: 17% (male 535,165; female 749,039) (2003 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 40.5 years
male: 38.4 years
female: 42.4 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-1.09% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.02 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
14.34 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-4.58 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 13.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 11.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 15.43 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 71.8 years
male: 68.26 years
female: 75.56 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.13 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
less than 0.1% - note: no country specific models provided (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
346 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100 (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Bulgarian(s)
adjective: Bulgarian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Bulgarian 83.6%, Turk 9.5%, Roma 4.6%, other 2.3% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian) (1998)
Definition Field Listing
Bulgarian Orthodox 83.8%, Muslim 12.1%, Roman Catholic 1.7%, Jewish 0.1%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 2.3% (1998)
Definition Field Listing
Bulgarian, secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.6%
male: 99.1%
female: 98.2% (2003 est.)
   Government    Bulgaria
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
conventional short form: Bulgaria
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary democracy
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
28 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast); Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Khaskovo, Kurdzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofiya, Sofiya-Grad, Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Vratsa, Yambol
Definition Field Listing
3 March 1878 (from Ottoman Empire)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Liberation Day, 3 March (1878)
Definition Field Listing
adopted 12 July 1991
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
civil law and criminal law based on Roman law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President Georgi PURVANOV (since 22 January 2002); Vice President Angel MARIN (since 22 January 2002)
head of government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) Simeon SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA (since 24 July 2001); Deputy Prime Ministers Nikolay VASILEV (since 24 July 2001), and Lidiya SHULEVA (since 24 July 2001), Plamen PANAYOTOV (since 17 July 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 11 November and 18 November 2001 (next to be held NA 2006); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) nominated by the president; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister
election results: Georgi PURVANOV elected president; percent of vote - Georgi PURVANOV 54.13%, Petar STOYANOV 45.87%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sobranie (240 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 June 2001 (next to be held NA June 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NMS2 42.74%, UtdDF 18.18%, CfB 17.15%, MRF 7.45%; seats by party - NMS2 120, UtdDF 51, CfB 48, MRF 21; note - seating as of March 2003 - NMS2 110, UtdDF 50, CfB 48, MRF 20, independents 12
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Administrative Court; Supreme Court of Cassation; Constitutional Court (12 justices appointed or elected for nine-year terms); Supreme Judicial Council (consists of the chairmen of the two Supreme Courts, the Chief Prosecutor, and 22 other members; responsible for appointing the justices, prosecutors, and investigating magistrates in the justice system; members of the Supreme Judicial Council elected for five-year terms, 11 elected by the National Assembly and 11 by bodies of the judiciary)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Sergei STANISHEV]; Coalition for Bulgaria or CfB (coalition of parties dominated by BSP) [Sergei STANISHEV]; Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization or VMRO [Krasimir KARAKACHANOV]; Movement for Rights and Freedoms or MRF [Ahmed DOGAN]; National Movement for Simeon II or NMS2 [Simeon SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA]; Union of Democratic Forces or UDF [Nadezhda MIKHAYLOVA]; Union of Free Democrats or UFD [Stefan SOFIYANSKI]; United Democratic Forces or UtdDF (a coalition between the UDF and other center-right parties)
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
agrarian movement; Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria or CITUB; Podkrepa Labor Confederation; numerous regional, ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACCT, Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, G- 9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Elena B. POPTODOROVA
consulate(s): New York
FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973
telephone: [1] (202) 387-0174
chancery: 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador James William PARDEW
embassy: 1 Suborna Street, Sofia 1000
mailing address: American Embassy Sofia, Department of State, 5740 Sofia Place, Washington, DC 20521-5740
telephone: [359] (2) 937-5100
FAX: [359] (2) 981-89-77
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red; the national emblem formerly on the hoist side of the white stripe has been removed - it contained a rampant lion within a wreath of wheat ears below a red five-pointed star and above a ribbon bearing the dates 681 (first Bulgarian state established) and 1944 (liberation from Nazi control)
   Economy    Bulgaria
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Bulgaria, a former communist country striving to enter the European Union, has experienced macroeconomic stability and strong growth since a major economic downturn in 1996 led to the fall of the then socialist government. As a result, the government became committed to economic reform and responsible fiscal planning. A $300 million stand-by agreement negotiated with the IMF at the end of 2001 has supported government efforts to overcome high rates of poverty and unemployment.
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $49.23 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.8% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $6,500 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 13.7%
industry: 28.5%
services: 57.9% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
12.6% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 4.5%
highest 10%: 22.8% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
26.4 (2001)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.9% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.83 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 26%, industry 31%, services 43% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
18% (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $5.57 billion
expenditures: $5.68 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
electricity, gas and water; food, beverages and tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
41.38 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 47.8%
hydro: 8.1%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 44.1%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
32.52 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
6.79 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
830 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
603 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
94,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.1 million bbl (37257)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing
4 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
5.804 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing
5.8 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.724 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
vegetables, fruits, tobacco, livestock, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5.3 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Italy 15.5%, Germany 9.6%, Turkey 9.4%, Greece 9.2%, France 5.3%, US 4.8% (2002)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6.9 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
fuels, minerals, and raw materials; machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; food, textiles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Russia 14.6%, Germany 14.4%, Italy 11.4%, Greece 6.1%, France 5.7%, Turkey 5% (2002)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$10.3 billion (yearend 2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$300 million (2000 est.)
Definition Field Listing
lev (BGL)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
leva per US dollar - 2.08 (2002), 2.18 (2001), 2.12 (2000), 1.84 (1999), 1.76 (1998)
note: on 5 July 1999, the lev was redenominated; the post-5 July 1999 lev is equal to 1,000 of the pre-5 July 1999 lev
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Bulgaria
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,186,731 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.054 million (2001)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: extensive but antiquated
domestic: more than two-thirds of the lines are residential; telephone service is available in most villages; a fairly modern digital cable trunk line now connects switching centers in most of the regions, the others are connected by digital microwave radio relay
international: direct dialing to 58 countries; satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean region); 2 Intelsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 31, FM 63, shortwave 2 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
39 (plus 1,242 repeaters) (2001)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
200 (2001)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
585,000 (2001)
   Transportation    Bulgaria
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4,294 km
standard gauge: 4,049 km 1.435-m gauge (2,710 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 245 km 0.760-m gauge (2002)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 37,286 km
paved: 35,049 km (including 324 km of expressways)
unpaved: 2,237 km (2000)
Definition Field Listing
470 km (1987)
Definition Field Listing
gas 2,425 km; oil 339 km; refined products 156 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Burgas, Lom, Nesebur, Ruse, Varna, Vidin
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 69 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 829,421 GRT/1,252,496 DWT
ships by type: bulk 42, cargo 10, chemical tanker 4, container 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 4, railcar carrier 2, roll on/roll off 2, short-sea passenger 1, specialized tanker 1 (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
216 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 128
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 20
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 92 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 14
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 88
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 74 (2002)
Definition Field Listing
1 (2002)
   Military    Bulgaria
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces (subordinate to Ministry of Defense), Internal Forces (subordinate to Ministry of Interior), Civil Defense Forces (subordinate to the president)
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
19 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,854,049 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 1,551,485 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 54,107 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$356 million (FY02)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.7% (FY02)
   Transnational Issues    Bulgaria
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
joint boundary commission is rectifying boundary with Romania based on shifts in Danube since last delimitation in 1920
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
major European transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and, to a lesser degree, South American cocaine for the European market; limited producer of precursor chemicals; some money laundering of drug-related proceeds through financial institutions

This page was last updated on 18 December, 2003

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