How do politicians use history today in Bulgaria

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From 1945 until 1989 Bulgaria had followed with consistency the same foreign policy line of attachment to the Soviet Union and the Eastern Block, gaining the reputation of the most loyal ally/‘satellite’ of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe (*1) . The country’s given position in the international system was unchallenged, as was the dominant ideology (communism) that defined Bulgaria’s regime. After November 1989 however, and the fundamental geopolitical changes that started to take place throughout Eastern Europe, Bulgaria too entered in an era of full-scale political and economic transformation. The end of the Cold War, the disbandment of the Warsaw Pact in 1990 and the termination of Bulgaria’s close relations with the Soviet Union in 1991, meant in addition the loss of all the political, diplomatic and military advantages that the country had enjoyed since 1945: as other former members of the Eastern Block, Bulgaria had to find a new role and to create new alliances in the new geopolitical situation prevailing in Europe (*2) . Thus, Bulgaria had no other choice, after 1989, than to turn towards the West. All Bulgaria’s political forces were unanimous about the need to improve and develop the country’s relations with the West (*3) . Even the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), the former communists, who had maintained power after the first democratic elections in 1990, agreed in that (*4) .

II. Joining the EU

II.1. From the outset of relations with the European Community until the Helsinki Summit (1988 – 1999)

The signing of a Joint Declaration for establishing diplomatic relations between the European Community (EC) and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), in June 1988, is generally regarded as the beginnin...

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...position was strengthened even more. The European Summit in Helsinki, in December 1999, decided to invite Bulgaria to open accession negotiations with the EU in February 2000. Although the European Council recognized the important progress that Bulgaria had made fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria , the decision to invite Sofia to begin negotiations was to a large extend a political decision. Firstly, because following the events in former Yugoslavia, there was growing concern that the whole region could be destabilized, and there was a need to support countries like Bulgaria and Romania, which was also invited to begin accession negotiations in February 2000 . The second reason had to do with France’s insistence to invite Romania. From the moment that Romania had been invited, it would have been highly insulting to Bulgaria to leave it outside and not to invite it .

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