February 1st: Bulgaria became an associated member of the European union
February 1st is associated with many political, cultural and scientific achievements. For Bulgaria, the day is especially important because of the 14th anniversary of our association as a member of the European union.
The relations of Bulgaria with the European union have a short, but dynamic history. Bulgaria established diplomatic relations with the European community on August 9th 1988. The European community was ready to begin negotiations with Bulgaria immediately to sign a Treaty for commerce and economics co-operation, but the development of relationships was stopped because of the political environment in Bulgaria. After the goverment of Todor Jivkov fell from power, the relationships were once again active.
In the autumn of 1991, a decision to begin negotiations with Bulgaria for the signing of an Agreement to associate with the European community was taken. It was signed on March 8th 1993 and was approved with a ratification of the National assembly of Bulgaria, the European parliament and the parliaments of the member countries on February 1st 1995.
The next stage in the development of relationships was the presentation of the official Bulgarian request for a membership in the EU on the European council in Madrid in December 1995.
In November 1998 were presented the first regular reports of the European commission for the progress of candidate countries between July 1997 – November 1998. The report states that Bulgaria has made a significant progress, but still doesn’t meet the Copenhagen criteria and is not yet ready to begin negotiations. The second such report was presented on October 13th 1999 and again noted improvements. Since then, it has only been a steady development towards EU membership.