The Road to Europe: Bulgaria's New Foreign Policy
Since the collapse of communism in 1989, Bulgarian foreign policy has had to address a number of new and complex tasks. The very notion of independent policy-making has had to be re-created after four and a half decades of almost colonial dependence. The country had to make a case for membership in the European and Euro-Atlantic institutions, and to establish new bilateral relations with both the Western states and the former hegemon Russia. The shifting patterns in the Balkans presented a multitude of threats and opportunities to Bulgaria. All of these tasks, some of which were not necessarily compatible, had to be achieved against the background of intense political struggles, institutional uncertainty and economic decline. Not surprisingly, performance has often fallen short of aspirations. Whilst the country has avoided any major disasters, positive achievements are rather hard to find. In this chapter, I aim to provide a brief assessment of the successes and failures, and examine some of the reasons for them.