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 Bulgaria [Country Flag of Bulgaria]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Bulgaria]

Bulgaria

Geography

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Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey

Geographic coordinates: 43 00 N, 25 00 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 110,910 sq km
land: 110,550 sq km
water: 360 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries:
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 (all with Serbia), Turkey 240 km

Coastline: 354 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain: mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Musala 2,925 m

Natural resources: bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 37%
permanent crops: 2%
permanent pastures: 16%
forests and woodland: 35%
other: 10% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 12,370 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: earthquakes, landslides

Environment—current issues: 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:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, 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, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol

Geography—note: strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia

People

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Population: 8,240,426 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 16% (male 696,131; female 662,335)
15-64 years: 68% (male 2,756,695; female 2,812,192)
65 years and over: 16% (male 564,698; female 748,375) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.6% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 8.08 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 13.24 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 12.78 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.96 years
male: 68.39 years
female: 75.74 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.14 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Bulgarian(s)
adjective: Bulgarian

Ethnic groups: Bulgarian 85.3%, Turk 8.5%, Gypsy 2.6%, Macedonian 2.5%, Armenian 0.3%, Russian 0.2%, other 0.6%

Religions: Bulgarian Orthodox 85%, Muslim 13%, Jewish 0.8%, Roman Catholic 0.5%, Uniate Catholic 0.2%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 0.5%

Languages: Bulgarian, secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 97% (1992 est.)

Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
conventional short form: Bulgaria

Data code: BU

Government type: republic

National capital: Sofia

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (oblasti, singular—oblast); Burgas, Grad Sofiya, Khaskovo, Lovech, Montana, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofiya, Varna

Independence: 22 September 1908 (from Ottoman Empire)

National holiday: Independence Day, 3 March (1878)

Constitution: adopted 12 July 1991

Legal system: civil law and criminal law based on Roman law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Petar STOYANOV (since 22 January 1997); Vice President Todor KAVALDZHIEV (since 22 January 1997)
head of government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) Ivan Kostov (since 19 May 1997); Deputy Prime Ministers Aleksandur BOZHKOV (since 12 February 1997 Evgeniy BAKURDZHIEV (since 21 May 1997), Veselin METODIEV (since 21 May 1997)
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 27 October and 3 November 1996 (next to be held NA 2001); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) nominated by the president
election results: Petar STOYANOV elected president; percent of vote—Petar STOYANOV 59.73%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sobranie (240 seats; members are popularly elected to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 19 April 1997 (next to be held NA 2001)
election results: percent of vote by party—UDF 52%, BSP 22%, ANS 7%, Euro-left 5.5%, BBB 4.95%; seats by party—UDF 137, BSP 58, ANS 19, Euro-left 14, BBB 12

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, chairman appointed for a seven-year term by the president; Constitutional Court, 12 justices appointed or elected for a nine-year term

Political parties and leaders: Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Georgi PURVANOV, chairman]; Union of Democratic Forces or UDF (an alliance of pro-Democratic parties) [Ivan KOSTOV]; Euro-left [Aleksandur TOMOV]; Alliance for National Salvation or ANS (coalition led mainly by Movement for Rights and Freedoms or DPS [Ahmed DOGAN]); Bulgarian Business Bloc or BBB [Georgi GANCHEV]; People's Union [Anastasiya MOZER and Stefan SAVOV, cochairmen]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Democratic Alliance for the Republic or DAR; New Union for Democracy or NUD; Podkrepa Labor Confederation; Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria or CITUB; Bulgarian Agrarian National Union—United or BZNS; Bulgarian Democratic Center; "Nikola Petkov" Bulgarian Agrarian National Union; Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization or IMRO; Agrarian movement; numerous regional, ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas

International organization participation: ACCT, BIS, BSEC, CCC, CE, CEI, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, G-9, IAEA, IBEC, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, IIB, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, MONUA, NAM (guest), NSG, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNMOT, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Philip DIMITROV
chancery: 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-7969
FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973
consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Avis T. BOHLEN
embassy: 1 Saborna Street, Sofia
mailing address: Unit 1335, APO AE 09213-1335
telephone: [359] (2) 980-52-41 through 48
FAX: [359] (2) 981-89-77

Flag description: 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

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Economy—overview: One of the poorest countries of central Europe, Bulgaria has slowly been moving from its old command economy towards a market-oriented economy. The economy faced a major crisis in 1996, marked by a banking system in turmoil, a depreciating currency, and contracting production and foreign trade. Foreign exchange reserves dwindled to $518 million, while dramatically hiked interest rates added to the domestic debt burden and stifled growth. GDP fell by 11% in 1996, after experiencing 2.0% growth in 1995. Privatization of state-owned industries stagnated, although the first auction of a mass privatization program was undertaken in late 1996. Lagging progress on structural reforms led to postponement of IMF disbursements under a $580 million standby loan agreed to in July 1996. In November 1996, the IMF proposed a currency board as Bulgaria's best chance to restore confidence in the lev, eliminate unnecessary spending, and avoid hyperinflation. The board was set up on 1 July 1997. Its establishment was followed by a reduction in inflation and interest rates and by a rise in foreign investment. Simultaneously the government pledged to sell off some of the most attractive state assets. GDP in 1997 dropped 7.4%, but is expected to rebound to an estimated 2% in 1998. Other government objectives include: the completion of land reform, the privatization and strengthening of the banking system, and the modernization of the legal environment of business.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$35.6 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: -7.4% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,100 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 31%
services: 57% (1997 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 1% (1998 est.)

Labor force:
total: 3.57 million (1996 est.)
by occupation: industry 41%, agriculture 18%, other 41% (1992)

Unemployment rate: 14% (1997 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $2.7 billion
expenditures: $3.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)

Industries: machine building and metal working, food processing, chemicals, textiles, construction materials, ferrous and nonferrous metals

Industrial production growth rate: -7.4% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 12.087 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 41.449 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 4,821 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: grain, oilseed, vegetables, fruits, tobacco; livestock

Exports:
total value: $4.9 billion (f.o.b., 1997)
commodities: machinery and equipment 15.2%; agriculture and food 18.9%; textiles and apparel 14.8%; metals, minerals, and fuels 26.5%; chemicals and plastics 20%; other 4.6% (1996)
partners: OECD 50.0% (EU 37.2%); CIS and Central and Eastern Europe 32.4%; Arab countries 5.8%; other 11.8% (1995)

Imports:
total value: $4.5 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
commodities: fuels, minerals, and raw materials 40.7%; machinery and equipment 18.4%; textiles and apparel 11.6%; agricultural products 7.5%; metals and ores 5.2%; chemicals and plastics 12.2%; other 4.4% (1996)
partners: OECD 45.5% (EU 38.1%); CIS and Central and Eastern European countries 41.1%; Arab countries 1.8%; other 11.6% (1995)

Debt—external: $10 billion (1997 est.)

Economic aid: NA

Currency: 1 lev (Lv) = 100 stotinki

Exchange rates: leva (Lv) per US$1—1,740 (1997), 483.4 (1996), 70.7 (1995), 54.2 (1994), 27.1 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

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Telephones: 2,773,293 (1993 est.)

Telephone system: almost two-thirds of the lines are residential; 67% of Sofia households have telephones (November 1988 est.)
domestic: extensive but antiquated transmission system of coaxial cable and microwave radio relay; telephone service is available in most villages
international: direct dialing to 36 countries; satellite earth stations—1 Intersputnik (Atlantic Ocean Region); Intelsat available through a Greek earth station

Radio broadcast stations: AM 20, FM 15, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 29 (Russian repeater in Sofia 1)

Televisions: 2.1 million (May 1990 est.)

Transportation

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Railways:
total: 4,292 km
standard gauge: 4,047 km 1.435-m gauge (2,650 km electrified; 917 double track)
other gauge: 245 km 0.760-m gauge (1995)

Highways:
total: 36,720 km
paved: 33,746 km (including 314 km of expressways)
unpaved: 2,974 km (1996 est.)

Waterways: 470 km (1987)

Pipelines: crude oil 193 km; petroleum products 525 km; natural gas 1,400 km (1992)

Ports and harbors: Burgas, Lom, Nesebur, Ruse, Varna, Vidin

Merchant marine:
total: 94 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,027,117 GRT/1,541,266 DWT
ships by type: bulk 45, cargo 23, chemical tanker 4, container 2, oil tanker 9, passenger-cargo 1, railcar carrier 2, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 6, short-sea passenger 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 34 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 34
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 14
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
under 914 m: 10 (1997 est.)

Military

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Military branches: Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Border Troops, Internal Troops

Military manpower—military age: 19 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 2,042,441 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 1,703,879 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 61,643 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $418.6 million (1996)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 2.0% to 2.5% (1996)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: twenty bilateral agreements remain unsigned in a dispute over Bulgarian nonrecognition of Macedonian as a language distinct from Bulgarian

Illicit drugs: 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; significant producer of amphetamines, much of which are consumed in the Middle East