“Always with Germany, never against Russia.” These words attributed to Tsar Boris III reflect the prevailing attitude in Bulgaria when it comes to foreign affairs. Of course, these days it is the West, the EU and the US, rather Germany. But the dictum has not lost its relevance. Bulgaria has been part of the Western alliance for more than a decade. The EU and NATO are cornerstones of its foreign policy. At the same time, Sofia’s strategy is geared towards engagement rather than confrontation with rival powers such as Russia, Turkey and China.
This working paper examines Bulgaria’s balancing act between the West and the East. Since the start of post-communist transition in the early 1990s, the country has gone a long way. It joined NATO in 2004 to become, three years later, member of the EU as well. Yet its position in the Western alliance coupled with internal vulnerabilities provide outside actors with extensive influence over its internal and external affairs. The paper starts off by looking at factors shaping elites and the public outlook. Then, it discusses Bulgaria’s position within the EU and NATO. Lastly, it zooms in on its relations with Russia and Turkey.
ISP Working Paper | Dimitar BECHEV |Bulgaria – Outlook on Security Policy Development and National Expectations until 2025