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URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:26-opus-14429

The Transformation Process in Bulgaria

Der Transformationsprozess in Bulgarien

Stoilov, Georgi

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Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Transformation , Bulgaria , Foreign Security Policy
Universität Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Institut: Institut für Politikwissenschaften
Fachgebiet: Politikwissenschaft
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Sprache: Englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 24.06.2003
Erstellungsjahr: 2003
Publikationsdatum: 01.04.2004
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: This study is about transition in Bulgaria and its status on the European scene. The complexity and diversity of the matter puts, however, natural limitations to it. Research has now past from the domain of general trends and models to more fragmented case studies featuring various aspects of the transition process. Nevertheless, the study revisits the former in the less ambitious attempt to provide the readers with better understanding of where Bulgaria stands today and the environment it offers for safer political and economic integration with its immediate counterparts. Such an approach would increase the unpredictability risks as to the conclusions inferred, but would equip those interested in Bulgaria’s recent developments with practical tools to evaluate and judge them.

The possibility of membership in a Western organisation like the EU or NATO could provide a powerful incentive for the adoption of domestic political institutions that would be in harmony with those in the West’. Entry into the EU will signal the achievement of a certain high level of democracy and functional market economy.

But being outside-driven, there is still not enough evidence that the economic transition will be seen by state officials and political players controlling foreign aids as a chance to turn citizens into utility maximisers, rather than as a way to push economic output and stabilisation in general, regardless of who pays the cost. The ownership of who really makes the transition, the grant giver or the beneficiary, is thus challenged. Outside institutions are important but domestic policies are a powerful modifier as well.

Then comes institution building: economic restructuring with no relevant legislation, enforcement mechanisms and institutions proved to be inefficient and misleading. Administrative capacity building, enhanced by foreign grants, mainly from the EU, was to help accelerate the way to free market and fair competition.

Democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, civil society are the general attributes, among others, political transition was to enforce. It can be observed, however, that the new political elites have shown a vicious propensity to revive models of communist state management when in power. This has been demonstrated through unwillingness to give up areas of state authority. Ruling elites have been as a rule reluctant to decentralise, deregulate, place private initiative at equal footing with the state, introduce laws to the benefit of meaningful majorities, and guarantee the independence of powers.

It is absolutely clear for every sober-thinking man that the final goal of all the reforms held in 90-ties, not only in Bulgaria but also in the other countries in transition, is a substitution of the established socialist public system with the capitalist one, although this is rarely mentioned in the press and even more rarely formulated officially as a goal of the government.

In the long run it is not possible to give a synonymous evaluation of the changes in the demographic sphere, culture, political thinking and party life in Bulgaria only ten years after the beginning of the transition. Although there exists increasing social differentiation, and the term “middle class” is in danger to be left in the history, the effectiveness of the transition should not be reduced only to the sphere of the material situation of the bulk of the population at the moment. Even for the single reason that the self-confidence of a citizen is different under a dictatorship of an authoritarian regime and under the conditions of democracy, although it defies quantitative measurements and can be notified only in common order.

In the period after 1990 there can be observed a rising development in Bulgarian – German relations. The analysis of the trade interrelations between Bulgaria and Germany for the period after 1990 shows a stable tendency to increasing the value of the trade circulation between the two countries. There can be noticed a slight superiority in the absolute values of the import from Germany over the export. During the whole examined period Germany takes a front place as a first-rate trade partner of Bulgaria and it could be surely predicted that in the future it would be the same way.