In this paper, I will examine Turkey’s on-going accession process and Bulgarian accession process to EU, which was finalized with full Bulgarian membership to EU in 1 January 2007. In order to make a comparison and contrast, I will first make an overview of Turkey’s ongoing accession process and secondly Bulgarian accession process. After that, I will evaluate main similarities and differences observed in the accession processes in sections.
1-) Turkish Case
After its establishment in 1923, the Republic of Turkey had decided to transform into a modern secular democratic Republic with its charismatic leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk by erasing the 600 years old memories of the Ottoman Empire. After the Second World War, Turkey became closer to Western democracies and Western bloc due to Soviet expansionist aims and threats. Following this decision made by the second man of the Republic, İsmet İnönü, Turkey became a member of the Council of Europe in 1949 and a member of NATO in 1952. The Ankara Agreement which was signed in 1963 and came into effect in 1964, aimed to integrate Turkey into a Customs Union with the European Economic Community by foreseeing the membership. In addition to that, one other protocol called the “Additional Protocol (Karma Protokol)” arranged a timetable for the removal of tariffs and quotas on goods traded between Turkey and the European Economic Community, in November 1970. Due to 12 September 1980 Turkish military coup, following political and economic instability, Turkey-EEC relations were suspended until 1983 when Turkey restored its democracy and relations with EEC. A new era of democracy started on 14 April 1987 when Turkey submitted its application for formal membership into the European Community by ANAP (Motherland Party) Deputy Ali Bozer. The European Commission responded in December 1989 and declined Turkish request by confirming Ankara’s eventual membership target but also by complaining about Turkey’s inefficient economic and chaotic political situation, its unstable relations with Greece and the disagreement with Cyprus. EEC was in the preparation of transforming into EU and realizes its Eastern European enlargement and it did not have time and energy for the difficulties for Turkish accession to EU. These conditions of Turkey were declared again in the Luxembourg Summit of the European Council of 1997 in which accession talks were started with central and eastern European states and Cyprus, but not with Turkey. During the 1990’s Turkey proceeded with a closer integration with the European Union by agreeing to a Customs Union in 1995. Finally, the Helsinki Summit of the European Council held in 1999 proved a milestone as the EU recognized Turkey as an equal candidate for full membership.
The European Council declared Turkey as a candidate at the Helsinki Summit of 1999 but it did not start accession talks. The Helsinki Summit became an opportunity to normalize the relations which were tense since the Luxembourg Summit. As German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder suggested, “The damage caused in Luxembourg was repaired in Helsinki” (Avcı, 2003:150). The Turkish government started to give some signals of reforms for the resolution of Kurdish problem starting from December 1999. For instance, Foreign Minister İsmail Cem had indicated that “Kurdish cultural rights were to be extended, particularly in the field of language and broadcasting” (Rumford, 2001:100). Moreover, Ecevit government prepared an action plan for the improvement of economic conditions in Turkey’s southeast region in May 2000. However, Turkey was still trying to shape the post-terror policy towards the PKK and the main aim was to prevent the politicization of the PKK. According to Aydınlı, “While Öcalan and the PKK attempt to dictate the terms of reform using the threat of terror, Turkey seems to be adopting strategies to first eliminate the remaining terror threat and then proceed with democratization on its own terms” (Aydınlı, 2002:212). In the beginning of 2000, the Turkish State Security courts sentenced sixteen leading figures of HADEP (Kurdish nationalist party that has links with PKK) to three years and nine months imprisonment on the basis of charges that they had helped and followed orders from the PKK. Moreover, on 21 February 2000, three elected mayors of HADEP were arrested and charged with supporting the PKK. This was heavily criticized in Europe but the President Demirel responded that “this was a criminal court case and an internal Turkish matter”. The EU officials started to visit south-eastern villages of Turkey and arranged meeting with the members of HADEP in the early 2000. It is clear that the Kurdish issue has always been one of the important pillars of Turkey’s accession to the EU membership and the reform proposals for the improvement of the conditions of the Kurdish originated population have been used in most of the reports related to Turkey.
Turkey accepted the candidacy status and at the European Council Meeting in Nice on December 4, 2000. The EU prepared the Accession Partnership document for Turkey which was adopted on March 8, 2001. With this, the EU presented an important roadmap to Turkey to satisfy the criteria for membership by setting out the short and medium-term measures. However, EU’s approach towards the demands of Kurdish nationalists was criticized heavily by some important members of the army and the government. For instance, at the 22 December 2000 National Security Council meeting, the army once again argued that Kurdish cultural rights is a tactic of separatist terrorism, making it clear that Turkey will not respond to such demands in the national program. Moreover, as Aydınlı emphasizes, “Prime Minister Ecevit’s statements were released confirming Turkey’s mistrust of the European agenda and its suspicions of European support for the PKK and its strategies, while Deputy Prime Minister Bahçeli stated that he did not find Europe sincere vis-à-vis the Kurdish issue” (Aydınlı, 2002:219). In order to institutionalize the reforms asked for by the EU, Turkey established The Turkish National Programme for the adoption of the Acquis in March 19, 2001, the first part of which dealt with the political criteria. As Öniş emphasizes, “the National Programme represented an attempt on the part of the political authorities in Turkey to strike a balance between the need to meet the Copenhagen criteria and the unwillingness to implement reforms on the most sensitive issues in the short term” (Öniş, 2003:13). The National Programme was considered as a positive development by the European Parliament and the Commission in their regular reports of Turkey. However, there were also criticisms toward the National Programme. As Avcı points out, “Compared to what is expected from Turkey in the Accession Partnership (AP) document, the National Programme remained relatively unsatisfactory and does not live up to the targets set in the AP document” (Avcı, 2003:151).
In October 2001, the Turkish Parliament responded to the criticisms by initiating the reforms that were stated in the National Programme by passing a package of thirty four amendments to the constitution. The reform process continued with the Harmonization Laws (Democratization Packages) which were designed to translate the Constitutional Amendments into action as part of the process of bringing Turkish Law into line with the European Acquis. Harmonization Laws (hl) were passed in 2002 and 2003 in seven reform packages. Two of the most controversial HL were, the removal of death penalty, including for those convicted of terrorist activity and the broadcasting and education in Kurdish encountered major opposition from the military and nationalist parties, especially, the ultranationalist Nationalist Action Party. However, despite the resistance, in the summer of August 2002, the parliament approved the removal of death penalty except for the crimes committed in cases of war, or the imminent threat of war. Moreover, the scope of freedom of expression was also broadened by permitting the use of local languages other than Turkish in radio and television broadcasting and their teaching by private language courses. With this law the state television started to broadcast in Kurdish, Bosnian, Arabic and Circassian. Adoptions of these two controversial laws show that Turkey wants to comply with the political criteria. In the end of 2002, despite the significant progress to fulfill the democratic criteria, there were still some areas, such as Cyprus question, the extension of cultural rights of minority groups in practice, the role of the military in the politics and performance of the economy, which needed to be improved before the start of accession negotiations. As Danish Prime Minister A.F. Rasmussen stated in June 2002; “Turkey does not fulfill the criteria for getting a date for the start of accession negotiations. So, at the end of the day, it is more or less up to Turkey herself when such a date can be presented because if and when Turkey fulfils the political criteria, we can start accession negotiations” (Avcı, 2003: 152).
In the Copenhagen Summit of December 2002, the EU leaders decided that in December 2004, Turkey’s candidacy would be reviewed, especially to see whether Turkey fulfill the democratic conditionality of the EU, with an eye towards possible accession negotiations date. On November 3, 2002, the Justice and Development Party, led by Tayyip Erdoğan won an overwhelming victory in parliamentary elections, returning Turkey, which were governed by coalition governments for the last fifteen years, to single-party rule. Contrary to the suspicions that he would oppose the EU membership because of his Islamist background, he appeared to embrace without qualification Atatürk’s vision of Turkey as a secular democracy and Erdoğan government, with its majority in the parliament, has continued the reform process. In order to comply with the Acquis, Erdoğan government has pursued legislative and constitutional reforms liberalizing the political system and relaxing restrictions on freedom of the press, association, and expression. On 19 July 2003, the notorious Article 8 of the anti-terror law was abolished. On May 7, 2004, ten articles of the constitution have been amended. Among the most important amendments were related to death penalty and the role of the military in politics. As Özbudun and Yazıcı emphasize, “the 2004 constitutional amendment totally abolished death penalty including the cases of war or the imminent threat of war, thereby removing the constitutional obstacle to the ratification by Turkey of the 13th Additional Protocol to the ECHR” (Özbudun & Yazıcı, 2004:22). When the role of the military in politics is considered, state security courts were totally abolished and the military’s privilege of exclusion from the judicial control of the Court of Accounts was eliminated. It is argued that, “These reforms not only contributed to the civilianization process of Turkey but also provided entire transparency for public expenditure” (Özbudun & Yazıcı, 2004:39). In June, 2004, Leyla Zana and three other Kurdish parliamentarians, who were jailed after the closure of the DEP in 1994, were released which was recommended by the EU since their detention. Therefore, it can be argued that, Turkey has made extensive reforms to democratize its institutional structure in order to start accession talks on 17 December 2004.
When Turkey participated into the European Council Summit on 17 December, instead of opening the accession talks, Turkey was given another date. The European Council accepted that Turkey fulfilled the Copenhagen Political Criteria and decided to open accession talks with Turkey on October 3, 2005 on the condition that the EU wants to see the implementation of the reforms which have been made. This delay for the opening of accession talks again led to public suspicion about the EU’s intentions. After the Summit, the main assumption in Turkey was that no matter how much the country reforms, the EU would ultimately reject a Muslim candidate. Especially the statements made by the President of European Convention and former French President Valery Giscard D’Estaing have contributed to this argument. Turkish public suspicion increased after the referendum on the Constitution of the EU. The French people rejected the EU constitution in a referendum held on 29 May 2005. In Netherlands, the EU constitution was also rejected in a referendum held on 1 June 2005. The ‘No Vote’ reflects a variety of factors; one of which is, as Hughes suggests, “concerns at possible future membership of Turkey in the EU” (Hughes, 2005). These votes also raised a debate in the EU about the speed and the content of the enlargement. The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso emphasized that “We should discuss seriously the signal that was sent by the electorate regarding Turkey”. In the end of the June, the European Commission confirmed that talks on Turkey’s membership of the EU should start on time, on 3 October with accession as a “shared objective”. However, “the commission says the talks should be open-ended and that Turkey will not be able to join until 2014 at the soonest”. It was also stated that Turkey and other candidates will face stricter conditions than had previous candidates.
Turkey has also lived a hot summer in 2005. After the December decision, the Erdoğan government was criticized by the EU for reducing the speed of reforms. Meanwhile, Islamist Erdoğan and JDP began to establish closer relations with the Islamic world including terrorist groups like Hamas. On 12 May 2005, The ECHR ruled that Turkish trial of Abdullah Öcalan was unfair because of the existence of a military judge in the court. They did not directly call for a retrial but said retrying or reopening Öcalan’s case would be “an appropriate way of redressing the violation”. This decision was expected from Turkey because the verdict, which was given by a court including a military judge, was death penalty. Unexpectedly, the armed clashes with the PKK in the South-eastern Turkey have become visible again. The Prime Minister Erdoğan has also criticized some western governments for supporting the PKK; despite they accepted that the PKK is a terrorist organization. Starting from November 3, 2005, 12 chapters of the Acquis opened during negotiations but only of them had been provisionally terminated. EU opens up two chapters every year but it must be noted that EU had already frozen 8 chapters due to ongoing Cyprus conflict and until a resolution is found. Turkish accession to EU seems to be a very thin and long road on which there are serious barriers mostly caused by EU’s double-standard and prejudiced approach to Turkey as well as the lack of consensus in Turkey about EU membership. Moreover, it must be stated that Erdoğan government has been steadily slowing the reform process and trying to get closer relations with the Middle Eastern countries instead of EU members.
2-) Bulgarian Case
After the collapse of USSR and the end of communism, Bulgaria that had been a communist state between 1945 and 1990, was reestablished as a Western type democracy. In 1990, after the Revolutions of 1989, the Communist Party and Thodor Zhivkov gave up its monopoly on power and Bulgaria transitioned to democracy and free-market capitalism. Currently[update] Bulgaria functions as a parliamentary democracy under a unitary constitutional republic. Bulgaria is a full member of the European Union since January 1, 2007 and of NATO since 2004, it has a population of approximately 7.6 million.
The accession of Bulgaria to the European Union took place on 1 January 2007. Bulgaria was part of the second stage of the European Union's fifth enlargement together with Romania. The date of accession was put forward at the EU’s Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 and confirmed in Brussels on 18 June 2004. Bulgaria signed the Treaty of Accession on 25 April 2005 at Luxembourg. Within the framework of integration meetings held between the EU member states and Bulgaria, an Association Committee was held on June 22, 2004. It stated that overall good progress for the preparation of accession was recorded; however, it is also noted that there are still weak points that can lead to disagreements during the transformation and integration period, like the need for further reforms of Bulgaria’s judicial structures, particularly in its pre-trial phases, as well as the need for further efforts to fight against corruption and organized crime, including human trafficking. According to the report, there was also limited progress regarding the integration of the Roma community. The findings were reflected in the 2004 Regular Report. The Brussels European Council of December 17, 2004 confirmed the conclusion of accession negotiations with Bulgaria. The 26 September 2006 monitoring report of the European Commission confirmed the date once more and led Bulgaria’s accession along with Romania, to the full membership, also announcing that Bulgaria and Romania would meet no direct restrictions, but progress in certain areas such as reforms of the judicial system, elimination of corruption and the struggle against organized crime, will be monitored.
Corruption in Bulgaria is one of the main concerns of EU. Bulgaria became a member of the European Union in 2007 and this attempt was a milestone for Bulgarian Economy since it faces the problem of corruption as a serious chronic problem; where on the other hand the World Bank classifies Bulgaria as an “upper-middle-income economy”. According to statistics and datas, Bulgaria has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years[update]. The country continues to rank as the second-poorest member state of the EU, but standards of living are said[update] to have risen. Due to high-profile allegations of corruption, and an apparent lack of willingness to tackle high-level corruption, the European Union has partly frozen EU funds of about €450 million and may freeze more if Bulgarian authorities do not show solid progress in fighting corruption and in speeding up reforms.
Bulgaria has tamed its inflation since the deep economic crisis in 1996-1997, but latest[update] figures show an increase in the inflation-rate to 12.5% for 2007. Unemployment declined from more than 17% in the mid 1990s to nearly 7% in 2007, but the unemployment-rate in some rural areas continues in high double-digits. Bulgaria’s inflation means that the country’s adoption of the Euro might not take place until the year 2013-2014. Bulgaria’s economy contracted dramatically after 1987 with the dissolution of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), with which the Bulgarian economy had integrated closely. The standard-of-living fell by about 40%, but it regained pre-1990 levels in June 2004. United Nations sanctions against Yugoslavia and Iraq took a heavy toll on the Bulgarian economy. The first signs of recovery emerged in 1994 when the GDP grew and inflation fell. During the government of Zhan Videnov’s cabinet in 1996, the economy collapsed due to lack of international economic support and an unstable banking system. Since 1997, the country has been on the path to recovery, with GDP growing at a 4% - 5% rate, increasing FDI, macroeconomic stability and European Union membership.
The former NMSII government elected in 2001 pledged to maintain the fundamental economic policy-objectives adopted by its predecessor in 1997, specifically: retaining the Currency Board, implementing sound financial policies, accelerating privatization, and pursuing structural reforms. Economic forecasts for 2005 and 2006 predicted continued growth for the economy. Economists predicted annual year-on-year GDP growth for 2005 and 2006 of 5.3% and 6.0% respectively. Forecasters expected industrial output in 2005 to rise by 11.9% from the previous year, and by 15.2% in 2006. Unemployment for 2005 was projected at 11.5%, 9% for 2006 and 7.25% for 2007. As of 2006 the GDP structure is: agriculture 8.0%; industry 26.1%; services 65.9%.
As I already mentioned above, Turkey was an older candidate than Bulgaria in the process of accession. Bulgaria became a member of EU however, for Turkey, there are obstacles in the accession to EU which are listed above. I tried to list all the details about Turkey’s accession process to EU, which is much more complicated than Bulgaria’s accession process. Before restating the main differences, I would like to say that Turkey and Bulgaria have structural and ethnic differences that is why a number of issues are even not opened to discussion for Bulgaria during its accession process on the other hand, Turkey is carrying out the negotiations about a large scale of subjects concerned by even non-European countries in the Middle East. This is caused by Turkey’s large scope in foreign affairs and geopolitical significance, as well. If Turkey become a member to the ‘Club’, this membership would dispose Turkey into a new place -closer to Europe obviously- which is much more skeptical to its Eastern Neighbor’s policies, especially to the Iranian Policies.
Comparing these two countries accession processes to EU is not easy-to-do thing since countries’ characteristics are very different although they both used to be inheritor of the Ottoman Empire. First of all, comparing these two countries’ sizes and population, it must be noted that Bulgaria, with its 7.6 million populations, is an easy-to-digest country for EU compared to Turkey with its 73 million populations. We must remember that the countries’ populations seriously affect this country’s share from the EU budget, EU’s structural funds as well as the country’s representation within the Council of Europe. Since core countries of the Union such as France and Germany are not willingly to give up from their advantaged position in the Council, Turkish membership is much more difficult than the Bulgarian accession to EU.
Secondly, although Bulgarian state also had some serious problems concerning economic standards and organized crime, Bulgaria never had a political problem like the problems in Turkey caused by Turkish separatist movements. Although 10 % of the Bulgarian population consisted of Turks, unlike Kurds in Turkey, Turks in Bulgaria are accepted as minority and they have never used terrorism methods in order to speak up about their rights. The lack of ethnic separatist terror in Bulgaria was a big advantage for the country’s accession to EU compared to Turkey. Turkey’s Kurdish problem seems to be difficult-to-solve since terror is involved and pains of Turkish people are very fresh.
Lastly, I would like to restate the religious differences between Turkey and Bulgaria, which is widely discussed in this conjuncture. As discussed widely, there are some serious criticisms about the European Union for being a “Christian Club” especially concerning some policies and speeches of the Christian Democrat and ultra-nationalist leaders in European countries. Bulgaria with its very high majority of Orthodox Christian population is not a threat for European conservatives whereas Turkey with its Muslim population poses as the “other” of the Christian Europe. This differences is not a new phenomena however religion is a rising value in today’s understanding of world politics and extremist Islamic groups in Europe is one of the main concerns of European politicians that leads a considerable skepticism to Muslim countries.
- Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria and Romania, Official Journal L 157 of 21 June 2005
- Aydınlı, Ersel, (2002), “Between Security and Liberalization: Decoding Turkey’s Struggle with the PKK”, Security Dialogue, Vol. 33, No: 2, pp. 209-225
- Avcı, Gamze, (2003), “Pan European Conference on European Union Politics”
- Hughes, James, (2005), “Europeanization and regionalization in the EU’s enlargement to Central and Eastren Europe”, LSE Research Online
- Rumford, Dr. Chris, (2001), “European Cohesion: Contradictions in EU integration”, The Political Quarterly, Volume: 72, issue: 1
- Hale, William & Öniş, Ziya & Baç, Meltem Müftüler, (2003), Turkey and the European Union: Domestic Politics, Economic Integration and International Dynamics
- Yeşilada, Birol A, (2002), “Turkey’s Candidacy for EU membership”, The Middle East Journal, Vol.56, No: 1, pp. 94-111
- Özbudun, Ergun & Yazıcı, Serap, (2004), Democratization Reforms in Turkey (1993-2004), İstanbul: TESEV
- BBC News Online, http://news.bbc.co.uk/
- European Commission Turkish Delegation, http://www.deltur.cec.eu.int/
- Örmeci, Ozan, 2008, “Türkiye-Avrupa Birliği İlişkileri” in İttihat ve Terakki’den AKP’ye Türk Siyasal Tarihi, İstanbul: Güncel Yayıncılık
- Bos, Stefan (01 January 2007), “Bulgaria, Romania Join European Union”, VOA News, Voice of America. Retrieved on 2009-01-02
- “World Bank: Data and Statistics: Country Groups”, The World Bank Group (2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-27
- AFP News Briefs (2008-03-28), “Barroso slams Bulgaria’s rampant corruption”
- The Associated, “Bulgaria’s economy grew by 6.2 percent on year in 1Q - International Herald Tribune”. Iht.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-02
 Örmeci, Ozan, “Türkiye-Avrupa Birliği İlişkileri” in İttihat ve Terakki’den AKP’ye Türk Siyasal Tarihi, p. 239
 It is argued that there were three reasons which contributed to the EU’s decision to accept Turkey as a candidate state. Firstly, the rapprochement with Greece especially stemming in part from mutual co-operation in the aftermath of 1999 earthquakes, led Greece not to veto Turkey’s candidacy. Secondly, in Europe, the Social Democratic governments came to power who are compared to the Christian Democrats more in favour of Turkish candidacy. Thirdly, The US under the presidency of Clinton supported Turkish candidacy and lobbied for Turkey in the European capitals. For details see, (Avcı, 2003:150).
 Aydınlı defines politicization as “any international political recognition of the PKK”. See (Aydınlı, 2002:212).
 In particular the Copenhagen political criteria are stressed in this document. The document includes the issue of Cyprus, strengthening legal and constitutional guarantees relating to the freedom of expression, freedom for non-violent demonstrations and meetings, the fight against torture, support for the development of civil society, freedom of broadcasting for Turkish citizens in their mother tongues, and constitutional and legal arrangements relating to the abolition of the death penalty. It also points to economic criteria and changes to be made for legislative harmonization. For details see; http://www.deltur.cec.eu.int/default.asp?lang=1&ndx=12&mnID=3&ord=3&subOrd=2 .
 For the details of the National Report, see the Turkish National Program for the adoption of the Acquis at http://www.deltur.cec.eu.int/english’nationalprogrtr.html.
 Amendments were related to the articles affecting the freedoms of expression, organization and assembly, the use of minority languages, the partial abolition of the death penalty, and the role of the military in politics. For the role of the military in politics, structural reforms have been passes to curtail the NSC’s powers by increasing the number of the civilians in the council.
 Nationalist Action Party was a key member of the incumbent coalition government and according to Öniş, it has been playing a major role in terms of explicitly blocking some of the major political reforms needed to meet the EU’s democratic norms in the post 1999 era. See (Öniş, p. 14).
 With this removal, conformity with the Sixth Additional Protocol to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) was attained.
 In this summit, ten current candidates concluded their accession negotiations and they signed their Accession treaties in Athens on April 16, 2003. Bulgarian and Romanian accession negotiations will be concluded in 2007.
 The other decisions about Turkey that were taken in the Summit were: Preparation of a revised Accession Partnership; concentration of work on the harmonization of legislation; development and deepening of the Customs Union; significantly increasing financial cooperation; and inclusion of financial assistance to Turkey in the accession budget. See http://www.deltur.cec.eu.int/default.asp?lang=1&ndx=12&mnID=3&ord=1.
 See article 22 of Presidency Conclusion of the Brussels European Council of December 16-17 in http://www.deltur.cec.eu.int/default.asp?lang=1&ndx=12&mnID=3&ord=1.
 France's CSA polling organization found that for 14% of all French voters Turkey's possible entry to the EU was the most important issue in the referendum. For details, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4607955.stm.
 For details, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4119580.stm.
 For details, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4632353.stm.
 For details, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4539179.stm.
 It is believed in Turkey that, the Iraq war and establishment of a federal Kurdish state in Northern Iraq have escalated the PKK attacks.
 Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of PKK is labelled as a terrorist by the U.S.A, France, and United Kingdom. See (Müftüler-Baç, 2000).
 Bos, Stefan (01 January 2007). “Bulgaria, Romania Join European Union”, VOA News, Voice of America. Retrieved on 2 January 2009.
 World Bank: Data and Statistics: Country Groups”. The World Bank Group (2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-27.
 AFP News Briefs (2008-03-28). “Barroso slams Bulgaria’s rampant corruption”, AFP, France 24. Retrieved on 15 October 2008. “High-level corruption and organized crime have no place in the European Union and cannot be tolerated” Barroso said after talks with Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev. Barroso arrived on a one-day visit to Sofia on Friday amid a high-level corruption scandal that has shaken Stanishev’s centre-left government. Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 but continues to face strong criticism from Brussels for failing to root out high-level corruption and put well-known criminal bosses behind bars. Corruption concerns also prompted Brussels recently to partly freeze pre-accession subsidy payments of at least 450 million euros still due to the EU newcomer”.
 Koinova, Elena (2008-05-12). “Bulgaria to adopt the euro in 2013-2014, UniCredit says”, Sofia Echo, Sofia Echo Media Ltd. Retrieved on 1 September 2008. “Bulgaria and Romania would likely join the euro zone in 2013-2014, the analytical unit of UniCredit Group said in its latest report titled the Euro goes Eastwards”.
 The Associated, “Bulgaria’s economy grew by 6.2 percent on year in 1Q -International Herald Tribune”. Iht.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-02.