Bulgaria. At the beginning of the year, the EU held Bulgaria on the bench for its planned membership in the Union on 1 January 2007. In statements in the spring, both Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn and EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso stressed that the judicial system needs to be further reformed and the efforts to combat corruption and organized crime further intensified.. Otherwise, it was called, entry into the Union risked being postponed for at least a year. In September, however, the European Commission gave both Bulgaria and Romania clear signatures for membership at the turn of the year, although this was done subject to certain conditions. Countries must, among other things, continue to report anti-corruption and crime initiatives, and they risk getting subsidies withdrawn if fraud is detected or the management of EU money is delayed.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Bulgaria include Independence Day (October 5) and New Year (January 1). President Georgi Parvanov was re-elected in October for a second five-year term. Parvanov received more than half of the votes already in the first round, but since the turnout was lower than 50%, a second round was held between the two leading candidates. The second was the candidate of the Ultranationalist Attacks Volen Siderov. In the second round, Parvanov won with 73% of the vote.
In connection with a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in April, Bulgaria and the United States signed an agreement on security cooperation which meant that up to 3,000 US soldiers were stationed in Bulgaria for a ten-year period.
In December, five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced for the second time to death in Libya. They were accused of deliberately infecting several hundred Libyan children with HIV. The death sentences caused sharp criticism in Bulgaria and the rest of the world when the evidence was rejected by international expertise. A first trial was held in 2004, but the Supreme Court ordered a retrial.