In 2006, Bulgaria was a country of approximately 7.5 million people located in Southeastern Europe. It was a parliamentary republic led by Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, who had been in office since 2005. According to constructmaterials, Bulgaria had made considerable progress in rebuilding its economy and infrastructure following the fall of communism in 1989. The country’s primary source of income was still based on industry and manufacturing, but tourism and services were growing steadily due to increased foreign investment from neighboring countries such as Greece and Romania. Poverty and inequality were still prevalent, with nearly 30% of the population living below the poverty line. Despite this, access to education had improved since 2000 with primary school attendance rate increasing from approximately 80% to over 90% by 2006. Additionally, economic growth had been steady since 2000 due to increased foreign investment from around the world. Tourism was also increasing as more people became aware of Bulgaria’s unique culture and landscapes including Sofia, Plovdiv, Rila Monastery, and the Black Sea Coast.
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must, among other things, continue to report anti-corruption and crime initiatives, and they risk getting subsidies withdrawn if fraud is detected or the management of EU money is delayed.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.