Timeline: Bulgaria and the EU
8 May 1990
Bulgaria and the European Economic Community signed the Convention on Trade, Business and Economic Relations. The PHARE Programme was opened for Bulgaria.
1 November 1990
The Convention on Trade, Business and Economic Relations became effective. It envisaged gradual elimination of the quantitative limitations on Bulgarian import to the Community, and making mutual concessions in the field of trade in agricultural goods.
22 December 1990
The Bulgarian Parliament adopted a decision whereby the willingness of the Republic of Bulgaria to become a member of the European Community was expressed. The signing of Europe Agreement with the European Community was regarded as a step towards this ultimate goal.
1 October 1991
The European Council decided to authorize the European Commission to start preliminary talks with Bulgaria for signing Europe Agreement.
17 - 20 December 1991
Preliminary talks on further negotiations for association were started with a Delegation of the European Community that visited Bulgaria.
20 March 1992
The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria established an Interdepartmental Commission on the Association of the Republic of Bulgaria to the European Community. The then Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Ilko Eskenazi was appointed the head of the Commission.
14 - 15 May 1992
The first round of the negotiations for association between Bulgaria and the European Community was held.
May - December, 1992
Seven rounds of the negotiations as well as a number of consultations at political and expert level were held before a Europe Agreement and a Provisional Agreement on Trade and Related Matters were developed.
8 March 1993
The Europe Agreement for Bulgaria and the Provisional Agreement on Trade and Related Matters are signed. The Europe Agreement provided a framework for development of a profound political dialogue and for establishment of a free trade zone covering the trade between Bulgaria and the European Community.
14 - 15 April 1993
The political dialogue between Bulgaria and EU in the framework of the association process was started by the consultations of the Bulgarian Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Relations Lyuben Berov with the President of the European Council and Minister of Foreign Relations of Denmark Nils Helveg Petersen and Foreign Relations Commissioner of the European Communities Hans van den Bruk.
15 April 1993
The Bulgarian Parliament ratified the texts of the Europe Agreement and the Provisional Agreement on Trade and Related Matters.
21 - 22 June 1993
The European Council in Copenhagen concluded: "The associated countries in Central and Eastern Europe that so desire shall become members of the European Union. . . Accession will take place as soon as an associated country is able to assume the obligations of membership by satisfying the economic and political conditions required."
27 October 1993
The European Parliament ratified the Europe Agreement for Bulgaria.
Regular meetings of the work groups within the political dialogue between EU and the associated countries started at expert level.
31 December 1993
The Provisional Agreement on Trade and Related Matters became effective. The 1990 Convention on Trade, Business and Economic Cooperation is suspended in its business part.
The first Additional Protocol (link to Documents) to the Europe Agreement whereby EU makes unilaterally additional business concessions to Bulgaria became effective.
First meeting of the Joint Bulgaria - EU Committee was held. Sub-committees on approximation of legislation, competition, agriculture, transport, and customs cooperation were set up within the Committee. A contact group on ferrous metals was formed.
14 April 1994
The Government of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a declaration confirming the willingness of the country to become a member of the European Union.
24 November 1994
Bulgaria and the other associated countries were invited to join EU declarations on foreign policy and security matters.
Two rounds of consultations with the European Commission on adaptation of the Europe Agreement and improvement of the market access were held in relation to the EU accession of the three EFTA countries Austria, Finland, and Sweden.
9 - 10 December 1994
The European Council in Essen adopted a Strategy on Preparing the Associated CEE Countries for EU accession.
The second Additional Protocol to the Europe Agreement on equalization of the trade liberalization time-schedule for Bulgaria and that of the Visegrad countries became effective.
1 February 1995
The Europe Agreement for Bulgaria became effective.
22 March 1995
The Council of Ministers of Republic of Bulgaria adopted the Decree No 66 whereby a special European integration mechanism, involving a Government Committee, a Coordinating Commission, and a Secretariat on European Integration at the Council of Ministers, was created.
29 May 1995
First meeting of the Bulgaria - EU Association Council was held in Brussels. Bulgaria strategy for EU integration, regional stability, and the free movement of Bulgarian nationals to EU Member States and the Schengen group were discussed.
25 - 26 June 1995
European Council in Cannes adopted the White Paper on the Single Internal Market. The strategy on preparation of the Associated CEE Countries for integration into the Internal Market of the European Union was outlined. A meeting of the Heads of State and Government and the Ministers of foreign affairs of EU Member States and EU associated countries was organized (15+11).
6 - 8 September 1995
A Joint Bulgaria - EU Parliamentary Committee was set up in Sofia. The political and the social and economic situation in Bulgaria, Bulgaria - EU trade and economic relations, cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs, the PHARE Programme performance, the political situation in South and Central Europe were discussed.
25 September 1995
The Council of EU Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs approved a list of the countries (Regulation No. 2317/ 95), with a requirement for their nationals to have visas when crossing the external borders of the Union. Bulgaria is on the list.
9 - 10 November 1995
First meeting of the Bulgaria - EU Association Committee in Sofia was held. A detailed review of the Europe Agreement performance was made.
The Bulgarian Government adopted a decision to apply for EU membership.
14 December 1995
The Bulgarian Parliament adopted a resolution for official application of Bulgaria for EU membership.
15 - 16 December 1995
Third meeting of Heads of State and Government during the European Council in Madrid was held. Javier Solana was given the application of the Republic of Bulgaria for EU membership. The European Council asked the European Commission to prepare an opinion on the membership applications of the associated countries.
The European Commission requested from the Bulgarian Government a detailed questionnaire to be filled in, so that an EC opinion on the Bulgaria application for membership is prepared.
31 July 1996
Answers to the questionnaire were prepared and delivered to the Delegation of the European Commission in Sofia.
14 December 1996
Meeting of the Heads of State and Government of EU Member States, the associated CEE countries, Cyprus, and the Baltic States was held within the European Council in Dublin.
24 - 25 February 1997
Third Association Council meeting was held. A joint analysis of the achieved results in Bulgaria's adaptation to EU accession criteria was made. The opportunities for EU aid and the necessary actions of the new government were discussed in relation to the critical situation in the country with a view to create conditions for development of an opinion by the European Commission on simultaneous start of the negotiations for accession of Bulgaria to the Union.
3 March 1997
The European Commission invited Bulgaria to update the information provided within the questionnaire.
17 - 18 March 1997
EC Commissioner Hans van der Bruk came on an official visit to Sofia. The basic measures to be taken by the Government for preparing Bulgaria for EU enlargement were outlined.
25 April 1997
The up-to-date answers to the European Commission questionnaire on Bulgaria's adaptation to European criteria were submitted to the Delegation of EC to Bulgaria.
16 July 1997
The opinion on Bulgaria's application for membership was published within Agenda 2000. The Republic of Bulgaria was assessed as a candidate country, which was not sufficiently prepared to start negotiations for accession. The European Commission adopted the Accession Partnership.
12 - 13 December 1997
The European Council in Luxemburg decided to start negotiations for accession with Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Cyprus. Along with that the Council decided to accelerate the preparation for negotiations with Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovakia and Rumania by starting a screening of the legislation.
23 March 1998
The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted a National Strategy on Bulgaria's Accession to EU.
27 April 1998
The multilateral screening of the legislation of Bulgaria has started.
The first National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis was prepared.
4 November 1998
The European Commission published the first regular reports on the 1998 progress of the candidate countries towards membership.
10 March 1999
The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted Decree No47 on improvement of the dialogue with the EU and for establishment of a coordination mechanism on Bulgaria's preparation for membership. The Council of European Integration and topical work groups were set up.
13 October 1999
The second European Commission regular reports on candidate countries' progress were published.
29 November 1999
Memorandum on decommissioning Kozloduy NPP units was signed with EC.
10 December 1999
The European Council in Helsinki decided to start negotiations with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania and Malta.
The Council of Ministers of EU decided to update the Accession Partnership for Bulgaria.
20 January 2000
The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria adopted Decree No 3 upon which the Chief Negotiator of Bulgaria, the core team for negotiations and work groups according to negotiations' chapters were appointed.
15 February 2000
The first Intergovernmental Conference on Bulgaria's accession has launched the negotiations for EU membership.
A Committee on European Integration was set up within the Bulgarian Parliament.
28 March 2000
The first work meeting at deputy level was held. Bulgaria presented negotiations' positions on 8 chapters.
25 May 2000
The second meeting at deputy level was held. Six chapters for negotiations were opened and Bulgaria presented four new negotiations' positions.
14 June 2000
The second Intergovernmental Conference at ministers' level was held in Luxemburg. Four negotiations' chapters for were closed ahead of schedule.
2 August 2000
Bulgaria presented its position on the chapter "Free Movement of Capital". 24 October 2000
Third session at deputy level was held in Brussels. Bulgaria presented one position and three new negotiations' chapters were opened.
16 November 2000
Fourth meeting at deputy level was held. Bulgaria presented four negotiations' positions and four chapters were opened for negotiations.
20 November 2000
Third meeting at ministers' level was held. The chapters Culture and Audiovisual Policy, External Relations, Statistics, and Consumers and Health Protection were provisionally closed.
1 December 2000
The Council of Ministers on Justice and Home Affairs decided to exclude Bulgaria of the Schengen visa list.
7 - 9 December 2000
The Nice European Council was held with the participation of the Heads of States and governments of the candidate countries. A decision for EU institutional reforms was made.
30 March 2001
Fifth meeting at deputy level was held. Three new chapters were opened.
17 May 2001
Sixth meeting at deputy heads of delegations level was held. Two new negotiations' chapters were opened.
11 June 2001
Fourth meeting at ministers' level was held. Three new chapters were opened and the chapter on Company Law was provisionally closed.
27 June 2001
7th meeting at deputy level was held (Chief Negotiators' level). Bulgaria presented three negotiations' positions.
27 July 2001
8th meeting at deputy level was held. Two new chapters were opened and the chapter on Free Movement of Capital was provisionally closed.
September - October 2001
Bulgaria presented three positions for negotiations.
26 October 2001
9th meeting at deputy heads level was held. Two chapters were opened and the chapter on Telecommunications was provisionally closed.
28 November 2001
10th meeting at deputy heads of delegations level was held. Three chapters are opened, and the chapter on Freedom to Provide Services was provisionally closed.
20 December 2001
11th meeting at deputy level was held. The chapter on Industrial Policy was opened and provisionally closed.
21 March 2002
12th meeting at deputy level was held. Two chapters were opened for negotiations.
22 April 2002
13th meeting at deputy level was held. The chapters on Economic and Monetary Union, Employment and Social Policy, and Institutions were provisionally closed.
10 June 2002
The chapters on Free Movement of Persons, Free Movement of Goods, and Taxation were provisionally closed.
29 July 2002
The chapter on Customs Union was provisionally closed.
30 September 2002
The chapter on Financial Control was provisionally closed.
9 October 2002
The European Commission's regular reports were published, recommending the accession of 10 new Member States. Bulgaria was recognized as a "functioning market economy". The European Commission expressed its support to Bulgaria's accession to the EU in 2007.
24-25 October 2002
The European Council in Brussels arrived at the decision that the Commission and the Council shall prepare a "package" for Bulgaria and Romania to be presented at the Copenhagen meeting of the Heads of State in December 2002. The "package" should contain a detailed "roadmap" for accession of both countries and increased pre-accession assistance.
18 November 2002
The chapter on Energy was provisionally closed.
12-13 December 2002
The European Council in Copenhagen expressed its supports to Bulgaria and Romania in their efforts to achieve the objective of membership in 2007 and adopted roadmaps of both countries.
2 June 2003
The chapter on Transport policy was provisionally closed.
19-20 June 2003
The European Council in Thessaloniki supported Bulgaria in its efforts to achieve the objective of concluding the negotiations in 2004 and to become a member in 2007.
30 June 2003
The chapter on Environment was provisionally closed.
29 October 2003
The chapter on Justice and Home affairs was provisionally closed.
5 November 2003
The Commission's regular reports were published.
4 June 2004
The chapters Agriculture, Regional policy and coordination of structural instruments and Financial and budgetary provisions were provisionally closed.
15 June 2004
The chapters Competition policy and Other were provisionally closed.
25 April 2005
Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU was signed in Luxemburg.
11 May 2005 - Bulgarian Parliament ratified EU Accession Treaty.
25 October 2005 - Brussels released its Comprehensive Monitoring Report 2005.
26 September 2005 - Bulgaria sent 18 MPs as observers to the European Parliament, which took office in Strasbourg.
16 May 2006 - The European Commission released its Comprehensive Monitoring Report 2006, delaying the final decision on Bulgaria and Romania's accession date for October 2006.
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