Bulgaria. It was a historically important day for the
Bulgarians when the country's flag was first hoisted outside
the NATO headquarters in Brussels in April. Bulgaria joined
the Defense Alliance at the same time as six other former
Warsaw Pact countries.
Formal negotiations with the EU were also concluded
during the year. Bulgaria was given the go-ahead for the
coveted membership in 2007, subject to a number of
conditions being met. This included to deal with widespread
corruption and to improve conditions for the Roma minority.
CountryAAH, the total population in Bulgaria is 6,948,456 people in 2020. NATO membership and the agreement with the EU were
feathers in the hat of the government, which could also
point to improved economy and reduced unemployment.
Nevertheless, the dissatisfaction with the center-right
government was great, as living conditions remained
difficult for most Bulgarians. The government coalition also
lost its majority in parliament when a group of Prime
Minister Simeon Sakskoburggotski's party resigned in March.
Towards the end of the year, bourgeois parties discussed an
election alliance ahead of the 2005 parliamentary elections,
an election most predicted that socialists would win.
Several Bulgarian soldiers who were part of the country's
nearly 500-strong force in Iraq were killed during the year.
Two civilian Bulgarian truck drivers who were kidnapped were
also killed. A majority of Bulgarians opposed the presence
in Iraq, but the government maintained its support for the
Sakskoburggotski announced in May that the construction
of a nuclear power plant outside Belene would resume after
laying down since 1991. It was expected to be the
government's largest investment project during the year and
would attract foreign investors and reduce unemployment.