Bulgaria in 2007Bulgaria in 2007
By Milena Hristova
Bulgaria in 2007 will in every way be a tale of one event - the accession of the country to the European Union. Despite relentless headlines about shocking hikes and behind-the-scenes political haggling, we expect the spectacle to be mildly reassuring.
It will be all about the repercussions of the highlights in 2006:
1. Bulgaria's leftist President Georgi Parvanov made history on October 29 by becoming the first head of state to be re-elected. The success left the leftists dizzy with happiness, a state, which unfortunately, they are not likely to shake off soon.
2. The presidential elections delivered the last rites to Bulgaria's right-wing. It is not hard to predict that the right-wing parties will be in the middle of nowhere next year, as no magic formulae exist to revive them. It is not unity that will cure them, but the long process of healing - a chance for them to go full steam ahead with any changes they have been planning.
3. Nationalist Ataka party turned into the second-biggest party after the elections. It will certainly not be the last nationalist party to capitalize on anger at crime, corruption, poverty and to tap on the ethnic debate.
4. Bulgaria's three-party coalition government marked one year in office and adopted the country's first EU budget. Parvanov's election victory is widely seen as a guarantee for the survival of the coalition till the end of its term. The odds are that the ministers from the ruling coalition and their leaders will keep on going to great lengths to appear as a happy family during many a weekend meetings in many a Bulgarian resorts.
5. The parliament adopted four amendments to the constitution. And fell into the vicious habit of always amending the previous amendment.
6. The star of GERB party brightened the political skyline. Slamming the party as their archenemy, both leftists and rightists see Boyko Borissov as their saviour. The first hope to see him as their coalition partner next year, the others hope to see him unite them.
7. The death sentences of the Bulgarian medics in Libya marred the Christmas holidays in Bulgaria. The trial will be Sofia's first test for Brussels once it enters the European bloc.
8. The year ahead will be a great one for Bulgaria's big business as the EU accession on 1 January 2007 will open up healthy prospects such as ensuring access to the European goods' and services' market and removing barriers before transfers of capital and labour resources.
It will be less good for the small and medium-sized businesses, which will face for the first time fierce competition on the common European market.
For all 2007 will be the start of a new transition period.