Is Bulgaria safe?
Bulgaria is a safe country. However, like in any other touristic country, unfair individuals want to take an advantage of distracted tourists, thence the most common crimes are pick-pocketing, bag snatching and other financially driven offenses
Is Bulgaria rich or poor?
The global economic downturn ended a run of strong economic growth for the country. Bulgaria has a well-educated workforce, but it is considered the poorest nation in the European Union. Among the challenges it faces are perceived problems of corruption and organized crime.
Speakers Bulgarian: 8 millions. Macedonian: 2.5 millions. In the 6th to 3rd century BC this region was a battleground for Thracians, Persians, Celts and ancient Macedonians. Stability came when the Roman Empire conquered the region in AD 45. In 1946 Bulgaria became a part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. The ruling Communist Party gave up its political monopoly after the revolutions of 1989 and allowed multi-party elections, and Bulgaria then transitioned into a democracy and a market-based economy.
Background: The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People’s Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.
Bulgaria, a former Communist country that entered the EU on 1 January 2007, averaged more than 6% annual growth from 2004 to 2008, driven by significant amounts of bank lending, consumption, and foreign direct investment. Successive governments have demonstrated a commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but the global downturn sharply reduced domestic demand, exports, capital inflows, and industrial production. GDP contracted by 5.5% in 2009, and has been slow to recover in the years since. Despite having a favorable investment regime, including low, flat corporate income taxes, significant challenges remain. Corruption in public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime continue to hamper the country’s investment climate and economic prospects.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $104.6 billion (2013 est.).
Country comparison to the world: 74
Major European transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and, to a lesser degree, South American cocaine for the European market; limited producer of precursor chemicals; vulnerable to money laundering because of corruption, organized crime; some money laundering of drug-related proceeds through financial institutions (2008).
Background: Macedonia gained its independence peacefully from Yugoslavia in 1991. Greece’s objection to the new state’s use of what it considered a Hellenic name and symbols delayed international recognition, which occurred under the provisional designation of “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” In 1995, Greece lifted a 20-month trade embargo and the two countries agreed to normalize relations, but the issue of the name remained unresolved and negotiations for a solution are ongoing. Since 2004, the US and over 130 other nations have recognized Macedonia by its constitutional name, Republic of Macedonia. Ethnic Albanian grievances over perceived political and economic inequities escalated into an insurgency in 2001 that eventually led to the internationally brokered Ohrid Framework Agreement, which ended the fighting and established guidelines for constitutional amendments and the creation of new laws that enhanced the rights of minorities. Although Macedonia became an EU candidate in 2005, the country still faces challenges, including fully implementing the Framework Agreement, improving relations with Bulgaria, carrying out democratic reforms, and stimulating economic growth and development. Macedonia’s membership in NATO was blocked by Greece at the Alliance’s Summit of Bucharest in 2008.
Since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has made significant progress in liberalizing its economy and improving its business environment, but has lagged the Balkan region in attracting foreign investment. Unemployment has remained consistently high at more
than 30% since 2008, but may be overstated based on the existence of an extensive gray market, estimated to be between 20% and 45% of GDP, that is not captured by official statistics. Macedonia’s economy is closely linked to Europe as a customer for exports and source of investment, and has suffered as a result of prolonged weakness in the euro zone. Macedonia maintained macroeconomic stability through the global financial crisis by conducting prudent monetary policy, which keeps the domestic currency pegged against the euro, and by limiting fiscal deficits. The government has been loosening fiscal policy, however, and the budget deficit expanded to 4.2% of GDP in 2013. Macedonia achieved modest GDP growth in 2013 after a small contraction in 2012; inflation is under control.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $22.57 billion (2013 est.).
Country comparison to the world: 127
Kosovo and Macedonia completed demarcation of their boundary in September 2008; Greece continues to reject the use of the name Macedonia or Republic of Macedonia
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Stateless persons: 905 (2012)
Major transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and hashish; minor transit point for South American cocaine destined for Europe; although not a financial center and most criminal activity is thought to be domestic, money laundering is a problem due to a mostly cashbased economy and weak enforcement.
(End of CIA World FactBook 2016 about Bulgaria and Macedonia text.)