Twenty years ago, on 15 December 1995, Bulgaria presented its EU membership application, ending months of uncertainty over its geopolitical aspirations. On the occasion of this anniversary, EurActiv spoke to several political figures from that period.
Today, it may seem only natural that Bulgaria is a member of NATO and of the EU. But 20 years ago, in 1995, it was not clear what the intentions of the country’s authorities were. Even less clear were the plans of the European institutions vis-à-vis Bulgaria and Romania.
As Bulgarian diplomats remember, in the mid-1990s, when the country first opened its Mission to the European Communities, there were not many occasions when they could speak to counterparts who could provide insights about EU strategy.
Geoffrey Harris, a high official of the European Parliament, was one of the rare officials who had been accessible at that time, when the scope of enlargement was being designed.
One of the possible scenarios was a small enlargement, starting with Hungary, seen then as the star pupil of the class. Another scenario was for a “big bang” including all ten Central and East European states, which eventually made the fifth EU enlargement, in 2004 and 2007.
Read full article