Bilateral Development Co-operation
Bulgaria has a tradition in providing development assistance to the Western Balkan countries, guided by the strategic goal of their successful integration into the EU in the medium and long term.
The Western Balkans were a central and priority topic for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, during which their European perspective and integration were confirmed by the adoption of the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans, the Sofia Declaration and the EU Council conclusions of 26 June 2018. The admission of the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania to NATO and the March 2020 EU Council decision to open accession negotiations with the two countries, confirming the 2003 Thessaloniki Agenda, are driving a positive change in the situation in the region. The initiatives within the framework of the Berlin Process, whose joint presidency in 2020 is held by Bulgaria and the Republic of North Macedonia, also support the European integration of the countries in the region.
Development cooperation has established itself as one of Bulgaria’s important foreign policy activities, which deepens the country’s tangible presence in the Western Balkan countries at national and local level. This cooperation will also lead to development of economic partnerships and expansion of trade and economic ties.
In programming and implementing its development assistance in the Western Balkans, Bulgaria will seek synergies with the EU and EU Member States and other donors, paying particular attention to the interaction on the ground.
The National Development Programme BULGARIA 2030 and the EU Development Cooperation Policy will be contributing to the overall coordinated focus of projects in the Western Balkans on aiding partner countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Bulgaria will continue to view the Eastern Partnership countries as priority partners considering the geographical proximity, the longstanding links of friendship and the desire to support these countries in their efforts to move closer to and integrate with the EU. In the ongoing pursuit of this cooperation, Bulgaria will participate in the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the strategic vision for the Eastern Neighbourhood.
Bulgaria will engage in enhanced interaction on the ground with the EU, EU Member States and other donors, especially in tackling the negative socio-economic impact of the global COVID-19 crisis.
Bulgaria will be paying increasing attention to providing development assistance and humanitarian aid to the countries of the Middle East and North Africa with a view to addressing the root causes of irregular migration and refugee waves by means of promoting sustainable development, creating employment on the ground, and strengthening stability and peace.
Within the context of overcoming the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the countries and communities of the Middle East and North Africa will be assisted in their efforts to enhance their preparedness to respond to such challenges and to improve their resilience.
Expanding this aspect of its development cooperation, Bulgaria will be participating in the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy and in the implementation of the EU development, cooperation and humanitarian aid instruments, funds and mechanisms in response to COVID-19, the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, etc.
Seeking an effective combination of humanitarian aid and development aid, Bulgaria will be interacting on the ground with the EU, EU Member States and other donors.
4. Sub-Saharan Africa
Bulgaria will invigorate its partnership with four least developed and less developed countries of sub-Saharan Africa, carrying forward this geographical priority from the Mid-term Programme for the Period 2016-2019, guided by the ‘no one left behind’ principle of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, acting in line with the main strands of the EU’s comprehensive Strategy with Africa.
This renewed partnership will take advantage of the tradition in the friendly relations and the accumulated experience in trade and economic cooperation. The existence of Bulgarian embassies and consulates in the region covering those countries and of associations of people who have graduated in Bulgaria is a favourable factor to the implementation of projects.
Bulgaria will be making available its experience and expertise in the sectors of education (offering scholarships), healthcare and agriculture (sending Bulgarian professionals, including volunteers, and sharing knowledge and experience) in order to enhance the sustainable development in partner countries, to improve their resilience in response to various challenges related to migration, climate change, economic development and employment. Tackling the adverse socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will require continuous efforts in the medium term.
The coordinated interaction on the ground with the EU and EU Member States will increase the possibilities to pursue development cooperation.
Bulgaria has a long-standing tradition of friendly relations with Vietnam and will continue to provide development assistance to that country with a view to facilitating its sustainable development. The development aid to Mongolia will continue to be provided in line with the modalities of the intergovernmental agreement in the sectors of education and agriculture.
Bulgaria has been providing development assistance to Afghanistan over the last two decades. At this stage and in the near future, the possibilities to implement projects on the ground are blocked owing to the high security risks caused by the complicated military and political situation and continued hostilities. Therefore, administrative capacity building projects and training projects will be implemented mainly in Bulgaria.
 Council Conclusions of 11 May 2020 on Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2020, available online at https://
mail&utm_campaign=Eastern+Partnership+policy+beyond+2020%3a+Council+approves+conclusions, and Joint Communication by the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy JOIN(2020) 7 final/18.3.2020, available online at https://ec.europa.eu/
neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/joint_communication_on_the_eap_policy_beyond_2020.pdf. An Eastern Partnership Summit took place in June 2020.
 JOIN(2020) 4 final/ 9.3.2020
Development Projects Reports
Project “Youth Leadership for the Development and Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals” (Проект на Международния център за младежко развитие PETRI - София, „Младежко лидерство за развитие и реализация на Целите за устойчиво развитие“, изпълнен през 2017 – 2018 г.)