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Abstract

Bulgaria’s domestic industry in agriculture has gone through a fast series of shifts over the past sixty years. In 1947, like other East European states, it began to break ties with the Western world by refusing Marshall Plan aid following World War II, and by joining the Communist Information Bureau. From this point until 1989, Bulgaria was steeped in a centrally-planned Soviet-styled economy marked by an emphasis upon output production, urbanisation, and industrialisation. With 1989 came the fall of Bulgaria’s communist regime and the beginning of a transition to a market economy. In 1991, Bulgaria began negotiations with the European Community to discuss possible future accession and the signing of the Europe Agreement, and in 2007 joined the European Union. Each of these dates has marked a turning point in Bulgaria’s relationship with its agricultural sector. Since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has been regaining an old comparative advantage in agriculture, which along with a newly developed service sector provides for the bulk of its employment and GDP. Bulgaria now stands locked into a system of polarised farm structures, though it has successfully reoriented its trade outward and is receiving the benefits of admittance into the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy. This paper will investigate the transition of Bulgaria’s agricultural sector from the pre-communist and communist periods to contemporary European Union membership. Ultimately, Bulgaria is benefiting from the discovery of a trading bloc to replace old Soviet networks, and from opportunities provided by the strong protection of agriculture in the EU.

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