Greek and Bulgaria share a common heritage which plays a role of a solid foundation of the diplomatic relations between the two countries. Both countries were once under the Turkish Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries in the early 15th century. Despite having a rough and turbulent history, they have transformed their relations to a great extent from last several years. In the decades of 1970 and 1980, they took major steps forward to work hard on their diplomatic relations as neighboring countries. The friendship seems to be deepening and now evolving even more as both of the countries are a member of EU countries and NATO. Greece is also supporting the inclusion of Bulgaria into the Schengen Area. The two countries are working on strengthening new economic and political ties amongst each other and are in noticeably good relations.
The seeds of the current diplomatic relations between Greek and Bulgaria were first planted in 1908. Since then they are taking small and constructive steps to build strong relations. In the decades of the 70s and 80s, the political leaders from both countries held many meetings to discuss many internal and mutual political issues. Many political and economic policies came into action during that period which is still continuing. They have now established embassies in each other’s countries to support their people to explore the other country. More than 300,000 Greek citizens visit Bulgaria every year and Greece also experiences an almost equal number of tourists from Bulgaria. Apart from tourism, they are also co-operating in various political and economic issues. There are frequent visits of officials from higher authorities between the two countries.
The Hellenic Educational Association of Sofia is working wonderfully in Bulgaria, helping students to learn Greek. On the other hand, Federation of Cultural and Educational Associations of Karakatsani of Bulgaria is helping over 28,000 Greeks to receive the education in Bulgaria. Bulgaria has started investing in Greece’s economy and foreign trade which is helping its GDP to grow. Greece has also made multiple investments in various sectors and is one of the most significant investors in Bulgaria. There has been a report published by Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy which has been carefully summarized here in this article calling the diplomatic relations between the two countries a “Success Story”. This will help you get an overall idea of the current political and economic scenario between them. You can also learn about the current development on their bilateral relations here.
The way forward
After the establishment of the High-Level Cooperation Council, the political ties between them have only been strengthened. The council was established in 2010 to help protect the political relations between the countries. But so far there have been only 3 meetings and they have a long way to go. Both the countries are struggling in certain areas and with mutual support and co-operation, they can easily come out of it.