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Bulgaria/ 3.4 International cultural co-operation  

3.4.3 European / international actors and programmes

Bulgaria participates in multilateral cultural co-operation in several ways:

  1. Participation of Bulgarian experts in EU working groups / task forces concerning the implementation of international policies, legal instruments and key papers in the culture and audiovisual sphere and copyright;
  2. Implementation of international legal instruments (treaties, conventions, agreements) in the cultural field through their adoption, accession, ratification and enforcement in Bulgarian law. Bulgaria is a party to the following international conventions in the field of culture (see Table 7 in  chapter 5.2);
  3. Participation in EU programmes

Bulgaria took part in the European Union's Kaleidoscope (7 projects), Ariane (3 projects) and Raphael (1 project) cultural co-operation programmes. Among the first examples of large-scale cultural projects involving public, private, non-governmental organisations and interdepartmental groups was the Plovdiv 1999 European Month of Culture Programme.

Bulgaria joined the EU's Culture 2000 Programme (2000-2004) in 2001. The European Integration Department at the Ministry of Culture's European Integration and International Cultural Cooperation Directorate (currently the International Affairs Unit in the Cultural Policy Directorate), was responsible for disseminating information about the programme as well as consulting potential applications and co-ordinating activities. The Euro-Bulgarian Cultural Centre also provided assistance to potential applicants for Culture 2000 funding.

As an accession country to the EU, Bulgaria had official access to the programme for 2005-2006. With full membership in January 2007, Bulgaria now takes part in the new community programmes such as Culture (2007-2013), Europe for Citizens, Media and Life Long Learning.

During the period 2001-2006, 74 projects with Bulgarian participation were approved under the Culture 2000 programme, of which there were 16 with Bulgarian lead organisations, 27 with Bulgarian co-organisers and 7 with associated partners.

Bulgaria joined the MEDIA II Programme in 2000, obtaining grants for two projects. In 2002, the Bulgaria joined the MEDIA Plus Programme, and in 2004 a National MEDIA Desk was opened as a separate administrative body of the National Film Centre Executive Agency. During the period 2003-2006, 84 projects with Bulgarian participation were approved by the programme, amounting in total to 1 168 766 EUR.

The participation of Bulgarian professionals in training under the Media Training Programme, for the period 2003-2006, supported 21 successful projects, which were granted 24 146 EUR and 2 329 BGN (a total of 25 337 EUR).

The Cultural Contact Point (of the Culture programme) was established by the Ministry of Culture ( The Life Long Learning programme is coordinated by the Human Resources Development Centre (former Socrates agency and Europe for Citizens, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Under the 2007 call for proposals in the framework of Culture 2007-2013, strand 1.2.1 (cooperation projects), there were 2 projects with Bulgarian lead partners; under strand 1.2.2 (literary translation), there are 6 projects with a Bulgarian lead. In all, 14 projects have Bulgarian co-organisers.

Under the 2008 calls, in strands 1.1 (multiannual projects), 1.2.1 (cooperation projects) and 1.3 (cooperation with third countries), there are 12 projects with Bulgarian co-organisers and none as a lead partner. Under strand 1.2.2 (literary translation), there are 9 projects involving Bulgarian organisations. (Source: EACEA and CCP-Bulgaria).

In 2007 and 2008, under the MEDIA programme, the following support was provided:

  • Media "Training": Module "Organisation of training programmes" - 2 projects totalling 170000 EUR in total (both for TOSMI Training on Open Source Multimedia Instrument) and in the "Support to networking and mobility", 4 projects were supported. Media "Distribution" (2007 and 2008) - Automatic support: 13 projects were awarded a total of 335288 EUR; in the strand "Selective support", the distribution of 37 films was supported in the amount of 189000 EUR.
  • Media "Promotion" (2007 and 2008): 130000 EUR allocated for Sofia Film Meetings; Under Media "Support for festivals" - 85000 EUR was allocated (Source: Media Desk Bulgaria).

Table 1:     Overall number and the total sum of the MEDIA grants, in EUR, 2009

Action line

Number of projects


Training action line
- Initial training for networking and mobility Module
- Continuous training programmes module

MEDIA International 2009 Preparation phase
- lot 1 action line



90 000

25 000

Development action line
- Single projects Module
- i2i audiovisual Module
- TV broadcasting Module


44 500
8 302
80 000

Distribution action line
Distributors: Selective Support Module


155 500

Promotion action line
MEDIA International 2009 Preparation phase
Lot 2 action line



75 000

75 000

Supportforfestivals action line
Festivals Module


77 963

Source:      Media Desk Bulgaria, 

    4.  Participation in other intergovernmental initiatives

In June 2003, Bulgaria was among the first countries in the region of South-East Europe to join the Regional Programme for Natural and Cultural Heritage in SEE (RPSEE) organised by the Council of Europe and the European Commission (with support from the Culture 2000 programme). By the end of 2004, the 1st Component an "Institutional Capacity Building Plan" was accomplished. Since then, the process under the 2nd Component (Integrated Plan for Rehabilitation Projects) provides opportunities for the establishment of improved political and professional foundations, as an argument for future partnership initiatives, for carrying out reconstruction and conservation works and investment projects. As a result of the RPSEE, a Report on architectural and archaeological heritage of the country was accomplished, along with a Priory intervention list (PIL) and a Preliminary Technical assessment and feasibility studies for some of the enlisted sites. In 2007 a Pilot project for local development has been launched for development of a strategy for development of the Strandzha region, followed by a Territorial Charter.

Being a full member of the Francophone Community since 1993, Bulgaria carries out a number of activities in this framework, which are an intrinsic part of multilateral cultural cooperation. As such, the country is regularly, and actively, involved in francophone initiatives on the international scene - in artistic, political and expert formats (including the debates on the drafting and the ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions). Main activities are organised during the annual celebration of 20th March, the International Francophone Day.

The Council of Ministers of Culture in SEE was established in March 2005, in Copenhagen with the aim of contributing to improving the external visibility of the region (inspired by the Nordic Council model). The Charter on the establishment of the Council has been signed by Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, FYROM, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro etc. The Presidency of the Council is arranged on a rotating principle, in alphabetic order. Cultural diversity is considered a defining factor; therefore constructive collaboration in the cultural policy field and the spirit of dialogue are key foundations for further developing South East Europe as an area of political and economic stability. Bulgaria holds the Presidency for the period 1 April 2006 - 31 March 2007 and, as such, it hosted the Second meeting of the Ministers of Culture (Varna, June 2006) where the Opatija Strategy (see above) was approved and an Action Plan for its implementation was adopted.

The Ministry of Culture is responsible for its implementation in cooperation with other relevant bodies (e.g. the Bulgarian National UNESCO Commission).

In 2005, under the aegis of the Bulgarian President and the Director General of UNESCO and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the initiative for Cultural Corridors in South-East Europe got under way. Launched at a summit held in Varna in 2005, this process had a large regional outreach and resulted in a Strategy for identifying, preserving, using and promoting cultural corridors of South-East Europe in a sustainable manner (Opatija, Croatia, 1 June, 2006).

In February 2008 Bulgaria hosted the Second Extraordinary Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2.EXT.COM) in Sofia.

Chapter published: 02-07-2018

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