Bulgaria became the 26th member of Council of Europe (CoE) in 1992. Bulgaria’s membership fee is 0,28% of its budget. In the field of culture, Bulgaria participates in the two Steering Committees of the CoE – the Steering Committee on Culture and the Steering Committee on Cultural Heritage. In 2019, Bulgaria signed the Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production (revised). The contribution of Bulgaria to the Council of Europe’s budget for 2019 is EUR 1 215 152.
In 2018, Bulgaria hosted the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and, within its framework, organised the Eighth ACEM Meeting of Ministers of Culture. The forum discussed issues of culture as a driving engine for sustainable social and economic development, promoting culture and international dialogue, and enhancing cultural heritage cooperation.
Bulgaria has joined UNESCO in 1956 and in 2007 became a member of its Executive Board. Bulgaria is a member of two intergovernmental committees: the MOST Program and the International Hydrological Program. The country has signed the Convention for the Conservation of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, the Convention for the Conservation of Underwater Heritage, the Convention for the Conservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The main national body for cooperation with UNESCO is the National Commission for UNESCO in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey. Bulgaria hosted the Presidency of the Council in 2019. In a forum in Sofia with representatives of the European Commission and UNESCO, Bulgaria proposed and other members agreed on establishing a permanent fund to support the work of artist from the Balkans and the cultural cooperation in the region. Further actions to establish the fund will be decided during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Bulgaria joined the MEDIA II Programme in 2000. Having worked with the MEDIA programme for many years, the Ministry of Culture continued this partnership after 2013, when the Media, Media Mundus and Culture programs were replaced by Creative Europe. The Creative Europe Program Bureau has two offices – Media and Culture. Under the Creative Europe and Media programs in 2018, projects from Bulgaria were supported with a total value of 645 555 euros. The Office Culture offers additional information on the application procedures.
The Ministry of Culture was engaged in carrying out the procedure for the selection of a Bulgarian city for the European Capital of Culture 2019, which was launched in 2012 (see chapter 1.1).
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.