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Bulgaria

(last updated: August 2018)
 

Bulgaria recognised Estonia on 20 May 1921 and once again on 26 August 1991. Diplomatic relations were restored on 10 September 1991.

Estonia has been represented in Bulgaria by ambassadors Peeter Reštšinski (1999-2000), Aivo Orav (2001-2005) and Ants Frosch (2006-2007), who all resided in Warsaw. 

The first Estonian ambassador to reside in Sofia was Rein Oidekivi (2007-2011).

In the period 2011-2016 the Estonian ambassador to Bulgaria was Toomas Kukk, residing in Vilnius. The current Estonian ambassador to Bulgaria, Ants Frosch, presented his credentials to Bulgarian President Rumen Radev on 17 July 2017. The Ambassador resides in Bucharest.

Bulgaria had an embassy in Tallinn from 2008 until 2011 and it was led by Ambassador Petio Petev, the first Bulgarian ambassador to reside in Tallinn, from 15 July 2009 – 1 October 2011. After the embassy in Tallinn was closed, Bulgaria covers Estonia from its embassy in Helsinki. The current ambassador Martin Ivanov, presented his credentials to President Ilves on 28 September 2016. On 29 September 2003, Estonia opened its first honorary consulate in Sofia. The office of honorary consul is held by Boris Halatchev. As of the fall of 2012, Petko Roussinov is Estonia's honorary consul in Burgas.

 

Visits

To Estonia
November 2016 Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria and Minister of Education and Science Meglena Kuneva
September 2013 Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev on an official visit
October 2012 Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov
September 2011 Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in Tallinn
September 2010 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov
May 2010 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Simeon Djankov
April 2010 Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov at the informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Tallinn
August 2009 Bulgarian Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva for the informal meeting of female speakers of EU member states
January 2006 Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivailo Georgiev Kalfin
November 2004 Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha
To Bulgaria
Aprill 2016 Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand in Sofia
January 2014 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a working visit to Sofia
January 2011 Minister of the Interior Marko Pomerants
August 2010 Chairman of Riigikogu Ene Ergma in Varna at a meeting of the female EU parliament speakers
March 2009 Chairman of Riigikogu Ene Ergma
November 2008 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet
November 2006 Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
April 2006 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet in the NATO foreign ministers’ informal meeting in Sofia
May 2005 President Arnold Rüütel on a state visit
March 2004 Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland

Agreements

  • Agreement on International Transport of Passengers and Goods (came into force 12.08.99);
  • Basic Agreement Between the Defence Ministries of Estonia and Bulgaria on Defence Related Co-operation (signed 20.06.00, in force as of signing);
  • Agreement on the Abolishment of Visa Requirements (came into force 8.11.03);
  • Agreement on Readmission of Persons (came into force 8.11.03);
  • Culture and Education Co-operation Agreement (signed 1.03.04)
  • Agreement for the Exchange and Mutual Protection of Classified Information (came into force 19.05.05);
  • Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (came into force 30.12.2008)
  • Agreement between the ministries of interior of Estonia and Bulgaria on border management and criminal police cooperation (came into force 24.11.2010).
  • Agreement on amending the agreement for the Exchange and Mutual Protection of Classified Information (came into force 10.02.11)
  • In addition, numerous of other official agreements have been concluded.

Economic Relations

TRADE

Considering the trade statistics between Bulgaria and Estonia, it is clear that Bulgaria’s relative importance in Estonia’s foreign trade has been small. Prior to Bulgaria’s accession to the EU, trade remained stable at about 0.04% of Estonia’s total trade turnover. As of 2007, the percentage has risen to about 0.1% of total trade turnover.

In 2017, export to Bulgaria amounted to €31 mln (+22% compared to 2016), which accounted for 0.2 % of total exports (41st among export partners). Goods worth approximately €13 mln were imported from Bulgaria (+41 % compared to 2016), which accounted for 0.1 % of total imports (43rd among import partners). Exports from Estonia to Bulgaria have grown from 20 % in 2014 to 49% in 2017.

 

Estonia-Bulgaria trade 2013 - 2017 (million EUR)

  Export Import Turnover
2013 25.9 14.3 40.2
2014 28.4 10.1 38.5
2015  24.7 11.3 36.0
2016 25.4 8.9 34.3
2017 31.0 12.6 43.6

Main export and import articles in 2017

• Main export articles to Bulgaria in 2017: machinery and equipment (38%), chemical products (11%), animal products (5%).

• Main import articles from Bulgaria in 2017: machinery and equipment (37%), transport equipment (18%), textiles and textile articles (9%) and food and drinks (7%).

All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia

INVESTMENTS

According to Bank of Estonia data, as of December 31, 2017, Estonian direct investments in Bulgaria were worth 33.3 million euros, which is 0.5% of all of Estonia's direct investments abroad. Estonian investors have directed their resources primarily to wholesale and retail trade, information and communication services, finance and insurance activities, real estate and professional, scientific and technical activities.

Bulgaria’s direct investment in Estonia amounted to €2,6 million. Investments are primarily made in professional, scientific and technical activities and real estate.

According to the Estonian Business Register, as of May 2017, 41 companies with Bulgarian shareholders have been registered in Estonia.

TOURISM

Estonia’s popularity as a destination has steadily increased. Last year, 2822 Bulgarians tourists stayed in Estonia overnight, compared to approximately 1500 in 2013. Most popular places to visit, in addition to Tallinn, are the counties of Tartumaa and Lääne-Virumaa.

 

Culture and Education

Due to the geographical distance between them, cultural relations between Estonia and Bulgaria have been modest. However, within the past decade, reciprocal interest in each others cultural heritage and in intensifying bilateral contacts has increased.

From the viewpoint of bilateral relations, one important fact that deserves mentioning is that 30 years ago the Bulgarian language began to be taught in Estonia. The seeds for this were sown by translator and pedagogue Lubomir Zanev, who in 1981 began teaching Bulgarian at what was then Tallinn Pedagogical University. Today it is possible to study Bulgarian as an elective in the Slavic Languages and Cultures Institute at Tallinn University.

Estonian literature, including childrens’ books, has been translated into Bulgarian fairly extensively in the past. Eno Raud’s “Naksitrallid” is very well-known and loved among schoolchildren in Bulgaria. Estonian poetry has recently been translated by Zdravko Kissiov (Kaplinski, Traat, Puu, and others), and in 2009 the President of the Republic recognised Kissiov's work with the Order of the Cross of Terra Marianna 4th class. Another prolific translator of Estonian literature is Dora Janeva-Mednikova, who has in recent years put the works of Anton Hansen-Tammsaare, Betti Alver, and Erni Krusten into Bulgarian. In June of 2008 an “Estonian poetry wall” was opened at 5 Serdika Street in downtown Sofia with a Jaan Kaplinski poem in Estonian, Bulgarian and English. It is part of the joint project of EU embassies located in Sofia and EU candidate states called “Wall-to-Wall Poetry”, with the goal of introducing Europe’s values and bringing them closer to people.

Bulgaria and Estonia have many sister cities, for example Gorna Orjahhovitsa and Narva, Smolyan and Võru, and Kurbat and Türi.

 

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