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6 Facts About Healthcare In BulgariaBulgaria is an Eastern European country south of Greece, north of Romania, and east of the Black Sea. With a population of 7 million and cultural influence from the Ottoman Empire, Greece, and Persia, Bulgaria has a unique and diverse background. Healthcare is a vital aspect of European life and Bulgaria is no different. Here are facts about healthcare in this country.

Bulgaria Has Centralized Healthcare

Healthcare in Bulgaria is largely centralized, with the National Assembly, the National Health Insurance Fund, and the Ministry of Health being the main funders. Social single-payer healthcare is monitored through the NHIF, which covers services included in the benefits package and certain medications. Voluntary healthcare is administered by for-profit insurance companies and deals with both the citizens and providers.

These systems, working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, fund services including emergency care in-patient mental health care and developing medical science. The amount of money spent on healthcare in Bulgaria continues to rise, but fees for citizens are staying the same.

The Bulgarian Healthcare System is Overcrowded

In 2016, Bulgaria had just over 321 hospitals and less than 50,000 beds as the population was continuing to grow. This led to a severe overcapacity of the healthcare system. Just over 5.5 % of working adults serve in the healthcare field. While the number of physicians has increased, general practitioners have been on the decline. This is partly due to aging and the ongoing emigration problem. The number of nurses has continued to be the EU’s worst rate with just 1.1 nurses per physician. Overall, healthcare in Bulgaria faces challenges such as a lack of medical equipment and healthcare providers.

Overall Health is On the Rise

The primary causes of death in Bulgaria are the same as in most European countries: Circulatory diseases, such as coronary heart failure and strokes, and cancers. Despite this, the standardized death rates for circulatory diseases have been steadily decreasing since the 1990s. Deaths by ischaemic heart disease fell by 30% from 2014 to 2015 and cancer deaths have been on the decline for over a decade. This positive trend is due to improved healthcare in Bulgaria and better lifestyle choices.

The Population is Declining

The Bulgarian population has been declining from nine million at the end of the 1980s to fewer than seven million by 2018. The primary reason is a low birthrate, compounded by a high rate of emigration. In 2015, over 13,000 citizens were leaving the country compared with only 9,000 foreigners entering. However, most Bulgarians end up immigrating to other European countries, with 0ver 60,000 Bulgarians migrating each year.

One reason for emigration is that the country is the poorest within the European Union, with most citizens unable to support themselves and healthcare in Bulgaria being difficult to access.

Bulgaria is Well Behind the Rest of the EU

Although healthcare in Bulgaria is good by some measures, the country is far behind the rest of the European Union. The quality of work is so low that protests have taken to the streets against low wages, corruption, and high bills. This led to the government resigning, causing more economic instability within the country. The unemployment rates are lower than in crisis-ridden nations; however, because of low wages, more Bulgarians are considering moving to Greece and Spain that have higher unemployment rates. Bulgaria is often referred to as the unhappiest country in the EU.

Bulgaria’s Increased Healthcare Spending

Healthcare in Bulgaria has been heavily altered by the novel coronavirus, with an increase in healthcare spending by 250 million leva or 123 million euros. Half of the increased spending will go to the National Health Insurance Fund that manages insurance and distributes funds to the healthcare system. A significant portion of the money will go to increasing the salaries of frontline medical staff until the end of the year as well as medical and other health personnel state institutions dealing with the pandemic.

Although Bulgaria is far behind the rest of the European Union in many different ways, Bulgaria is a progressive nation with universal healthcare and low hospital bills. With more investments in general practitioners and healthcare facilities, as well as better living conditions and incentives to increase the population, healthcare in Bulgaria will be stronger than ever.

– Breanna Bonner
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is 
a small nation off of the west coast of the Black Sea. It faced a dramatic government shift in the early 1990s. In 2007, Bulgaria joined the European Union (EU) in hopes of prolonged prosperity. Instead, studies show that Bulgarian citizens are the least happy in the EU. This is the result of many social issues and lifestyle changes over the past couple of decades, but the largest factor that surrounds the dark atmosphere of Bulgaria is its struggling economy. In addition, because of its minimum wage, poverty still prevalent in Bulgaria.

Economic Growths

After transitioning to an open market system in the early 1990s, Bulgaria has seen extreme growth in its economy. Its GDP has been rising over the last three decades. Additionally, there have been increases in the average salary, improved working conditions and developments in finance technology. Moreover, Bulgaria is currently in a demographic dividend. This means that the majority of its population is the working-class age and is contributing to the economy through employment. According to the OECD, the “working age” refers to the population of individuals aged 15-64.

Minimum Wage and Poverty in Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s minimum wage is one of the lowest in the European Union at BGN 610 per month, or $350.4 in the United States. Many common jobs reside within low-skilled labor, such as security guards, factory workers or shop assistants. Poverty in Bulgaria reached a prevalent rate of 7.5% in 2017. Based on a population of nearly seven million people, this means approximately 525,000 Bulgarians were living on less than the U.S. $5.5 each day. For unemployed citizens, the government subsidizes up to 60% of income. However, it is not always a stable amount and can range from BGN 9 to BGN 74.29 per day (equivalent to U.S. $5.20 and $42.90, respectively).

Solutions

The World Bank is working to reduce poverty in Bulgaria through a plan established and verified in 2019. This plan aims to strengthen the nation’s disaster risk management program, follow efforts to combat climate change, improve air quality and increase access to clean water. Additionally, risk management will help to overcome economic issues and a recession predicted by the World Bank as a result of COVID-19. Even as unemployment rates increase due to COVID-19, the Bulgarian economy is protected by a product that is unlikely to decrease in value in the near future– petroleum. Petroleum is Bulgaria’s top export and brought the nation nearly $2 billion in 2018. As it becomes scarcer, the price will increase, leading the nation into a sustainable economic boost.

Telerik Academy School is combating poverty in Bulgaria from the ground-up by offering free courses in computer science for students ages 7-18. This is especially important as Bulgaria becomes more technologically advanced everyday and jobs in computer science become more valuable. Telerik’s mission is to instructing computer expertise at a young age. This will help develop and instill creativity, innovation and logic in younger generations. This will pave the way for their success as adults. Along with coding lessons, Telerik offers programs in Game Development and Algorithmic Programming. Since its establishment in 2002, the academy has earned over 250 medals and awards. Telerik Academy School reached over 12,000 students and plans to instruct 12,000 more by the end of 2024.

The issues surrounding poverty in Bulgaria can not be fixed overnight. However, the country’s long-term economic growth, government transformation and social improvements will rise to the challenge of implementing policies and enacting changes that benefit its citizens. Small nonprofits across the nation assist in fighting poverty in creative ways that enable them to develop sustainably.

Becca Blanke
Photo: Flickr

Cryptocurrency in Bulgaria

In the years following the fall of the Eastern Bloc, Bulgaria still struggles in comparison with the rest of Europe. As of 2016, the government of Bulgaria reported that an estimated 23.4 percent of its population lived below the poverty line, while as of 2017 the unemployed constituted around 6.2 percent of the population. Bulgaria also happens to have the lowest annual salary, minimum wage and average pension amount in Europe, while also suffering high rates of outmigration, governmental corruption and overall mortality. Though these problems may appear overwhelming, the use of cryptocurrency in Bulgaria provides a means by which steps may be taken to mitigate these issues.

Fundamentals of Cryptocurrency

As a medium of exchange, cryptocurrency by its very nature expedites humanitarian aid to distressed regions. This is because it sidesteps the need for a financial institution as an intermediary between grantor and recipient, thus providing a means of direct payment for potentially large amounts. The realities of governmental and organizational corruption and incompetence that hinder international aid may be entirely evaded, resulting in more effective and efficient aid conveyance even to the most turbulent locations.

Furthermore, an estimated 40 percent of adults, mostly residing in the developing world, face impediments to the formation of a financial identity that may appear nearly insurmountable. However, cryptocurrency provides an alternative means by which people without easy access to financial institutions or who lack sufficient capital to open a bank account may establish a financial identity and improve their chances of escaping poverty. Moreover, despite the market volatility of cryptocurrency in Bulgaria and throughout the world, it provides a fairly stable alternative compared to entrusting one’s assets in banks and other financial institutions. Savings stored as cryptocurrency are less likely to be subject to the vicissitudes of inflation, corrupt governments and asset appropriation.

How an NGO Uses Cryptocurrency in Bulgaria

The BitHope Foundation, an NGO established by Vladislav Dramaliev, provides a global crowdfunding platform for humanitarian initiatives. As the first charitable platform of its kind established on the basis of cryptocurrency in Bulgaria, it seeks to facilitate NGOs and individuals alike in their fundraising efforts. This organization hopes to incentivize businesses that accept cryptocurrency to invest in these causes, which will further bolster the public impression and acceptance of cryptocurrency as a legitimate medium of exchange.

Many crowdfunding campaigns hosted through the BitHope Foundation’s website are considered to be humanitarian successes in Bulgaria. For instance, the “Support Burgas Municipality After the Floods” campaign raised €1,749 in cryptocurrency or approximately $1,925, in response to floods that damaged parts of Burgas municipality, a region of Bulgaria on the Black Sea coast. These charitable contributions went toward the purchase of household needs including refrigerators and microwave ovens for those affected by the floods.

Specific Campaigns by BitHope

  • “Every Child Deserves A Holiday” aimed to raise charitable funds for families living below the poverty line, raising €588 or approximately $647, in cryptocurrency.
  • The “Support Positive and Character Education” campaign, which raised the equivalent of €786 (approximately $865), sought funding for programs designed to inspire children and parents to persist with schooling regardless of what predicaments may arise.
  • The “Sports Charity League” campaign enabled the funding of sports competitions for children and adolescents, after raising a cryptocurrency total of €1,522 or $1,674.
  • The 2017 funding campaign “Preeclampsia? I want to know” raised €1,132 ($1,373) for the acquisition of biomedical tests for use in screening pregnant women without charge for the potentially serious medical condition preeclampsia.
  • Also in 2017, a campaign called “Hope for Mental Health” accrued €358 ($434) in funds to assist mentally disabled children and adults in obtaining health care.

BitHope in the Present

These successes emerged in spite of numerous impediments standing in the way of using cryptocurrency in Bulgaria. Besides a global decline in the total market cap of cryptocurrency from $604 billion to $131 billion in 2018, the Bulgarian government persists throughout 2019 in its refusal to allow cryptocurrency-based organizations to open a bank account for the storage of cryptocurrency. Although this complicates the withdrawal of funds, the cryptocurrency conversion process, accounting, tax payments and payments to internet service providers, such difficulties have made the BitHope Foundation more resilient in its fight to address humanitarian issues in Bulgaria.

– Philip Daniel Glass
Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in BulgariaBulgaria is integrated into the EU and its economy is growing while unemployment and poverty decline. But not all populations are benefiting from these improvements. Income inequality is vast and not all Bulgarians have good economic opportunities. Furthermore, certain populations are denied human rights in Bulgaria.

Journalists
The U.S. State Department notes that there have been threats of intimidation against journalists. While the courts generally rule in favor of free speech, government officials have often sued for libel and defamation. Some have threatened journalists’ lives for their reporting.

The Disabled
Mentally and physically disabled people tend to be institutionalized in Bulgaria. These sites are poorly maintained and understaffed. For those capable of education, there is little policy to guide how to teach them. As a result, many disabled children are uneducated. While discrimination based on disability is illegal, many cannot obtain jobs because of their lack of education and training. Additionally, most workplaces are not equipped to accommodate the disabled.

Roma
Bulgaria generally excludes the Romani population from society. Their children have less access to education and healthcare than other Bulgarian children. They are also found in mental health institutions, special education schools and detention centers more often. The Romani also experience more violence and police harassment.

Women
Women face several human rights abuses in Bulgaria, from income inequality to religious discrimination and sexual abuse. Sex trafficking of Bulgarian women and children is recognized as a great concern to the U.S. State Department. Furthermore, there is a taboo about reporting rape in Bulgaria, leading to many women not reporting the crime.

Refugees
There are numerous reports of police brutality against refugees fleeing into Bulgaria. Refugees have been separated from family members, beaten and robbed. Some are sent back to their country of origin, while others are detained longer than what is considered ethical.

There are alarming abuses of human rights in Bulgaria. The good news is that many watchdog organizations are aware and working to end them. Amnesty International and The Human Rights Watch are acting as sentries on Bulgaria’s activity. The U.S. State Department has released reports about Bulgaria, while the U.N. has called on Bulgaria to improve conditions. As the country grows in the global community, hopefully the gains will been felt by all populations.

Mary Katherine Crowley
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in Bulgaria
Poverty in Bulgaria has greatly impacted the culture. According to a EuroStat survey of EU satisfaction rates, Bulgaria is the least happy country in the European Union. After joining the EU in 2007, Bulgarians were hopeful that conditions would improve.

On the contrary, unemployment rates remained high and Bulgaria continued to be the poorest country in the Union. While the poverty rate in Bulgaria has not gone down as Bulgarians hoped it would, the economy is slowly and steadily improving.

Top Facts about the Poverty Rate in Bulgaria:

  1. Bulgarians have been living in poverty since the fall of the communist regime in November 1990. EuroStat found that, in 2017, 2.5 million Bulgarians (35 percent of the population) are living in poverty.
  2. More than a third of the European Union poverty resides in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece combined. The average pension in Bulgaria is 165 euros per month–less than $200.
  3. Of the Bulgarian population, 34.2 percent is severely deprived, meaning that they cannot pay their bills, heat their homes or afford an annual vacation. The unemployment rate is 10.8 percent. The average in the European Union is 9.8 percent.
  4. According to a survey by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, around 244 Bulgarian companies increased their number of employees in 2016. The National Statistical Institute showed that, from March to June 2017, the number of employees under contract increased by 2.8 percent.
  5. Due to decades of poverty in Bulgaria, the availability of qualified workers is severely lacking. This is both due to the inability to properly educate youth and the emigration of young people to more developed countries.

Although the poverty rate in Bulgaria is still high, the country is slowly improving and growing its economy. The year 2017 has shown some stagnation in growth, but the progress in 2016 indicates that more growth is on the way. Incomes are rising and, as this happens, happiness is also rising as people have more money to invest in contentment.

Madeline Boeding

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in BulgariaBulgaria, located in the Balkan region, borders the Black Sea between Romania and Turkey. The country’s life expectancy rate is increasing, with the urban population at 2.9 years’ increase and the rural population at 1.1 years’ increase. Although there is a continual increase, the life expectancy is only at 74.8 years as of July 2016, which is among the lowest life expectancies in the European Union. The common diseases in Bulgaria directly affect these statistics and daily life in the country

Communicable and non-communicable diseases affect Bulgaria at different rates. According to Healthgrove, the most common deadly non-communicable diseases include cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic respiratory disease.

In 2013, the three most deadly cancers were tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer; colon and rectum cancer and stomach cancer. These comprised 44.1 percent of all deaths from cancer in Bulgaria at the time.

Common communicable diseases in Bulgaria include:

  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Diarrheal diseases
  • Intestinal infectious diseases
  • Varicella and herpes zoster
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Otitis media
  • Tetanus
  • Whooping cough
  • Diphtheria
  • Measles

These diseases are spread through contact with an infected person or breathing in particles from an infected person sneezing or coughing into the open air or on a non-infected person.

In 2015, the death rate per 100,000 people was 1,500 people. The following non-communicable common diseases in Bulgaria caused the most deaths:

  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Hypertensive heart disease
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Lung cancer
  • COPD
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Other cardiovascular
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Diabetes

Although it is difficult to prevent non-communicable diseases as they occur from the environment or are common within a family, communicable diseases can be prevented, meaning that many of the most common diseases in Bulgaria can be tackled. With vaccinations readily available for communicable diseases, good hygiene also plays a factor. Washing hands frequently, staying away from contaminated food and covering your mouth while coughing or sneezing can help lead to a disease-free, healthier lifestyle.

Stefanie Podosek

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in BulgariaBulgaria is situated on the Black Sea, to the north of Turkey and Greece and to the south of Romania and Serbia. This country’s location on the Black Sea and on the Danube River provides a beautiful, picturesque landscape. Not as beautiful is the fact that Bulgaria has been named the most unhappy country in the EU.

It is no coincidence, then, that Bulgaria has some of the highest poverty rates in the EU. The most recent data from Eurostat reports that in 2015, about 41.3 percent of Bulgaria’s 7.4 million citizens were at risk of poverty or social exclusion – the highest percentage in the EU. Bulgaria also reported the highest rate of material deprivation in the EU, with 34.2 percent of the population being materially deprived. The elderly and children bear the highest risk for social exclusion and poverty in Bulgaria, at rates of 51.8 percent and 43.7 percent, respectively.

What drives poverty in Bulgaria? Here are three causes that should help shed some light on Bulgaria’s poverty rate, and why it is therefore rated such an unhappy country.

Corruption

Bulgaria has been perceived as the most corrupt country in the EU. The European Commission reported that tackling high-level corruption and organized crime are the biggest challenges in Bulgaria. There is a pervasive lack of autonomy and transparency in Bulgaria’s judicial system. Several political officers have been known to take bribes, which is a driving force in Bulgaria’s government and economy.

Corruption comes at a price for Bulgaria’s international relationships. In 2008, the European Commission temporarily suspended hundreds of millions of euros in EU aid to Bulgaria, over concerns of corruption and organized crime. Additionally, corruption is a barrier to doing business in Bulgaria. This barrier is problematic, as opportunity and access to international business and trade in Bulgaria could create more jobs and open up Bulgaria to receiving foreign aid.

When Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, many Bulgarians hoped that EU membership would ameliorate the corruption in their government. Unfortunately, these problems in Bulgaria’s government still persist.

Pension

Bulgaria has the lowest average pension in Europe, at the equivalent of €160 a month; Bulgaria’s currency is the lev, which is €0.51. Most Bulgarians, however, receive less than the equivalent €160. In 2016, the majority of pensioners in Bulgaria – 60 percent – received the equivalent of €150, forcing them to live below the poverty line. One quarter of Bulgarian pensioners receive the minimum pension of the equivalent of €80 per month – the lowest in the EU. According to the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria, a Bulgarian would need to receive the equivalent of €290 per month to lead a “normal life”.

Transition out of Communism

Is it a possibility that the quality of life in Bulgaria was better during communism?

Bulgaria was not a member of the Soviet Union, but it was a satellite state under a communist regime. During the communist regime, Bulgarians received free healthcare, free higher education, maternity and disability benefits and pensions. Even the poorest Bulgarians, the Romas, had jobs, collected social security and enjoyed an acceptable standard of living.

After communism was abolished in Bulgaria, the U.S. encouraged a market economy and multi-party democracy. Since transitioning out of communism, however, Bulgaria has faced a corrupt government and stunning rates of poverty.

Despite a bleak outlook on poverty and on life in general in Bulgaria, there is hope. Bulgaria’s economy is largely dominated by the service sector, and not by the agriculture sector, as is common for countries facing high rates of poverty. Therefore, Bulgaria is already a step ahead in stabilizing its economy. Furthermore, Bulgaria’s memberships in international organizations such as the EU and Nato will help secure valuable foreign relations and trade partnerships. Ultimately, however, the key to tackling poverty in Bulgaria will lie in overcoming corruption, which requires a tremendous effort from Bulgaria.

Christiana Lano

Photo: Pixabay

Why Is Bulgaria Poor
The European Union is one of the largest single-market economies in the world. However, not all of its 27 countries are able to attain the economic prosperity of the wealthier member states. Bulgaria is one such country. While the EU average risk of poverty is 23 percent, more than 41 percent of Bulgarians find themselves falling into this category, making it the member state with the highest level of this risk. Across the country, almost 10 percent of the population is defined as extremely poor, i.e. living with an income lower than 40 percent of that of the average member of the middle class. While other EU members thrive inside the single market, a question that needs to be asked is this: why is Bulgaria poor?

Perhaps the largest contributor to poverty in Bulgaria is the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on the country. In years prior, Bulgaria had experienced rapid growth. However, like many EU members, this reversed following the crash. In real terms, the economy contracted by 5.5 percent in 2009 primarily due to a decline in foreign direct investment and international trade. Since then, growth has not returned to previous levels, with 2011 figures showing GDP growth to be 1.7 percent. This is far lower than the 6.2 percent growth rate witnessed in 2008.

This lack of growth has negatively impacted wages, with the average annual wage in Bulgaria easily the lowest in the EU at the equivalent of just under 2,000 euros. Around 1.5 million people live on less than 60 percent of the average wage, limiting spending power and leading to further potential issues.

One of these issues is unemployment, with Bulgaria’s unemployment rate standing at 10.8 percent, a full percentage point higher than the EU average. The low wages offered through employment are part of this issue, with people lacking the incentive to work since they are able to receive similar incomes through unemployment benefits. Similarly, the financial crisis has enhanced this issue, with unemployment significantly increasing to current levels from 5.6 percent in 2008. With this being the case, many suggest unemployment as one of the primary reasons for Bulgaria’s high levels of poverty.

There seems to be little progress in assisting those in poverty in Bulgaria. Existing policies are criticised for being unreliable and unable to truly address the problems that the poor of the country face. Additionally, it is estimated that, of the poorest 20 percent of households, such policies impact less than half. Policy focused on growth appears to have failed as well and, despite funding from the EU, increases in employment, income and social inclusion have been minute.

The situation in Bulgaria appears bleak and, without significant policy change at a national level, little will change going forward. Decision makers must investigate ways to increase wages, growth and employment opportunities, while simultaneously providing sufficient aid to those in poverty. While this may be difficult, “why is Bulgaria poor?” should no longer be the primary question; rather, we should be asking about potential solutions.

Gavin Callander

Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a European country with a population of over 7.1 million. There is a history of unsafe drinking water throughout the country. Bulgaria has imposed heavy monitoring and various bans to help improve the situation. While the water quality in Bulgaria hasn’t always been up to par with other nations around the world, the nation has made some positive gains over the last few years.

Despite having 60 rivers flowing through the country, Bulgaria’s freshwater sources are scarce. The largest river is the massive Danube River, which travels through much of Europe, flows through 470 kilometers of Bulgaria. Rivers provide a potential source of clean water that could improve the water quality for Bulgaria’s citizens and in the near future.

On top of some of the problems already present, drought has ravaged the country, and the demand for drinkable water has increased. Scientists have forecasted additional droughts in the coming summer. Additionally, multiple heat waves continue to hit Bulgaria as the summer progresses.

Many districts in Bulgaria have had ongoing issues with low-quality drinking water. In 2012, 18 of the 28 Bulgarian districts reported contaminated drinking water. Water quality continues to be the worst in the southern districts of the country, most notably the district of Pazardzhik. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2012 that the district was well over the set limit of multiple contaminants.

Since joining the European Union in 2007,  the nation has issued bans for four sources of drinking water in Bulgaria due to poor water quality.

The future of Bulgaria depends on cleaning up rivers and waterways, as well as improving water retention. In addition, Bulgaria is working towards developing water treatment facilities around the country.

Water quality in Bulgaria varies throughout the country, but with proper infrastructure and treatment, there is potential for all of Bulgaria to have access to clean drinking water.

Brendin Axtman

Photo: Flickr

Connecting Turkey with continental Europe, Bulgaria has been a passageway for millions of refugees seeking to reach wealthier countries such as Germany and France. This increase in migrants has posed difficulties at the borders and for the people and economy of Bulgaria. Here are 10 facts about Bulgaria refugees.

10 Facts About Bulgaria Refugees

  1. In 2016, the Asylum Information Database reported that there were 19,418 refugees seeking asylum in Bulgaria. The majority of the refugees had come from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
  2. Bulgaria is currently the poorest country in the EU (as measured by GDP per capita), which means the nation is less equipped for the large influx of refugees crossing its borders.
  3. Bulgarian vigilante groups have arisen on the Bulgarian border with Turkey. They claim to be protecting Bulgaria and the rest of Europe from the migrants.
  4. Bulgaria borders Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Romania, making it a favorable route for migrants as they are able to spread throughout Europe.
  5. Bulgaria’s economy ranks 47th in the world, with 78 percent of Bulgarian citizens saying that the increase in refugees has created a strain on the economy.
  6. Integration into Bulgarian life is another perceived challenge for refugees, with 49 percent of Bulgarians claiming that the state is too weak to provide conditions for the integration of refugees.
  7. Bulgaria has been criticized for its handling of the migrant crisis. U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in 2016, “One of the most serious problems is that virtually all people entering Bulgaria in an irregular manner are detained as a matter of course.”
  8. In 2016, 2,750 of the asylum-seekers in Bulgaria were unaccompanied minors. Of these unaccompanied minors, 95 percent were male with 17 percent being younger than the age of 14.
  9. Between January 2017 and May 2017, 1,007 migrants found to be residing in Bulgaria illegally were removed.
  10. After the construction of a 30-kilometer wall along the border with Turkey, the number of Bulgaria refugees seeking land passage decreased. This increased the number of migrants using the Mediterranean Sea, the deadliest migrant route to date. Migrants arriving in Bulgaria through Turkey decreased by 5,501 in the year following the creation of the wall.


The migrant situation in Bulgaria has had sensitive social implications with many Bulgarians unhappy about the influx of refugees. These factors have created tension and difficulty for refugees, as gaining entry to Bulgaria has become increasingly challenging.

Sophie Casimes

Photo: Flickr