[gap] For Bulgaria, joining the EU in 2007 has been the key to growth and stability in the country. It has also been central to facing its old difficulties, among others, its antiquated agricultural production systems, corruption, and lack of financial control.
However, none of these negative factors have prevented the economic growth of the country, a decrease in the unemployment rate, and the increase in foreign investment, which have helped Bulgaria achieve a greater convergence with other EU countries. The biggest potential for firms in Bulgaria is infrastructure, tourist resorts, construction, agriculture and medical care – all of which are still in development. Apart from these, the sectors that have attracted the greatest amount of foreign capital in recent years are real estate, industrial subcontracting of both commodities (textile, shoes) and industrial goods (electrical, machine parts), and services (among others, banking, financial, commercial distribution, tourism and services related with hotel management). With respect to the energy sector, Bulgaria’s need to diversify its gas suppliers has forced the country to support the Nabucco project, the construction of a gas line from Iran to Bulgaria through Turkey, in order to avoid the monopoly of the Russian gas coming from Ukrania. The tensions between Bulgaria and Turkey that occurred in the late 80´s are today almost forgotten – in fact relations between the two neighbours are better than ever, with wide commercial and economical connections. Turkey is the 19th biggest foreign investor in Bulgaria, being first in the list by number of companies. In 2010 commercial exchange increased to 2,000 million USD.