The state of public affairs in Bulgaria



This paper studies the recent post-communist developments of linkages amongst organisations, society and government in Bulgaria.

I argue that public affairs is in a very early, embryonic stage of development. This is to a large extent due to the very slow re-establishment of the non-centralised market economy; this is very specific to Bulgaria compared with the rest of the Central and Eastern European countries and can be explained by the significant heritage from the communist period. Today, the economic actors in Bulgaria are represented by two extremes—a myriad of small and medium enterprises, lacking the capacity and resources to develop government relations, and a few monopolistic groups with an unclear structure and ownership, which are influencing the government policy in a non-transparent way. Despite the exceptionally strong state tradition, the government institutions are very often paralysed by the lack of long-term political vision. As a result, the government was and is still easily subject to external influences. However, the situation is progressively changing, although not without external pressure from the European Union and the internal pressure of foreign investors. Public affairs will therefore develop at the speed of the development of political democracy, a modern corporate culture and the establishment of economic operators with long-term vision and interests. The profession of public affairs consultant, almost non-existent today, will then progressively find its natural place, acting as a catalyst for the development of business–government–society linkages. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.