ISSUE: 1/2023

  • Volume 27
  • Number 1
  • 2023


Studia Europejskie –
Studies in European Affairs

ISSN: 1428-149X
e-ISSN: 2719-3780

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Articles published in the journal are under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivatives 4.0 International License

The EU Eastern Enlargement Policy Under the Pressure of Geopolitics. The Bulgarian Case (Russia’s Little Brother)


The Bulgarian case is symptomatic of the susceptibility of the EU enlargement policy under geopolitical pressure. The aim of this text is to add arguments to the statement that the dynamic of Bulgaria’s accession to the
EU has been strongly influenced by external factors – mainly Yugoslavia’s disintegration and the subsequential Kososvo crisis. This crisis brought up the issue of the huge Russian influence over Bulgarian politics and
societies and, as a result, predetermined the perception of Bulgaria as a high security risk for EU. In this situation, Bulgaria was an object of de-securitisation by the EU’s enlargement policy, but at the same time its main instrument, namely, the conditionality policy, was neglected. From this point of view, the Bulgarian case is important because: it illustrates the effects of this discrepancy to date; it is instructive in the context of EU enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans with huge Russian influence; and also in the context of the acceleration of the EU’s eastern enlargement policy toward Ukraine and Moldova because of the pressure of the ongoing Russian military invasion. The opportunity for accelerating the pre-accession process under the influence of unpredicted external events created prerequisites for politicising the whole process, including the political use of the conditionality and the consequently unfinished preaccession preparation of the newcomers. The research task is fulfilled by a synthesis of primary and secondary sources organised around three main questions – Which external circumstances? Why? and, How? The results of a discourse analysis of interviews with key participants in Bulgaria’s EU integration process are used as a starting point.


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Language: English

Pages: 63-79

How to Cite:


Veleva-Eftimova, M. (2023) "The EU Eastern Enlargement Policy Under the Pressure of Geopolitics. The Bulgarian Case (Russia’s Little Brother)". Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs, 1-2023, pp. 63-79. DOI: 10.33067/SE.1.2023.3