Bulgaria's accession process, like that of every other new EU member, involved hard work by thousands of people, including political leaders and visionaries, an army of young (and, to a large extent, female) civil servants, civil society organisations, a vigilant press, and entrepreneurs who had to adapt to new European rules of doing business.

This section provides several portraits of individuals who played a major role in Bulgaria's accession process, from the civil society activist Evgeni Dainov to the reformist prime minister Ivan Kostov.

Ivan Kostov

"In 1997 many people were joking about our ambitious ten years plan to join the European Union."

Nadezhda Mihaylova

"When I visited Brussels for the first time it was like the first day in school, when you go and nobody knows you."

Juliana Nikolova

"You cannot imagine the enormous differences between the administration in 1992 and 2007."

Silvana Lyubenova

"Accession negotiations means making a time schedule for your reforms."

Nickolay Mladenov

"If you deny Bulgaria membership you will not help the institutions become more ready."

  • Evgeni Dainov, civil society and Rock and Roll in Bulgaria (video)

"The problem was that the country was in transition, but it didn't seem to be transiting to anywhere…"

Ivo Prokopjev

"When the change happened, I was in the first year at the University of Economics. We started with Marx and we finished with Adam Smith."