The Bulgarian Media Coalition, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has carried out several research projects on the image of Bulgaria in foreign media in order to gauge the success of the Communication Strategy and its impact on Bulgaria’s accession into the EU. The results are drawn from consecutive surveys of foreign media coverage in over 60 countries on topics related to Bulgaria. The surveys summarize the content of the coverage of Bulgaria, coming from the embassies abroad, in order to provide the information required to continue to work to improve the image of Bulgaria. This information reflects the image of Bulgaria as a product of the media, which is essential to its overall image abroad. However, the analysis does not exhaust all the specific ways Bulgaria is seen among international publics.

According to the surveys, the countries showing the greatest interest in Bulgaria, based on the number of publications, are the Balkan countries, Germany, and Great Britain, though significant coverage is noted in most other EU member-countries as well. An indicator of the success of the Communication Strategy is the fact that the overall attitude towards Bulgaria is positive. Nevertheless, Western Europe and the Balkans are among the regions with a critical disposition. Attitudes were most positive on the issues of tourism in Bulgaria, as well as cultural and scientific exchange.

From the surveys, it can be concluded that the Communication Strategy is making headway in that the publications on the subject of Bulgaria’s EU-accession have almost doubled in the period between December 2004 – May 2005 as compared to the period between May – November 2004. That said, the integration of Bulgaria is not enjoying enough support in foreign media, despite it being a popular subject of publication. The statistics demonstrate the success of the communication campaign in promoting Bulgaria’s cultural heritage, its tourist attractions and scientific contribution. At the same time, the survey indicates some mistrust as to whether Bulgaria will be able to fulfill its responsibilities in safeguarding the future border of the Union. The government’s efforts in combating weapons exports, human trafficking, and international organized crime need to be further emphasized, as does the need for outside financial support in these areas. Other themes of pronounced negative attitude are nationalism and minorities’ lifestyle in Bulgaria. In this respect, the government has already undertaken several initiatives at the regional level (see Cultural Corridors).

For more information visit: Bulgarian Media Coalition Research

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Bulgarian public attitudes towards EU Accession: