Civil  Society in Bulgaria: Citizen Actions Without Engagement

Of the 5 dimensions that were used to assess Bulgarian civil society, civic engagement scored the lowest with 40.5% out of 100. This would seem to present a continuing challenge for civil society in the country, as the dimension had a low score in the previous CSI report. The Bulgaria report raised issues such as low levels of participation in CSOs, low perceived impact of CSOs in Bulgarian society as well as low levels of trust in public institutions as some of the challenges that CSOs face in Bulgaria. Corruption was raised as one of the issues that cause citizens to have low levels of trust in public institutions.

However, there are more positive aspects of Bulgarian civil society reported, such as their influence in education, environmental activism and support for vulnerable groups, as well as a high level of internal perception about the democratic governance in CSOs and favourable socioeconomic and political conditions for civil societies to operate. The report also examines the impact of Bulgaria's recent membership of the EU on conditions for civil society, and concludes that while EU membership has led to a potential expansion of opportunity for civil society, in practice there is a serious issue about who gets to access, and benefit from, EU funding.

CSI Country Reports in Bulgaria