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Dobrinka KostovaBulgaria: Report on Bulgaria: Elites’ Europeanness and their Trust in Institutions. [Abstract]

The paper divulges a comparison between the Bulgarian elites, elites in the new democracies and in the old democracies of the European Union and succeeds in interrelating them by using common assumptions, concepts and original and comprehensive empirical data. It shows that the European Union (EU) has been a forerunner and active proponent of the process of integration of Bulgaria in the recent decades and that the EU has played a significant role in mitigating its impact. The analysis on elites’ Europeanness is backed-up by an extensive dataset revealing  its constantly adapting nature; its diversity of practices; its repeated need to respond to exogenous challenges and, most importantly, its perpetually unsatisfactory quest to make “real existing democracy” conform better to “potentially ideal democracy.” The Bulgarian elites’ Europeanness is expressed in a high display of trust toward European institutions. However, their trust to national ones is significantly lower. The explanations for these diversities are looked for in the continuity of historical experiences of trust to the state and its institutions, the short period of European Union membership, the discontinuity during the hard economic transformation and the deep social differences in society since the transition has begun.

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