With plans to sign an accession agreement next year, Bulgaria is preparing itself to become a EU member. Nick Kochan reports from The Banker’s conference.

Bulgaria has moved centre stage among the nations of central Europe. In due course, this will translate into a seat at the EU members’ table, perhaps as early as 2007. These considerations are driving Bulgarian economic and structural policy today.

That was clear at The Banker business conference, Banking on Bulgaria, held recently in London and sponsored by investment fund Equest. Solomon Passy, Bulgaria’s foreign affairs minister, told the conference that his government had two priorities when it came to power three years ago: the first was membership of NATO, which was achieved shortly after the election; the second was to prepare the country for EU membership.

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