1. An association is hereby established between the Community and its Member States on the one part, and Bulgaria on the other part.
2. The objectives of this association are:
- to provide an appropriate framework for the political dialogue between the Parties allowing the development of close political relations,
- to establish gradually a free trade area between the Community and Bulgaria covering substantially all trade between them,
- to promote the expansion of trade and the harmonious economic relations between the Parties and so to foster the dynamic economic development and prosperity in Bulgaria,
- to provide a basis for economic, financial, cultural and social cooperation, as well as for the Community's assistance to Bulgaria,
- to support Bulgaria's efforts to develop its economy and to complete the transition into a market economy,
- to provide an appropriate framework for the gradual integration of Bulgaria into the Community. To this end new rules, policies and practices will be established in compliance with market mechanisms, and Bulgaria shall work towards fulfilling the necessary requirements in this respect,
- to set up institutions suitable to make the association effective.
A regular political dialogue shall be established between the Parties which they intend to develop and intensify. It shall accompany and consolidate the rapprochement between the Community and Bulgaria, support the political and economic changes underway in that country and contribute to the establishment of new links of solidarity and new forms of cooperation. The political dialogue and cooperation, based on shared values and aspirations:
- will facilitate Bulgaria's full integration into the community of democratic nations and progressive rapprochement with the Community. The economic rapprochement provided for in this Agreement will lead to greater political convergence,
- will bring about better mutual understanding and an increasing convergence of
positions on international issues, and in particular on those matters likely to have substantial effects on one or the other Party,
- will enable each Party to consider the position and interests of the other in their respective decision-making process,
- will contribute to the rapprochement of the Parties' psotions on security issues and will enhance security and stability in the whole of Europe.
1. Meetings as appropriate shall take place between the President of the European Council and the President of the Commission of the European Communities on one side and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria on the other.
2. At ministerial level, political dialogue shall take place within the Association Council. This shall have general responsibility for all matters which the Parties might wish to put to it.
Other procedures and mechanisms for political dialogue shall be set up by the Parties, and in particular in the following forms:
- meetings at senior official level (political directors) between officials of Bulgaria on the one hand, and the Presidency of the Council of the European Communities and the Commission of the European Communities, on the other,
- taking full advantage of all diplomatic channels between the Parties, including appropriate contacts in the bilateral as well as multilateral field, such as the UN, CSCE meetings and other multilateral fora,
- including Bulgaria in the group of countries receiving regular information on the issues dealt with by the European Political Cooperation as well as exchanging information with a view to achieving the objectives set out in Article 2,
- any other means which would contribute to consolidating, developing and stepping up this dialogue.
Political dialogue at parliamentary level shall take place within the framework of the Parliamentary Association Committee.