Respect for the democratic principles and human rights established by the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe inspires the domestic and external policies of the Parties and constitutes an essential element of the present association.
1. The association includes a transitional period of a maximum duration of 10 years divided into two successive stages, each in principle lasting five years. The first stage shall begin when the Agreement enters into force.
2. The Association Council, bearing in mind that the principles of the market economy are essential to the present association, shall proceed regularly to examine the application of the Agreement and Bulgaria's accomplishment in the process leading to a market economy system on the basis of the principles established in the preamble.
3. During the course of the 12 months preceding the expiration of the first stage, the Association Council shall meet to decide the transition to the second stage as well as on any possible changes to be brought about as regards measures concerning the implementation of the dispositions governing the second stage. In doing this, it will take into account the results of the examination mentioned in paragraph 2.
4. The two states envisaged under 1, 2 and 3 do not apply to Title III.