Germany and Bulgaria enjoy friendly relations in a wide range of fields. The German-Romanian Treaty on Friendly Relations and Partnership in Europe of 1992 underscores the good and close relations between the two countries. Bulgaria sees Germany as its main strategic partner in Europe. There is a great level of trust in Germany, including in civil society, as well as high expectations of it.
Bilateral economic relations are close. Germany is Bulgaria’s most important trading partner. In the tourism sector, Germans regularly comprise one of the largest groups of visitors. Around 5000 German companies are active in Bulgaria and over 500 firms are members of the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce. German enterprises operating in Bulgaria also face the problem of staff shortages and the migration of qualified workers to other EU member states that offer better pay and conditions.
The two countries enjoy long-standing intensive contacts in the schools and universities sector. Several thousand Bulgarian students are enrolled at German universities. There are over 150 partnerships between German and Bulgarian universities. Bulgaria also has several degree programmes in German, with around 400 students. These courses receive staff and funding from Germany.
German remains popular as a foreign language in Bulgaria. After English and French, it is the third most important foreign language at grammar schools, and the second most important in the cities.
Bulgaria, and in particular Sofia, has a rich cultural scene, although it sometimes faces financial constraints. German organisations such as the Goethe-Institut, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), the German Academic Exchange Service and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation run projects in Bulgaria.